So, I’ve chimed in a few times over the last couple years but, mostly I’ve just read what others had to say. Once the pre-production units started shipping, things got pretty interesting. I’ve had a long list of ideas in mind that I’ve patiently waited to employ on the Glowforge.
My Glowforge arrived a couple weeks ago and actually had to sit in the box for several days until I could make some time to set it up. Setup went smoothly and my first effort was the founders ruler. I had some exhaust issues that needed to be sorted out so it took a couple days to source materials to remedy that.
As soon as the exhaust was sorted out, I began testing engraves of various painted coatings over silicon bronze. One of the most anticipated uses of the Glowforge for me has been the application of resist for a modified intaglio technique I use on many of my knives. This is similar to etching PCB’s.
So far I’ve found flat black Rustoleum to work the best but, it is not without issues. The laser seems to particlize the paint which then settles back onto the part in a fine layer. I did my parts in the center of the machine, right below the camera so, perhaps moving closer to the exhaust fan could help alleviate some of that. I ran three passes to get the paint removal as clean as possible but, it was still a problem.
Another issue is the problem of the beam not being able to autofocus. My parts are curved and have about 1/16" elevation change between the edges and the center. I believe I am losing some definition due to defocusing.
Despite the issues, I was able to learn from several test pieces and go on to produce the acid etched bronze bolsters on the knife pictured below.