Glowforge Competition is finally here!

Finally… and CHEAPER than a Glowforge.
Polar 50W Desktop Laser Cutter & Engraver Machine With Rotary – OMTech Laser

I upgraded to an OMTECH AF2028-80watt awhile back. Lightburn Software is INCREDIBLE.
So, when you get tired of the Glowforge lack of service and crappy UI… here ya go.


Intriguing, but there are some red (or at least yellow) flags.

#1: These are all renders. OMtech is well known so I don’t think this is a fly-by-night kickstarter vaporware project, but still, why no photos?

#2: What’s up with that front drawer rig? Is that the tray? Can you operate it with the tray open?

#3: It doesn’t say what class laser it is, so I guess it’s class 1? I don’t see evidence of a passthrough system, and find that unlikely given the central location of the rear exhaust fan.

#4: What are the operating parameters, especially in terms of temps? How does it cool itself? Is there an external chiller?

#5: Speaking of the tray, what’s it made of?

Did I miss some sort of detailed specs page? I don’t see it.


Yeah this is suspect if you see the machine is 9.2 inches tall with a max working height of 20 inches.
If that was supposed to read 2 inches then the rotary engraver dimensions are wrong too at 75mm/2.95 inches.


Huh yeah I didn’t catch those design numbers. That is definitely sloppy.

I have a buddy with a OMtech laser, he talks about the mirror adjustment issues and build quality problems he’s come across… this is pushing into GF’s “it just works” territory, hopefully they’ve worked that stuff out… but the sloppiness of this preorder page isn’t screaming “attention to detail”.


Agree! Even mixing metric and imperial measurements is sloppy. Copy and paste lol?


There’s plenty of GF competition out there. Why are you spamming us?


A shame, I would really like to see a true competitor for glowforge. They’re far too comfortable, they haven’t updated the hardware in five years. Where’s the 60-80 watt option? Where’s the new design that takes advantage of all the experience they gained from their design mistakes?

Also, it’s interesting to note that OMtech (on the surface) hasn’t seemed to correct for the GF model’s design issues, they have a massive gantry with the tube mounted on it (less maintenance yes, mass problems yes) and large laser head in their product images (again, renders, so who knows what’s real here).


Oh also the max working height issue probably means height of material, not depth. 20" working area is about right they say it’s 20.08", close enough.


Exactly. And don’t even get me started on the whole shipping costs outside the US. My next machine (if there is one) will have a well established Canadian presence.


I am glad that you are happy with your other equipment. Why post here?


I thought about that but since the machines largest dimension is its width that sounds odd to describe it as height.


Language barrier?

OMTech is the American wing of Orion Motor Tech, a Chinese manufacturer of laser engravers and cutters .



1st off… I haven’t SPAMED anything, I posted this ONE topic.
I love my Glowforge. It works great. I still own it. I was just ready to move up to a bigger, more capable machine. Glowforge is perfect for its intended audience. I don’t have an issue with the machine at all. I have issues with the Glowforge Company. A machine like OMTech, Thunder, Boss, etc are not plug and play and require maintenance, just like a car. Every single piece is user replaceable and user upgradable. It’s like owning a PC computer. You can build it exactly the way you want and replace any and every component. And there are several choices of software available (NO INTERNET REQUIRED), instead of the very simple and featureless GF UI. I would NOT recommend a machine like these to learn on. There is a learning curve for sure. So it isn’t for everyone.
I just see how GF has gone to the dogs quality wise (just read the forums and online stuff about it), and their total lack of Tech Support. It is sad, really, to let such a good platform go to waste.
As far a Chinese machines. Who makes and builds iPhones and iPads? China. Where are most laser tubes built? China. The reason why iPhones are good is because China has to build them to Apple’s specs. Same for OMTech, and many others.
My only intent for posting this to begin with is to let others know that there are other options out there when they get tired getting no service and now, going thru 2 or more machines to finally get one that works, only to have it go belly up a few months later.
This forum is GREAT. It was, and is, a good selling point for Glowforge. The OMTech forum has 18k, super helpful and knowledgeable users as well. But the community should not be responsible for fixing everyone’s machines. I think that is why GF got rid of what little Tech Support they had… why pay for GF employees when the community can handle all the issues for us?
I had a question, and I thought an issue, with my new machine, and I called them. YES, they have a phone number! They answered my question instantly. It ended up being user error on my part and not an issue with the machine.
OF course, it ends up being your choice. Maybe the Glowforge is perfect for you. Maybe you don’t mind being ignored by GF when you do have an issue. Maybe you don’t mind buying yet another refurbished one that doesn’t work either. It’s your $$.
Good luck.


Well said. At our local library I coach patrons on the library’s MakerSpace’s Glowforge. Some of them have asked about getting their own laser engraver and I have always presented the pros and cons of the Glowforge and other brands – explaining the same details you have succinctly listed!

Glowforge [the company] has said that they welcome discussion about all lasers, including competitors, here on the forums.
That openness is beneficial. It helps people who are new to lasers in general, the learning curve of this type of machine, expanding business to commercial levels… it keeps the whole forum healthy with fanboys, learners, experienced, happy, and frustrated individuals all respectfully discussing.

And I searched up this topic in this forum with the search terms of competitors. I want to know how they compare. I know Glowforge [the community] forum is a place where this discussion can happen. So for the offended folks who ask why bring it up here, well, because this is my trusted community where I don’t find many trolls of RTFM responses.

I have been a happy Glowforge [the machine] user since the preorder campaign. I have a Basic and a Pro. I’ve owned the pro for 13 months, and the original had to be replaced due to a hardware issue. The refurb just went belly-up and I’m probably going to replace it with another Glowforge.
At the same time, I have people asking for rotary, for bigger items than I can get through my pass-through.

And I’m frustrated that the answer to my “it won’t turn on” was “buy a refurbished unit.”

I’m still a Glowforge [the company] fan and I love my Glowforge [the machine] but I know that some of my Glowforge [the community] people can commiserate and recommend viable options for me beyond “respond in 30 days saying Yes! I want a refurbished Glowforge for $1650!”

So, @Docsis , please tell me something about your OMTECH 80-watt machine. I’m actually interested in a big machine rather than desktop. What do you love about it? What do you hate about it? Any reviews that you’d recommend reading? Any forums that are worth visiting? Where can I learn how it stacks up against other options?

My sister’s runs a business that has a Universal that they love and a Glowforge that I maintain and manage and she is about to buy a Trotec. I can’t afford a Universal or Trotec; but how does OMTECH stack against them?

Does anybody have insights that they want to share about other lasers, bigger or similar?

Let’s keep talking about this.


Machines like the OMTechs, Thunder, Boss, etc are NOT as simple to operate and even maintain as the Glowforge. That is what is GREAT about the Glowforge. The fact that they are selling defective new and refurbed units is not an issue with the platform, but an issue with the folks who are running the company. They are allowing these obvious defects to continue without addressing it and changing things. They decided to basically abandon the Tech Support. If it wasn’t for the folks here on THIS forum, support would be pretty much be non-existent.
My OMTECH requires attention, and of course, a LOT of room. I work out of a small shed (8’x10’), so I got the biggest that would fit, and fit thru the door.
The bed is 28" wide and 20" tall. The bed lowers about 10-11 inches, so there is plenty of room for a rotary device (my next purchase, but the good ones are about $1000)… cheap ones are less than $300, but you get what you pay for). Lowering the bed allows you to engrave pretty big and tall/thick things.
What really sets lasers like this apart is the software. Lightburn is the most popular and the best. I can make this thing do things I didn’t know lasers could do. The best thing to do is watch some YouTube about Lightburn and you will see what I mean. It is not only design software, but it controls the laser as well.
Of course, with so much versatility and capabilities come complexities sometimes. It requires some time to learn.
NO INTERNET required. Everything is serviceable, and upgradable, not proprietary like GF. But again, this means more to learn. More to maintain, yes, but not really a big deal.
I added a chiller which keeps the laser nice and cool. The chillers are actual compressors with freon to keep the water at the set temp. You could run the laser all day without fear of it overheating.
I upgraded the Air Assist. The GF air assist is the little fan under the print head that blows air onto the material as it cuts. The problem with a fan is how easily and quickly it gets dirty and gets to where it is hardly blowing any air. Using an actual compressor for air is a game changer. You won’t believe how good and clean the cuts and engraves are when you have 15-30 psi of air blowing at it. It is night and day. I was shocked actually, on how much a difference it makes.
So, even with a Chiller (the one I got was $550) and the air assist compressor and tubing, etc, the cost of my AF2028-80 was still less than a Glowforge Plus (since they are now 5 grand). But now, all the gear takes up half my workspace!
There are lots of other brands, models, sizes, etc. Research Research, Research and Research, and watch LOTS of YouTube.
KNOW what to expect and what you are getting. No plug and play here, but I am SO glad I got it all. OMTech has an awesome facebook page with nice, knowledgeable folks just like here on the GF forums.
Is it all perfect… nope, but at least I can fix it all myself and upgrade easily when the need or desire arises. Parts are not proprietary and are readily available.


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