Instruction Manual?

When I saw the online ad for Glowforge I have to admit I got pretty excited. Here was a piece of equipment that could be used by someone who doesn’t know what ‘CAD’ or ‘Vector Design’ even means. With a month to go before my GF is scheduled to arrive I’m starting to worry that maybe I should be studying up on how to use it. Will there be a detailed, useful instruction manual included with delivery? Is there an online version? Thanks!


Specifics about a user manual are very rare on the forum. We’ve discussed it on many occasions, even to the point of thinking about a wiki or a github document. For right now there will be a detailed manual that will ship with the Glowforge. As to all the specifics in it, that’s to be determined. For example, how much will it describe various materials that aren’t Proofgrade? Will it be a how to for example in doing leather?


According to Dan, the manual is going to be quite a read.


Totally true, so I wouldn’t sweat it. :relaxed:
(Some of us have been doing this for a while from being in the digital cutter industry - you don’t need to know what a vector is to use the GF, you can just draw things and press a button. Got plenty of time if you want to learn about vectors later.)


As others have said, the Glowforge is designed for a wide range of users, emphatically including non-designers. I’ve spent the past decade or so teaching middle and high school educators to use professional-level time-series and spatial modeling software (e.g. Stella/iThink/Vensim and ArcGIS) in their classrooms. Over the years, I’m come to embrace what I call the “continuum of use” in which they progress from simply running pre-build models, through modifying and extending existing models, and finally on to creating their own models from the ground up.

I think this is a valid model for Glowforge users who may be new to laser cutting. Starting with proven, prepared designs and Proof Grade materials, they will be successful on their first cut. As they progress, they’ll start modifying designs and adding complexity to their projects. At some point (and it really shouldn’t take long) they will be designing and making projects from scratch.

My assumption (and I could be totally wrong) is that the GF manual will be a operating manual, heavy on setup procedures, control options, and safety precautions, but light on step-by-step project “how tos.”


What the others have said…and the are plenty of people on the internet and this forum that that are experienced. You can get free (or purchase) designs that are ready to print, or get lots of help to modify or do completely new designs. Like @dwardio said you have plenty of time. The genius of GF is its ease of use. That was one of their prime directives and one of the biggest reasons for starting the company. - Rich


I literally just finished editing the most recent draft - it’s 31 pages long. Roughly 5 pages of safety information, written by highly paid experts who unfortunately do not have a flair for narrative. Then lots of pictures of unboxing, setup, and a walkthrough of your first three projects: a catalog print, a trace + digital design, and a pure digital design. Then some basic troubleshooting, which mostly boils down to ‘make sure you have strong wifi’.

The beautiful thing is we can update the manual too, since it’s a part of the software. It will keep getting better based on your feedback!


Looking forward to seeing that - any chance it will be available before the main shipping process starts?

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Almost feeling like Apollo 10 here. Getting closer. Great info regarding the three projects.


We’ll let you know as soon as it’s available! As usual I’m going to avoid making promises. :slight_smile:


I’m hoping for more of an Apollo 11 vibe. I really don’t want to get to the pitchover maneuver at highgate and then turn back. :sunglasses: Btw, don’t know how Stafford and Cernan did it - I’d been tempted to just go for it… Surprise! “Early delivery!”


Him indoors just read this, his response. " How hard can it be? Its only got one bloody button"!


Thanks everyone for the responses and comments I’m definitely feeling reassured! Since I ordered early I’m expecting my GF in December. YAY! I’ve cleared out my office closet and put together a low plywood table that pretty much fills the area to place my forge in. Can’t wait to get started:)