How to book on laser cutting

I know that there are loads of instructions on line in various formats. Who is going to publish the first book on how to use the Glowforge? Had some time to kill so stopped into a bookstore and there’s nothing. Can’t really identify anything on Amazon that fits the home user market. This is new territory. Someone could definitely get the jump. Lots of folks still like regular books.


Good idea. I’m not much of a writer unfortunately

Could we collectively create something? I don’t mind doing a tutorial or two. I can do the layout but again not much of a “writer”

I’d love to try, but I’m going to need the machine first! haha.


This thread, I’m definitely watching–will contribute any way I can–I like to edit/proof writing too.

I have written a manual before. I may take a crack at this. But as Kyle points out… we need to have the software available at the least before we can do much. At the moment I could begin putting together sections on how to design a file to send to the cutter, but I would be playing it safe and working on designs for the most draconian existing systems, then having to heavily revise to account for any convenience factors in the GF (which should be many)


I have taught writing and did some book layout. So can we crowd source this. What is the best crowd source document production method. What kind of manual is the glow forge team preparing. I think if we get a crowd source medium like Google documents that would be great. Or we can just start wiki that might be the best way to begin with out an actual machine. I am driving to Seattle today taking my vacation from Missouri. Just to be near the center of the storm.


I’m sure there will be several books written…
Can the “good” glowforge book have a wooden cover with a GF-cut living hinge? 'Cause imho it should!


I like the idea of a Google Doc or a wiki. Something for everyone to contribute to. And I agree with @KyleQuinn that having the machine will make this a lot easier. I think we could start to lay it out with some ideas of sections and scope so when we get our machine we can all get to work in a way.

First step is to identify what should be in the manual, then to outline from there.

List of things which ought to be included, with no attempt to classify them by order, size or quality once included (ie - some of these may just be a footnote on a page, some may be multiple chapters, some may be sub-sections of others on the list as well):

  1. Materials usable
  2. Types of end products
  3. Joining Methods
  4. Converting images to cuts/engraves
  5. Finishing Techniques
  6. Limitations
  7. How to guides for every possible software usable, ideally focusing on the free ones, unless something paid has no equal in some regard
  8. Maintenance
  9. Best Practices
  10. List of resource locations (models, files, materials, parts)
  11. Business considerations? (Breakdown of cost to run laser, pricing suggestions, how to promote your business? I dunno, sounds like this idea fits in a different book – which likely already exists in great quantity and variety)
  12. What to expect (I picture as comprehensive as possible of a list of typical use conditions, voltages at various available test-points during operation, description of sounds/smells… this would be a place people go to when they are concerned about their machine maybe showing signs of malfunction, but still running. Or even potentially useful to troubleshoot when nothing is working at all)

Good outline @jacobturner!

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Great response. What platform? I just arrived Seattle. I have a Google cloud server that is underutilized since at the moment it’s my test platform. I could do a Mediawiki install and send invites to users. Put up the outline and then go to it. Use the info and documentation to do a doc version. I do want to respect GF’s business. Not sure what consideration to have there. Don’t want a cease and desist. :wink: Decide along the way how to open it up and migrate to a domain. . Problem is I just have iPhone and iPad here and CLI sucks without a keyboard. Been thinking of buying a Bluetooth. But first I have to figure out where to get some beer.

I don’t know what platform would work well.

Something easy to print, for users who like physical media or just have problems reading on screens in general.
Something capable of inter-document links. PDF was great for this, I know wiki formats do this well. I imagine everything does.
Something that can embed videos. I can imagine many times having a video demonstration will be a nice addition to (not replacement of… please) text how-to.
Something that can permit annotation balloon popouts (like XKCD What-If write-ups, or Wait but Why posts) would be useful.

If we could easily create quick-reference poster print pages, that would be phenomenal. I know there are many rules of thumb worth keeping visible.
In general, being able to have files available of various formats right in the document will be phenomenal. Then we can provide them with sequential saves in whatever program we are discussing showing each step completed as we move along. As well as giving completed project files so they can print something that is known to work.


TBL created the web exactly for this thing and we are still figuring it out.

LOL – I met TBL about 15 years ago and he told me that he hates having to worry about filenames and urls. At the time, he would just bang random keys whenever a filename was needed and depend on hyperlinks to do the heaving lifting… :sunglasses:

We’ll also want to be mindful of international differences–applicable regulations, measurement units, terminology, etc.


I’m liking all the things I’m hearing!!

I’m a fan of google docs and PDFs for most uses but I think from what people have been asking for or suggesting the only real option is a good wiki. Not to say we can’t have downloadable/printable formats including posters.

I think we should try to make some semi official community platforms. So a wiki, a community YouTube channel and any other suggestions. I don’t think any one person should take ownership of hosting it. We should use a free service that a few users manage and the community and moderate/ add to.


Ok. I can’t use my VM since the test site on it is a church library and that just might not fly for both parties. How about I haven’t linked to a domain yet so it’s pure IP address.

Ourproject looks pretty bland, but perfectly functional. So at the least it would serve well as a starting point, since we aren’t trying for flare right now, but rather coalescing information. Looks like we can discuss, track, and upload whatever we want to. So in that regard it should be fine.

The one project I randomly selected that did have a homepage linked offsite, so it appears that ourproject may be intended more as a locus of information, rather than a consumable end-product, which is perfectly in line with what it appeared to be.

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