My friend Erin and I got to the Seattle Maker Faire just before 1:00 on Sunday, and after a quick look around found the Glowforge booth and settled in line. Coincidentally, we were right behind @RyanMilles and didn’t even know it. Secret Glowforgers everywhere!
It was the first time I’d seen a Glowforge in person, and my first impression was “I’m going to need a bigger desk for this.” Knowing the measurements is one thing, seeing it in front of you is another.
The array of work on display that was created with the GF was impressive in its range, but my favorite was the use of the GF to create embossing plates for this leather phone case. Until now, my mind has been solely on using the GF to create finished work, not on using it to make the tools to create work. Horizons expanded!
There were two GFs cutting away and the line was moving fairly quickly until power trouble (I was told) took one down. Oh well, more time to watch and listen until I was finally able to push the glowing button.
This scene made me chuckle. If only there were some tool that could be used to cut a perfectly sized frame of acrylic to hold down the paper’s edges instead of having to use all those pieces of wood and the occasional spare nametag magnet!
Total time in line, just under two hours. Bring a friend or a book or an extra phone battery if you’re stopping by in NYC. No complaints, though. Okay, one complaint: enforce the “one cut per person in line” rule. If someone’s friend really needs their own necklace, they can do the time to get one.
Erin and I both cut luggage tags, but one of the engraving steps went almost all the way through the cherry. On mine you can see that it was through the wood but not the backing paper. A neat trick, if that’s what you wanted. By the way, the wood they were cutting these from was gorgeous. If that’s an example of the Proofgrade, I may be ordering that a lot more than I thought.
We left these pieces with the Glowforge crew to see if they could fiddle with the settings while we looked around the rest of the Maker Faire, then came back an hour later. Apologies to everyone who thought we cut in line—oh, those glares! We really didn’t! They told us to come back!
Back at the Glowforge for a second attempt, I was able to see a side of the interface that I might not have otherwise. So often you learn more when things don’t work the way you thought they would.
The luggage tag was done in four steps: engraving the contact information I wrote, engraving the horizontal lines the info was “written on,” engraving some ornamental lines (this is the step with problems), and cutting. The first attempt at troubleshooting was to switch that troublesome engraving step from a preset to a manual setting where power and speed were configurable. We realized there wouldn’t be time to fine-tune and test cut with everyone waiting in line, so we opted to disable that step altogether. I believe that’s signified by the red on it in this shot.
I was impressed with the ease of handling this hiccup, and with the interface in general. It was well organized, intuitive, and responsive (even though there were wifi troubles at the show). I’ve had way too much experience with pain-in-the-ass CNC programs, and this is a breath of fresh air: simple if you want it to be, but as configurable as you need it to be.
And of course, it was great to meet the staff and see so many people getting excited by the possibilities. Hurry up, December!