First Impressions of a Pro Owner


#1

Hi everyone!

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 Good:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. The detail it can engrave is on par with much more expensive machines. No complaints there at all!
  4. 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.

The bad:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…
  5. Upon initial inspection, I noticed my laser tube looked like it has a crack :exploding_head:. 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 :cold_sweat:

The Ugly:

  1. 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.


#2

Great write up, thanks.

Another question: anyone else’s lid glass sit a bit proud of the surrounding glass?

I’ve got a support query in on that for my Pro as we speak. I noticed that if I leave the front pass-through slot cover in place, the lid doesn’t sit flush. It appears that the pass-through slot cover binds on the crumb tray’s front “handle” and that causes the front access panel door to bend upward somewhat. So, then the top lid doesn’t go all all the way down.

If I take out the pass-through slot cover, nothing binds, and the top lid will close just about flush. I don’t know if this is common or not, but support is mailing me a new front slot cover and I’ll give that a try to see if it helps. If not, I might just shave down the handle on the front of the crumb tray.

I can’t help but think this affects alignment, so I want to get it settled.

WRT to the smoke issue, the one time I had it get bad was when the dryer hose had disconnected from the back of the unit mid-print! Other than that, I haven’t found it to be bad at all. Check to make sure you’re securely connected back there, and that you didn’t accidentally tear the hose. It really shouldn’t be that bad.


#3

There have been lots of posts about venting properly to avoid any smells from the unit. Do a search on ‘vent’ to start.

Here’s a couple that should get you in the right direction:

https://community.glowforge.com/t/post-print-smoke-smell/16431?source_topic_id=18809 https://community.glowforge.com/t/venting-tracking-down-leaks-continued/14888?source_topic_id=18809

#4

True that.


#5

Great write-up.
For someone who is months out from receiving theirs, this sort of honest Pro ‘n Con makes for interesting reading


#6

I have the EXACT same issue. When I first put the crumb tray in, the door didn’t seem to close. Not wanting to force it I removed the shield and closed it. It seemed more like I was fearful of how much pressure it took to close the door and found the same amount needed with and without the shield. I reinstalled the shield and moved on. My lid does sit up a bit from the rest of the machine but it doesn’t seem to adversely effect anything. The lid also rubs on the right a bit. I’ll have to check without the shield to see if the lid sets down.

UPDATE: I removed the shield and now the lids sets down much closer to flush, and it doesn’t rub against the side anymore.


#7

Honestly, I had a terrible time with venting, too. Two things corrected the problem for me. First, tape all of the connections. I used aluminum foil tape, because I just had a roll of it, and that worked great. The second thing is to check everything unrelated to the glowforge and vent - that seems like the obvious problem, but might not be. In my case, having my window open creates a 2 inch gap between the top and bottom panes. Which was obviously letting smoke back into my room. Taped that up, and those two things solved 95% of my problem.

Storing cut wood and scraps in an airtight container has also helped with smell (although obviously not with actual smoke). The remaining 5% issue I’m having is a little puff of smoke that gets trapped under the material in the machine. I wish I could control the fan. That way I could shift the material after the cut and then run,the fan for another few seconds to clear it. As it is, I just try to remove the material without fully opening the lid, so as much of that as possible stays in the machine.


#8

For the smoke smell issue, I always recommend a second, in-line vent booster fan. Turn it on before you start and leave it on until you’re done for the night. After every cut the Forge fan will stay on for short time but my stuff smokes a little far after that point. The booster fan keeps sucking air through and out for as long as you might want. Finish a cut and just let it sit there with the lid still closed for a few extra minutes. Helps a lot.


#9

The in-line fan is a great idea- I am doing that for SURE. Now, that won’t help anymore once my air filter arrives (the GF’s final resting place is in a windowless basement room), but until then I am sure that’ll be great.

Storing the cut parts in an airtight container is also a great idea. I’m gonna do that for sure even though my main problem is all the smoke itself. Every little bit will help, and this is a good idea.

You think I should mention the lid/front door observations to support folks?


#10

Anyone have a recommendation for an in-line fan?


#11

Doesn’t hurt to send them an email on the issue. The shields need a redesign in my opinion. Two machines, two crumb trays, and three front shields. No combination of these kept the front shields from rubbing on the crumb tray. Since I will never use the machine in a public setting, I just removed the shields permanently. Fits perfectly without them.

Should I ever need the front shield, ten minutes on a grinder will fix the rub.


#12

I’m away from my Glowfinger at the moment, but when I return it will be an ex-desktop fan that will be installed in the vent.
:upside_down_face:


#13

I agree.
I just got my GF and noticed the fan stopped and still had some items smoking. My first thought was to add an inline fan or the GF fan should stay in for a few minutes longer.


#14

I just ordered an in-line fan from Amazon, it’ll be here tomorrow. $18 so that’s not bad- plus I snagged a 20 sq ft veneer sample pack and a little hobby T-square which should be handy.

I’ll email them about it then. It would be cool if the lid set flush- as I worry a bit of my smoke issue might be due to it not.


#15

Here’s the fan I got:

iPower 4 Inch 100 CFM Booster Fan Inline Duct Vent Blower for HVAC Exhaust and Intake 5.5’ Grounded Power Cord https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CQBFOTS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_XyZCAbK3N9NMX


#16

two things to do that may help with one or both of these things.

  1. make sure your GF is leveled. if your surface isn’t perfectly level, it can cause the doors to not close perfectly. i used a shim under one or more of the feet and suddenly my lid closed flush.

  2. make sure your materials are secured flat on the crumb tray. any warp at all can change whether the PG cuts make it through on PG settings. many of us use magnets to secure the material as flat as possible.


#17

IIRC the GF fan moves 200 CFM. So you need a booster fan that does at least that. Here’s a discussion that goes into more detail about fan requirements:

https://community.glowforge.com/t/let-s-talk-about-fans/10850?source_topic_id=18809

#18

@JimSocks, Compared to the cheap K-40 that I had, the :glowforge: is a speed demon!

Projects that used to take 3-4 hours on the K-40 are less than an hour on the :glowforge:.


#19

If anyone goes this route, just keep in mind that the booster fan itself can introduce leaks that need to be taped up.


#20

Are you sure that you are using the appropriate LPI for your projects? I have no experience with other lasers, but I’ve seen people report that speed is slower without realizing that the default LPI on the GF is higher than what their other lasers use.