Feeling Bad for being so indecisive

So… After waiting for two years after I ordered the thing, and reading all of your posts in the forums and getting excited about all of the things I could do once I got a Glowforge, it finally arrived! Two weeks ago… and I still haven’t printed anything…

I have a few problems. First, I can’t decide what to print. Part of me just wants to get it over with and print the Founder’s Ruler just so I can say I’ve used it. But another part of me wants to try to create my own things to print. But then I downloaded Inkscape and it isn’t a fun tool to use. Finally, I don’t want to “waste” the materials I do have, because other than ordering the ProofGrade materials from here, I don’t know where to get any more.

This morning, I was trying to use the puzzle pattern, that is included and add a photo to it. The problem I ran into was that the photo wasn’t the same shape as the puzzle, so if I just printed it the way it was, I would have had like an inch of dark engraving in the wood that wasn’t even going to be cut for the puzzle. The built-in tools don’t have any option to modify a layer after you import it, so now I have to go figure out a way to make the pic the same dimensions as the puzzle, or waste time, electricity and materials engraving extra stuff onto the ProofGrade materials I have.

I know I’m whining, but I’m curious if anyone else has been paralyzed with indecision when getting theirs and how they got over it. lol


Maybe a little trepidation. Try some cardboard or card stock. Change the focus to the material thickness and lower the power down to almost nothing. Might not cut at low power but you can see what it will do. Make mistakes on cheap material and play. Cut squares, circles. Engrave plain rectangles. Just play.


Chuckle! Yeah, it’s called “Designer’s Block”. (And I get it every week.) :smile:

You can scale the image by selecting it and dragging on the corner white spots, then line it up over the puzzle.

Stick that toe in the pool…it’s the only way to get past DB. :wink:


Or you can use my way around DB. Grab a random new material and ask yourself if :glowforge: will mark/engrave/cut it.


I’ll second this. I’ve doodled out a few things playing with how designs look with my not quite there design skills as I’m currently at. Used to be fairly decent but creating complex types is a big step beyond basic photoshop manipulations.


If the founder’s rule doesn’t talk to you pick something else but push the button! You have $50 credit in the design store. There are several more cool things in the GFUI preloaded. Bunches of things here in the free design subforum. Get 7-8 things printed and all of a sudden you will say " I need a, but there aren’t any, hey, it’s time to get in and learn to design for myself".

Oh, and the tool is unimportant, try them all and see what works for you. I’m the Fusion 360 evangelist around here but I’ve seen great things come out of each of the art programs and several here love Onshape.


Come on in, the water is fine!

As for the puzzle - it was one of the first things I printed. First my son cut a puzzle using a photo of him and his favorite teacher. It didn’t quite fit, but we just sized it to leave some white around all the edges and he’s certainly enjoying it. If you want ‘full bleed’ without wasting any material, you can make the photo stick out one edge, and let the image hang off that edge of the material - the laser can’t hurt the crumb tray, so you’re only wasting a little electricity. I have to say, though - once you start lasering, you’ll start going through material like crazy, so a few square inches of draft board is just the beginning of the material you’re going to go through!

And I’ll certainly second lasering cardboard. It’s great fun - the cuts are super-fast, and (at least in my house) Amazon provides an infinite supply of cardboard for free. At a recent Maker Faire, I lasered tons of signage for other Makers - cut out the letters, then tape them to the wall, and instant cool sign!


Amazon is your friend. Baltic Birch in 1/8 or 3mm is available pretty nicely priced and in 12x12 squares so they’ll fit fine (also 12x24 but you’ll need to cut the long end off). I tell the GF that it’s PG Maple and it works fine. You’ll have to sand the smoke staining off it when you’re done or put laser masking on it first. An easy non-pricey masking is tracing paper (comes in 10x12 pads) and spray adhesive - Loctite or others work and a light or medium tack sprayed on the paper before applying it to the wood will work. Use a credit card to smooth it down. Get a printers brayer at Michaels (or Amazon) if you want the right tool :slightly_smiling_face:

Also on Amazon you’ll find acrylic in various colors and thicknesses - just make sure it says cast acrylic. It will be masked when you get it. PG Acrylic settings work fine.

While you’re on Amazon get some slate - coasters or small cheese boards (they have 5x8 ones pretty cheap).

You can also find 1/4" cedar planks - 6x10. Make great smelling projects :slightly_smiling_face:


I buy so much from Amazon, not sure why I didn’t think of this. lol

Thanks for the tips!

Thanks to everyone who replied. I’m feeling motivated now. Let’s see what I can do. :slight_smile:

Have fun everyone!


If you’re not digging Inkscape, give Affinity Designer a shot. (free 10 day trial, $50 to buy if you love)


:slightly_smiling_face: if Prime shipping is too slow (or you’re not Prime) and you have a Woodcraft store nearby you can buy a lot of cool wood including Baltic Birch.

You can also get a sheet (4x8’) of MDF Underlayment in 3/16" for under $10 at Home Depot. That can be cut up into a bunch of 12x20 pieces cheaply and you’ll have lots of stuff to play with.

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Home Depot also has a nice 3-ply, 5mm underlayment for about $14 per 4x8’ sheet. That’s less than $1 per 12x20" piece.

I say, do yourself a favor a cut the stupid ruler. It’s all the rage. :wink:
Seriously, it’s possibly the easiest way to just get started. Then at least you’ll get a feel for the thing. Then, as things, come to you, you’ll be more inclined to use your new tool.

I don’t think I’d use the word “nice” but yes, for some uses box store ply can work well and be a good value.

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I’ve had mine for 2.5 weeks & I was out of town. I just got back & now I have to move things around to accommodate my GF. I also have that feeling of what to print & I don’t want to waste any of my proof grade material. I guess it is like jumping into a lake from a cliff, you just have to do it.


It’s not ply. The 3 & 5mm underlayment at Home Depot is MDF. There’s a smooth finished side and a pebbled underside. Cuts and works an awful lot like Draftboard. I used it for oversized paint stencils for an art project last month. Needed the Redsail though because they were oversized so needed a pass through :slightly_smiling_face:

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Oh, I’ll have to take another look! Sounds like some masonite/hardboard/HDF I’ve gotten from them but I don’t think that is ever used as underlayment?

The masonite is tough to cut but it cuts clean and is much harder than draftboard.

It’s not Masonite (b*tch to cut) but a treated MDF.



The 5mm home depot stuff I used is not like MDF at all; it’s a 3-ply plywood:

I’ve not seen that here. I checked the website and they had this to say: This item is not available in any stores within 100 miles of 06002