I got my GF Pro yesterday, and I jotted down my thoughts as I unboxed and began to work with it.
I’ll say that my first impressions of the Glowforge (who we’ve called Hootie and the Glowfish) are:
- The design and construction quality are fabulous. Very solid, really slick too. It’s just an attractive piece of machinery- and I wasn’t expecting the metal edging or the solid feel of the “plastic” parts. Packaging was great, but I still am glad I didn’t trust UPS to deliver it- went and picked it up from the warehouse myself (my UPS driver is probably actually Satan). Setup was a breeze, though working through the setup via an iPhone X went wonky halfway through, and it was difficult to read the steps due to it only wanting to show a portion of the text from the pages. Side question for readers: is anyone else’s front door really tight to close? I gotta be really handsy with mine to get it to shut all the way, as it seems it’s almost fighting the crumb tray even though the crumb tray is seated correctly and it’s going into the indent of the door like it should… Another question: anyone else’s lid glass sit a bit proud of the surrounding glass? Mine sits about half the glass’s thickness proud, so I’m just wondering if that’s normal (I have a problem with smoke I describe below, and I am trying to eliminate possible causes)
- The cameras and ease of artwork placement are a dream realized. Amazing, and it takes the pain out of the process as far as alignment is concerned- which has for me always been the most tedious part of Lasering.
- The detail it can engrave is on par with much more expensive machines. No complaints there at all!
- Proof grade is pretty nice to work with, at least in the beginning while I learn the machines quirks. The pre-done finish and pre-masking is a time saver, and it’s cool to peel off tape to a finished surface. It is also very uniform, as advertised, which is something you don’t think about until it’s a problem right in front of you, so I appreciate that side of proofgrade too.
- That alignment, while reducing the tedium, is pretty shaky in terms of accuracy. This is no surprise- many on the forums have said as much already. I’m hoping this will evolve to a razor’s edge as the software improves, as that’s what I would expect from such a precision machine in the end.
- Despite my best efforts, it really makes my room smell smoky while engraving and long after. That’s something I am not used to with other machines I have used, so much so I’m fact that I’ve never once considered the smell to be an issue- but this is a horse of a different color. I’ve got it pumped right out through a window that is sealed as good as can be- almost a straight shot. No back drafting, and yet MAN it makes the room smell smoky! I am worried every cut might set off my smoke alarm, but it hasn’t yet. I’ve even tried laying cloth along the seams of the lid, thinking that might help, but no relief yet.
- I saw someone else mention it, but I too would love a driver that would let me set up the canvas in coreldraw as the size of the GF workbed, and print straight from there. I miss the complete precision of that- being able to dial in lines by the thousandth of an inch relative to existing engravings if need be. This software may one day be capable of this, and while I welcome its current speed and hassle-free nature, a driver solution sure would be handy for when I need hyper-accurate pew-pews.
- Proofgrade settings routinely don’t cut through the material, making me have to really work at popping the peices out without breaking them or splintering adjacent wood areas. Just a little more oomph on those settings would be good I think…
- Upon initial inspection, I noticed my laser tube looked like it has a crack . It’s very small, and at first I thought it was just some dust or packing detritus, but then I really leaned in on that sucker and was SURE it was a tiny crack. Turns out, it was just a wee smidgen of what looks like clear silicone sealant! I truly couldn’t tell until I moved my fingernail across it to see if I felt a crack, and the crack came off with my nail LOL. Heart attack averted
- Holy cow is it slower than I am used to. The first print, when it came up and told me my teeny design would take 13 minutes my eyes about bugged out of my head lol. I thought “surely, that’s gotta be a vast over-estimate” but alas, as the print head began to move in slow motion (comparatively to what I’ve been using for the last 12 years) I was almost flabbergasted. This was a surprise I hadn’t read about. Seeing as you can’t leave it while it works (I know very well the ramifications of doing THAT) the speed, or lack thereof, is kind of heartbreaking. I guess I hadn’t even considered that the head might be so much slower than other machines, so boy has that caught me off-guard. That’s likely my own fault of not noticing in videos or maybe some spec I missed somewhere, but for me the slow slow movement is a blindside.
Ok looking back up on this post- that’s more bad stuff than good stuff, but I promise I do like this thing. It’ll get better with time and the shedding of “beta” statuses I’m sure, but these are just my first day observations.