In it for the long haul and Plug and Play laser recommendations for the mean time

Of course this is a disappointing setback; though, I can honestly say I’ve never been more excited about getting my glowforge. The ability to convert to a flatbed printer is amazing, and that 3d and photo engraving. Swoon…(or perhaps squeee is more appropriate).

I’ll stick it out because I have faith in this product and faith in this team. I’m on the forum every night, though rarely vocal. I think the generous and thoughtful nature of glowforge backers, evidenced by the many charitable responses in the forum, have likely given the glowforge team the courage to delay manufacture in favor of producing a higher quality product, which is commendable. Many manufacturers would rush to production for fear of losing everyone. I’m sure they’ll lose a few, but in the long run a great product ends up in significant percentages of households.

I’m glad to be able to support the development of a tool that has the ability to revolutionize at home making. It’s so freaking awesome. I’m always surprised at the kindness and humor of this online community and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Finally, I’m thinking of a little flatbed USB plug and play laser to tide me over. Does anyone have a recommendation?


I was actually looking at this little thing to tinker with yesterday

Obviously it is limited to charring/darkening the wood you use but it would be pretty neat to see what you can do with it

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If you’re just looking to play around with designs, you might consider something like the silhouette, cricut, or knk cutting machines. Brother might make one too. It would only really cut paper and vinyl, but the vinyl cutting aspect would still be useful after you receive the glowforge, because I think cutting vinyl with a laser leads to death and destruction.


Thanks Erin, I do have the Silhouette and I do use it. I’m really looking for a little laser just for engraving to do small wood pieces and really to get my feet wet with lasers. I’ve never used one. The little plug and plays are fairly cheap and I could pass it down when the glowforge arrives. I’m all about giving people access to tools, so that would be cool with me. There are several on the market, some of which had some Black Friday sales. Just trying to cut my research time down with recommendations.


If you’re going to go with a teeny thing like that, you might as well double the wattage for a few bucks more.


That one customer review with one star. :slight_smile: I’ll have to put in my two cents if I go with this model.

I wonder if there is one manufacturer being marketed under several brand names? Some of them look really similar.

Bahaha… yeah, I know what you mean.

The truth is, ones that look like this, they’re all going to be pretty cheaply made. You really have to accept that it might not work well (or perhaps, easily)… that the manual will be in mangled Chinglish, and you’ll need to interpret / intuit some things to make them work well.

In a lot of the Chinese market for these, they share the design and many shops produce them. It’s pretty wild west. They don’t really have the same culture of copyright protection.

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I’m thinking this is a great investment for right now. Nothing will make the glowforge seem more awesome than contending with a cheaply made Chinese laser for 6 months. Hunger is the best sauce.


I would suggest getting a k40. It’s probably the closest thing you can get to a glowforge as it’s almost the same wattage, and the price is getting incredibly low on them ~$250-300. I’ve had one for about 6 months now and it was a great value for what I got, especially in light of the delays. It gave me a chance to get a feel for lasers, even if it doesn’t have all the features of a glowforge you can get a really good idea of how a 40watt laser interacts with different materials.


If it helps, I did see what might perhaps be the entire instruction manual for it on this site… :sweat_smile:

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Agreed, especially since an actually not terrible diode laser will cost you the same and come with a different set of challenges.

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I’ve built a couple of diode laser thingies, and I can’t really speak well of them except as toys. They can mark (some) materials, and can cut a few (mostly plastics and craft foam and paper), but the cheap ones are generally built with stepper assemblies (and lasers) from CD/DVD drives, which limits them to a working space of about 40mm/1.5" square. If you’re going to go that route, it might be more of a learning experience to put the whole thing together yourself. Cost is $50-150, depending on what parts you can scrounge, and there’s a little fairly straightforward soldering.

Oh, and without protective eyeware, even the lowest-powered ones are still perfectly capable of blinding you or your family members.


Absolutely. They’re not very safe. But a really nice one can cut cardboard at least, and some balsa. The one nice thing about them is that those are generally much less likely to break down and need parts replaced…but of course, they are correspondingly less capable, as you point out.

Good for getting the basics down, at any rate.


This is what I bought during black friday. It seems their promo offer is still on:

It’s $56 free shipping to the UK, I presume it’d be to the US as well. 131 feedback.

At that price it’s a nice toy for Christmas. (About a month for delivery, so sounds about right.)

$62 in the US, delivery about 1 week. Personally, I wouldn’t trust the goggles.

A couple of their “chinglish” translations made me chuckle, as did the name of their software: “Potoshop.”

I was tempted by these last year, but decided getting a Silhouette for $90 would let me practice 2-D design and cutting (and it has), plus I can safely cut vinyl. Win-win. Here’s a holiday card I made with it…


Very nice cuts and use of layering. I make about 100 cards on my Silhouette every year. A few different designs each year. Here are a few of them.
The first Peace card was last year’s primary card. There was a lot of nasty stuff going around in the world last year. Applies just as well to the forums this year.

The middle one here is a box card. Folds flat for mailing, then opens for a 3 layered dimensional look.

I enjoy designing them and making them for friends and family.


Thanks for sharing – box cards are awesome, as are the rest of your designs.

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I already have a Silhouette. :slight_smile:

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What about this!! Less than a glowforge, ships in 2016 :disappointed:

Although it’s hard to tell, that looks like a recent-model K40. About which much discussion elsewhere.

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