Experienced WoodCraft maker, beginner forger

Hello fellow Forgers,
I’m impatiently waiting for my Glowforge plus that has been shipped and will arrive later this week. I’m an avid wood craft maker (old school). Was on the fence for quite awhile on this idea because of the learning curve it would present. I’ve been reading a lot and I meant a lot and appreciate all the input in the glowforge forums. I see the members here wanting to help others as much as possible.
I will be asking lots of questions, I mean a lot! Please don’t let me get on anyone’s nerves, if I do and there’s a way to block me just do it. I won’t be offended. My user name is chmwash, I’m a beginner who wants to learn. I have zero amount of engraving, printing, cutting experience. I have trouble figuring out all the buttons a microwave if that gives a better insight. Googled glowforge for dummies. Etc.
So all said here’s my 1st question and it’s probably already been answered just can’t find it.
Is there an essential tool kit I can order with things I’ll need that has things like,

Digital caliper
Protective cover
And anything else I’ll need to get started
I’ve set up a workspace in garage and will vent exhaust to outside. Summer days afternoon temps hover in the 80’s, if this doesn’t work I’ll move inside.
Thanks for ready, oh and I’m so excited! I almost forgot to say, I’m so so excited!!


Already too much! TOTALLY ANNOYED! :wink:

There are a few discussions about things you might want to know when you’re new to the GF. Lets see, I bookmarked one somewhere.

Here we go:

As you can see there’s a discussion in there about other tools and stuff you may want.

Welcome to the club, it’s a lot of fun.


Welcome to the forum! (And don’t worry, none of us bite.) :blush:

Best thing you can do for yourself while you’re waiting is a little light reading to get familiar with terms and see what’s what…it helps to pass the time too.

The Glowforge team recommends working through your first prints by following along with the examples shown here to learn where everything is:

They have also recently added instructions with video on using the Manual settings here:
Working with Manual Settings

And there are methods for Enhancing your Photo Engraves and Cutting Out a Shape as well.

(You can click on the topic headers in the left-hand column for even more information.)

That particular page is also handy if you have any problems to Troubleshoot and you can always access it by clicking on the Support button in the app.

Once you have run through the sample prints, some of the customers have put together some handy Tips sheets and a lot of tutorials in the Tips and Tricks section of the forum.

Some good ones to start with:

Have fun, and we’ll look forward to seeing your stuff! :slightly_smiling_face:


Geesh - I’m BOOKMARKING all of that! Stuff I didn’t know in there!

BTW - in case you didn’t know Jules = Rules.



You will definitely want the digital calipers. I don’t have a cover for my GF. It’s so pretty, why hide it? I do understand you might want the cover to minimize sawdust migrating into your GF if you are still using other woodworking tools in your garage. Mine is in my living room and DH hasn’t allowed me to put any woodworking tools in here with it. lol

You’ll also want to learn a program to create files after you’ve read the links Jules posted above.



Welcome to the forum. I am looking forward to seeing how you combine the Glowforge with your extensive woodworking skills. You have the most important resource you need - an excitement and willingness to learn how to best utilize a new tool. Read the tutorials and do the first three prints and you will be off to a good start. If you don’t have experience with Inkscape or some other vector program, you might want to take a look. You can start making things as soon as you get the machine by using designs from the catalog. That gives you a feel for what a file looks like and gets you producing things right away.


The GF doesn’t like warm temperatures. I suggest you plan to move inside as the surrounding air temperature is best about 72-74 for best reliability. I have run my Basic as high as 78, but encounter a lot of cooling pauses at that temperature.
For outside venting make sure you have a blast gate to prevent backflow when the GF isn’t in use. This can be an automatic gate or a manual gate. Small louver automatic gates seem to work best in my experience.


the other option, if you don’t want to move the GF inside from your workshop, would be to consider a portable AC or window unit (if your workshop has a viable window for it).

i run a portable AC in my office and have used it literally outside under a tent in the summer heat (with a baffle funneling the cold air to where the air intake is for the GF) and it works very well.


Pretty much everything you might need has been listed here, so all I will add is welcome to the forum and to forging. Looking forward to seeing what you create.

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Window unit works very well for my space, recommended if you can pull it off.


Ask away. After all, you’ll be expected to provide your opinion when woodworking questions are posted. Welcome.

A protective cover is only necessary if your glowforge will be kept in a dusty or dirty environment. The glowforge only produces smoke and smells. The smoke has to be vented, of course. Even if you get your venting 100% sealed, there will be a little bit of smell when you open the lid. Some people care more than others about this.

80s won’t work without some sort of external cooling. It can be as simple as directing the cold air from a portable AC unit underneath the glowforge. If your summer highs are in the 80s, there is a good chance your winter lows are a bit cool? Unlike a table saw, the glowforge should probably be kept in a decently warm environment all year round. If your shop is only heated when you’re in it, this may be a problem as well. Without knowing much more, I’d be comfortable storing it at 50 or so.

As for the glowforge being complicated, there is one switch and one button. You flip the switch to turn it on and if the button is glowing blue press it. If it is not glowing blue, don’t press it. The real learning curve will be the vector editor (Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw or Affinity Designer) if you’re not already familiar.


You will want to start right away with your vector editor, and I would recommend a good image editor as well. the Corel Suite has that and more but the most power for the money is Inkscape, and Gimp as the image editor as they are both very powerful and do not cost any money but like all the rest take some effort and brain exercise to learn what you are doing.

I have found that all those woodworking skills and equipment to be very useful as the laser does wonderful layout and far more accuracy than a scroll saw but just as you are not finished after the scroll saw has done its work, the same will be true of the laser.

So in that way, you are well ahead of many of us who did not have a nice woodshop, and I still struggle with hand sanding and wood carving tools but few power tools more as a problem of no room for them than otherwise.


Yeah that to what other folks have said - I will add that I was also already a crafter and I found that what got me over the “eek, what does it do” hump was taking things I’d already made and using the Forge to decorate them. For me it was leather, but for you, maybe find an image you like (picture/graphic/whatever) and use the Forge to decorate a box/pen/cabinet face (depending on what kind of woodworking you do). You’ll get used to the idea of what it can do which opens you up to “Hmm, wonder if it can do that” type questions which are easier to get answers on (either by searching in here, or straight up asking)

and yeah, play with the graphics programs. They definitely have more bells and whistles to learn!


Welcome to the Community! As you can already see, there are many who are here to help! Coming from woodcraft background myself, I can say, it has definitely upped my game. Looking forward to seeing your creations!


I so understand I do wood working but have no computer skills after I got my gf pro finding it doesn’t like texas heat so got Ac. And still issue they said phone use was good so off to max my cc to get desk top computer. Still havent got circle made but I am working towards it.


Wow ! Just knocked off the in the shop and checked the forum to see if anyone read my plea for help, thank you, thank you all for all the advice and tips, I’ve got some homework to do now. It’ll give me something constructive to do over the next few nights while waiting for my GF. Hopefully it’ll ease my anxiety of waiting and waiting and waiting. Thank you all so much.


Welcome to the forum! Don’t worry about being a beginner—you’ve got a great attitude—willingness to learn.

Like you, I had no laser experience before this, but I also had no woodworking experience so you are already way ahead. You’ll do great!


Rules = Really helpful Hedgehog who SQUEEES when happy or excited! I’d say the Awesome Possum… but she’s a Hedgie… so… :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Oh I like this…might have to find a possum pic and change avatars! :smile:


On the metaphorical information highway how many feel