Starting with any new project is like learning a new language, the more you expose yourself to it, the less incomprehensible it gets…until one day you are suddenly speaking French. And from then on…it just gets easier and easier.
Learning to design for this laser actually takes 3 learning curves:
You have to learn to use the machine. (Mechanical aspect. The Glowforge User Interface.) This part’s pretty easy. Glowforge has done a great job of making it quick to jump right in.
You have to learn how to design files for it. This can be done in either some outside design software that you are already familiar with, (like Illustrator, Inkscape or Affinity Designer), or you can subscribe to the Premium Features in the Glowforge Interface and design right in the Glowforge Software. It is SUPER easy to use, and they keep adding new features to it. We currently have access to all of the Premium features for free testing…it might be close to becoming a paid subscription, so if you want to test them out, now would be the time to do it, to see if you want to subscribe.
You have to eventually learn a little bit about materials, and how they react differently when the laser is used. Wood burns, acrylic melts…that sort of thing.
As you get more comfortable using the laser, you will be able to adjust the settings yourself, to cut through other things beyond Proofgrade materials that have the settings predetermined for you. This comes with time and testing, and keeping good notes at first about what works and what doesn’t for each new material that you try.
What overwhelms most new users is that they try to learn everything at once. Which would be confusing as all get out.
Since you have already worked through part of the Glowforge “Learn By Doing” section, there are some other ideas that might help you to tackle the learning curves:
1. Tutorials for Learning to Use the Glowforge Interface:
Reading through ALL of the information they list on the left at least once is good, just to start getting familiar with where to find information when you need it… but you don’t need to memorize it, you’re going to pick it up quickly just by using the software.
Learn By Doing: Your First Prints
In addition, there is a more detailed reference on it here:
Glowforge Interface - Tips and Tricks for Using The App
Currently, there is no write-up on how to use the Premium Features, (it’s still in Beta), but once you get comfortable with using the other features, it is very easy to just try them out…the Premium features include “Ready-to-Use” designs for just about everything you can think of, and you can create your own Cut Lines in the Glowforge App.
2. Tutorials for Learning to Design Your Own Files
These are important for learning to understand the concepts of design and how to make them apply to the Glowforge software, no matter which program you use to design them.
3. Tutorials for Working With Your Own Materials Settings
Got to scoot, but hopefully some of that will get you started.