Getting to know the Glowforge



I have no idea what I’m doing, frankly. But I wasn’t gonna let that stop me from learning.

Set her up after 2 long years of yearning and pushed a couple projects through the pipeline. I’ve got some great plans, even some more complicated models almost ready, but I needed to figure everything out first, so these are pretty simple.

First I just made some coasters. I had drawn these pieces long, long ago, assuming they would be laser-engraved. Finally got to see that happen.

With that done, I went strait to playing with power setting on some bulk card stock I have laying around (since it’s not proofgrade). I just used my personal studio logo as a test image. I wish the software was bit more intuitive, especially with saving designs, power settings, etc. For now, I’m just compiling a notebook. Oh, and because I got frustrated desperately hunting down people’s power settings (I’m totally novice so all the sliders and number presented far too many variables for me to understand): This was thick cardstock (.063"), full speed, 25ish power, 270 lines per inch, 1 pass.

Then, just because I was having trouble walking away, I decided I would throw myself into something that would teach me some lessons. I wanted to see one project from start to finish, so I drew a three layered earring concept on the spot that really didn’t turn out very good, but was a great learning tool. I wanted to really blast out the detail, see how busy I could make it, see if the laser was true and if it would look too cluttered (sure does). I didn’t want it to be maple-on-maple, for contrast, but maple is the only proofgrade ply they sent, so I thought I’d try to sand one piece and stain it. As somebody else said on a different project, sanding through the finish to the wood for staining is a pain in the ass, and even with just these two little pieces, it felt like a ridiculous labor for something that obviously wasn’t turning out anyhow, so I moved on. They make interesting pendents, anyhow.

Last thing I’ll say. My glowforge arrived pretty dirty. It looked like it was used a few times, and then cleaned in a hurry, with lots of fingerprints and smears all over the glass top. Not a big deal, I just cleaned it. Also, the door sticks pretty hard to the left side, some friction and grind when you open it, definitely doesn’t feel like you’re opening a premium device. I think I saw someone else mention that, too. Is that a standard complaint? Anyhow, it all made me think again when I noticed that in the software, after linking up to my glowforge with wifi, there was another approved user right from the beginning, a name I did not know. Googled the person and they seem to exist but aren’t affiliated with GF from what I can see. Maybe I’m missing something, but it made me wonder if my unit is a refurbished unit or something?

Either way, I’m super excited to move onto the fun stuff.


Woa - if these are your first projects, I’ll be keeping an eye on your posts mate: these are ace! Congrats after the long wait.

The dirty unit is a bit of a let down tbh but the sticky lid has been mentioned quite a lot here. A few people have found that the base on the unit is fairly flexible and that just moving the unit from one bench to another and back again can be enough to straighten it out. Make sure the bench you have it on is flat and level to start and then just shift it to another surface and see what you get. Good luck!


Incredible detail in those coasters! For what it’s worth, the earrings/pendants turned out better than you may have thought. I also am a harsh critic when it comes to personal work, but I can bet that there will be several others that will reinforce what I say when I say that what you’ve done so far is stellar.

With that said, I do have a slight warp in my lid as well; something that has become less and less noticeable (whether it’s because it’s really not too noticeable, or because it’s wearing down what’s hanging it up, I cannot say). As for the previous user, I believe it’s been stated that they test each machine specifically at the factory and have a log of the quirks of each machine in particular. I could be exaggerating here, but I believe that’s what I read, which in my mind, makes sense, because it’s insuring that the machine works within operating guidelines before being shipped.

Anyway, awesome work, and hope to see more from you in here!


My lid has a slight bow to it, but it doesn’t stick or rub. If verifying the surface is flat doesn’t change things you may want to contact support. The rubbing has been a complaint, but not a common one. Glowforge support replaced at least one unit for this, but I have no idea how they draw the line between in-spec and out of spec.

The extra account seems to be a little more common and appears to be part of testing. The final QA checklist seems to be better enforced on some machines than others. If you can’t delete it yourself support will do it for you.

If you can’t cure the two issues yourself, you may email support or post in the Problems and Support category. There is no guarantee they’ll see your issues here.

The fingerprints are a bummer, but not much you can do about that besides cleaning.


Holy Glowsmokes, those are some really inspiring first projects! Easy to see you know your way around design software.


Amazing first projects!


Take a look at this… user authorized

Seems that someone at the Flex factory (maybe QC) forgot to remove their credentials after testing. Could this be your issue too?

Edit: whoops, just noticed that @caribis2 beat me to it. Need another cup of coffee!


All of the lids have a slight bow in the middle edge as viewed from the side. The bow may not have been intentional but is not a defect. It’s just how the pieces fit together.

When you look at the lid from the front, if one front corner is higher that the other then your unit is not sitting level. May be the cause of the lid rubbing.


Great first projects, and engaging write up. I love the earrings! My only personal choice design note would be to horizontal mirror the art on one so they are a “bookended” pair.
I agree with @rpegg that the first thing we all should do when receiving or GF is make sure it is on a dead level surface. Using level as a baseline we can accurately report manufacturing issues to the GF Mothership.


Email support, my company wouldn’t want to sent a unit with prints and a account name on it and am shocked Flex would too. I bet Flex and Glowforge doesn’t know on the manufacturing level. As a customer, Glowforge can make it a Quality check on cleanliness and demand a spec to be met on the door movement


Your artwork is just beautiful! Particularly like the pendants you just “threw together”. :smile:


Totally amazing. One of the beautiful things with :glowforge: is that you don’t need to know what you are doing to get started, but the more you do, the more you know.


I really love how clean and nice the contrast is on those coasters. Great first projects!

Maybe using some shims would work well for this?


Thanks @Jules!


Wow this community is so awesome.

I’ll play with the levelness and move the unit around, see if that remedies the situation. It’s not so bad that I imagine returning the unit. Also, now that I think about it, of course the other authorized user was a Flex account. So factory testing. Yes! Thanks @caribis2 and @jjmacdougall for walking me through that.


Wow, those “simple coasters” are stunning. From the subject matter, I’m guessing that you’re a fellow PNW’er?

I say it so often that it must sound like a platitude, but I really do mean it - I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with this tool.

Congrats and enjoy :slight_smile:


Thanks, @Drea! And yeah, I gave myself away pretty quick, I guess. Fellow PNW’er through and through.


Your artistic ability is quite obvious. You are going to rock that laser!
I had the same issue with the lid. I would bet $ that level is your problem. Experimenting with moving the unit this way or that a few inches, or shimming under one corner or side should correct that condition. If the table it sits on has leveling feet work with those.

Those fingerprints are just the first ones. They make it clear to me why my wife was dead set against a glass top dinette table! I keep glass cleaner and paper towels next to the glowforge.

I have discovered that this community is as big an asset as the laser for the talent and experience gathered here.
Enjoy the adventure, and please continue to share your excellent work with us!


You have clearly shown us that you know what you are doing! Awesome job! :+1: :heart_eyes: Coasters


I moved my unit once to make taking some measurements easier. Prior to moving it, everything fit fantastic. When I moved it back, after the measurements, my lid door started catching/grinding. The feet have a lot of grip on them and it’s a decently heavy machine in a case that has a bit of flex. I believe that it got a bit twisted up when I moved it back to its original location (it doesn’t take much with tight tolerances). I picked up and readjusted just a bit on one side and everything was back to normal.