For those of you that already own a laser

So i am curious with the disappointing news, tell me for those of you that already own some type of 3d printer or laser cuter what made you want to order a glowforge. i haven’t decided if i want to cancel or not. Just trying to decide first if there are other user friendly brands and if you own one, why did you order the glowforge…thanks

@smcgathyfay @jamesdhatch @jacobturner (users with lasers prior to purchasing a GF, off the top of my head. Tagging to solicit possible input)

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oh my gracious those are expensive…

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I sold my 45w FullSpectrum laser to fund this one specifically because their UI was bad, and I had issues with the raster engraving jumping the x for a quarter inch before going back.

I had considered the ULS desktop, but it is nearly 400% the cost. I am lucky enough to have a TechShop locally so, at the time, using their facilities in place of my own was a decent back up. That’s since becoming more difficult, so I’ll be seeing if I can share lasers with a few other fellow local business owners who either have refurbished machines, or broke down and got larger machines.


I also bought a 60w redsail clone, but it ended up being more of an under delivered money pit. I truly understand that gf is worth the wait.


I do not currently own a laser, I basically rent time on one at a local makerspace. The features that come on a GF surpass any features on your typical laser. Not to mention the price. Most of the name brand lasers run around $10,000 or more. Even with the delay, there’s no way I would cancel.


@jbmanning5 is right, I have a couple. One is a standard Chinese K40 - 40W CO2 laser. The other is a Redsail 60W with an 18x24" bed & 9" of Z-axis travel. It’s a hobby for me but I also teach laser operations and advanced design for laser classes at the local Makerspace.

Both of the lasers have issues that come from being commodity products, produced overseas with less than stellar support. The software to run them (CAM) is proprietary (although I have “print” drivers from Corel so I can go direct from design to engrave/cut). Their software is basically crap. If you don’t own a real design package with a supported print driver the workflow you need to follow is a PITA - not impossible but just one more irritating thing in the way of going from concept to reality.

I bought the GF Pro initially because I wanted a form factor that would fit in the house (mine live in the garage now which is not a good place to work in the New England winters). The size, style and filter fits a household location (in my case the basement). I also liked the pass-through (I have that on the 60W but not the K40) and the “3D Engrave” features of the GF. The other thing I really liked was that GF is an American company focused on lasers - not a general manufacturer who happens to build lasers on one of their lines but can’t otherwise give any real support or assistance to laser users.

I was disappointed by the first delay (the one in April, I never expected the Dec 15 date applied to any real shipments) and then again this last one. Not so much the delay as the last minute nature of it - very positive announcements in Oct & Nov and then the first of the month they’re supposed to be shipping they make the delay announcement. I didn’t expect it to ship this month after the November announcement concerning the pre-release program, what it meant for hardware and feedback - I knew it was extremely unlikely that they could do what they were promising, just not enough calendar time. It was the happy happy all the way up to the “oops, it’s delayed” announcement.

But I understand how it happens and I also don’t think it’s really 6 months (I bought in the first wave so should get it by the summer in the latest schedule) - there’s a production ramp up schedule that @Dan outlined that is credible and responsible so my delay is something between 1 and 6 months. Since I didn’t believe December, it’s more like 1 to 5 months backed up by plans that I feel comfortable with (vs. the April delay announcement which had nothing concrete that led us to know what they were planning or thinking other than it’ll ship by year end). So I’m still in.

The 3D engraving that @Dan showed is exactly what I hoped. The raster engrave of a grayscale photo is something I can do today but through all sorts of image manipulation - what GF has done is make it one-button easy, huge magic there and replaces either manual manipulation or a $400 dedicated software package (PhotoGrav). The icing on the cake was the laser head - the snap-in/snap-out replaceable head is brilliant. If one of the optional heads is an inkjet or airbrush attachment I’ll be ecstatic - being able to engrave & color with precision and computer controlled is huge.

The stuff I bought it for originally isn’t really as relevant to me anymore - I haven’t really needed support and the pass-thru is too limited in thickness (3/8" stock) to have much use for my purposes - I’ll use the 60W for those jobs. So if that was all I was getting from my GF purchase, I’d have bailed.

The other big thing is this forum. There are no other online forums with the broad range of skills and creativity demonstrated by the users here. I learn something new almost every day I"m on. I use tips for things (not just design or laser ops) from here in my classes. Even without the 3D engrave & changeable head coolness, I’d stick it out for a few more months just because this forum is here.


@takitus & @nick07lee have one as well. Here are a few topics about some owners who bought some cheap Chinese lasers.

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The laser I have is one that my students built. We have no filter. Hell, we have no case.

The Glowforge will be the laser I trust any random person to use. It will also be the laser that always works for doing things a laser does.

This will relieve me of needing to worry about not having a case on our other laser, and allow me to be willing to let future students try to make changes to the existing home-built laser.

Want to make a variable Z axis? Sure, go for it. Want to swap to a hand-made tube? Why not?

Now that I have used a laser… I won’t potentially sacrifice my access to one. So having an untouched Glowforge means the Lasersaur is free to Frankenstein with.


I’m getting old. And my motto has always been Reduce Cognitive Load. Sure, I can learn complicated workflows and weird programs. And I can make them work safely most of the time. (Yeah, about the incident where I incinerated a 3D printer hotend and had the machine out of commission for most of a month…) But if I can get something that works without the complicated workflow, using software I already know how to deal with, that’s a huge saving of limited hours in the day.

Which might or might not translate to money saved, but that’s the way to bet.

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I bought a $300 K40 while waiting for the 'Forge. Spend 5 minutes with one, and you will understand the advantages of what Glowforge has promised.

I was up and printing on the K40 within the hour. It wasn’t pretty.

Alignment is a pain. You never really know where it’s going to start or stop. Object too big? The head will just crash into the side, and scream at you.

Software. Please. I work on a Mac. Design in illustrator. Print as PDF, print again through Preview to clear up some PDF weirdness that Inkscape outputs. Send the file to the windoze machine. Import to the ancient version of Corel with questionable origins. Send to the laser, pray everything is still the same size as you Inkscape drawing.

Laser alignment is a pain. 30 minutes minimum of opening lid, adjusting, fire laser, open lid, adjust, repeat 20 times.

I added air assist. It’s been quite handy. $18 plus compressor.

3D grayscale, autofocus? not a chance on this unit.

For all of its flaws, the K40 has been deeply satisfying. I have a much better understanding of what can, and what cannot be done.