Having gone through 5 GF plus machines in the past 20 months I decided to get an Epilog Maker 12 40w.
First off this machine is a beast. 140 lbs out of the crate and just a little larger than the GF. Set up is a breeze and it’s ready to go out of the box.
2 things I noted right off on this is that the air assist fan blows from a compressor outside the machine so there’s no little fan on the carriage to gunk up. There’s no exhaust fan either and the port is below the tray sucking everything down. The tray can hold up to a 6" high item for engraving and slide up and down for autofocus.
This thing is FAST! It engraves in a fraction of the time at 500dpi. Here are a few test engraves.
By comparison a 4 x 6 picture would take 20-25 mins on the GF. It takes 6-10 on the Epilog at 500 dpi. I used deep engrave settings for the armed service coasters and they took @10 mins each.
This cuts faster too. A 35 min cut on the GF takes 24 on the Epilog.
I’ve only had this a couple of days but I am impressed with the overall quality of Epilog. All metal construction. Cut area is enclosed to keep moving parts clean. It will print from any software I use, Corel Draw, Illustrator, inkscape. Best of all the service guy is only an hour away.
I still have a GF Pro and will use it especially for large cuts and during production. The GF Program has many more options the the Epilog interface. You can’t add text, symbols or offsets and the like on the Epilog. It’s much more basic so it has to be done in the design software.
Overall I am really pleased with my new toy. Time to expand into the engraving business help pay this thing off.
Thanks for the insight! How big is the actual engrave and cut area? Is it really 12x24? The last photo reminded me of when I was getting the family tree together. All the women on my grandfather’s side look just like her. I wonder if it’s the way they took photos back then, or maybe the hairstyle. Either way, the engrave looks great.
It’s also what, $12,000? I got my Glowforge Pro for $4000 (with the air filter). Admittedly that was during the 50% off launch sale, and times and inflation have taken their toll.
Anyway, when the time comes, I am hoping to replace it with something reasonably priced for the light home hobbyist use I make of it. In an ideal world, that will be a Glowforge Mark II, because I really do like it and the folks involved, and this forum feels like a second home, and honestly I want to believe they have been quietly working on a new and improved model. But if my current machine were to give up the ghost today, I don’t think that replacing it with another Glowforge/Pro would be in the cards, sadly.
Mine died and I could have had another machine, but a pro referb was ~$1000 at the time and that beat all other prices. For $13k (and enough space) I could have it big enough to make furniture and relief carving but then I no longer have the body to pull it off.
Thanks for the mini-review. I’m always interested in Glowforge options. Mine is still working well, but nothing lasts forever.
Though, if the company offers me an affordable refurb when mine finally dies, that will be hard to pass up. Spend less than $2k to get back to where I was… Or several times more than that for something different? The Glowforge sure seems like a better value in that case.
If there was no refurb special price available, then everything’s on the table.
I’ve seriously considered the Epilog but the cost/pain of dropping a certain amount is not linear. I’m just hoping my current refurbishment, which looked like it had never been fired lasts past my need for it.
My main machine now is an Omtech 100W with a 24 x 36 inch bed. It’s a massive industrial unit.
Cost was £3,500 delivered.
It worked right out of the crate.
There are alternatives to GF but if it wasn’t for GF I wouldn’t be making a living with my laser. Never would have had the confidence to get started. Nobody is updating software like GF does with the new magic canvas either.
Metal laser tubes are a proven tech that’s finally reaching the lower price levels of consumer grade machines. They last longer and most can be recharged when they die although the price is generally fairly substantial vs buying a glass tube.
I have been looking into this for a while, as I could use a second machine to speed up my restock days but have limited space.
It looks great on paper, yet seems less capable in reality. I cut 1/4" MDF (“thick draftboard”) more than any other material, and my “45W” Glowforge does it quickly and easily, with nice clean brown edges.
I’ve read every post about cutting MDF in the Gweike Cloud group on Facebook and their “50W” laser seemingly struggles to cut the same material. Either users have to overdrive the tube at 100% power (shortening its life) and cut at like 2mm/sec, or run multiple passes, increasing the job time.
Since the OMTech Polar is an older (less capable) version of the same machine with OMTech branding, that’s going to be the same or worse.
Does a real Glowforge Pro competitor actually exist? 45W+ of cutting power in a tabletop format one person can easily move around?
Someone in my neighborhood offered up a very old Epilog Zing 40 for $5000, but someone else bought it before I was able to figure out if that could do the job and if that was a good price for its age.
I know a LOT of owners cut 1/4" MDF (and Proofgrade “thick”) but even though my GF operated perfectly for many years, I never had much luck with it. Sure, I could tune settings and cut thru but I was never happy with the edges with either PG or store-bought MDF. Kind of weird, and I do know a little about coming up with and tuning settings.
After a while, the only time I really used 1/4" was when it was something to be painted. I have quite a stock of fairly large scraps from leftover pieces used in my CNC router.
In this case, I need a machine that can handle the material, I can’t choose material to match limitations of the machine. 1/4" MDF is what the product calls for, and I sell thousands of it each year. A router isn’t an option since it needs to operate from an indoor bedroom without making too much noise, and it needs to be fast to keep up with the orders.