July 2017 Update


This is your regularly scheduled July update… earlier than usual, because we have an abundance of awesome to share.

Shipments have started (here’s the update we emailed you about it). We’re hard at work making every Glowforge printer better by improving our software as shipments are rolling off the line.

One thing we’ve heard from you is that it’s helpful to hear about software changes that we make. For that reason, we’ve created a new page called Latest Improvements (https://glowforge.com/latest-improvements). We’ll post there from time to time with software changes we think you’ll enjoy knowing about. Most of them will be small, but we’re starting off with a bang: today, we’re introducing Full Power and Precision Power.

The Best Prints: Full Power and Precision Power

Starting today, we’re changing the way the Glowforge custom power supply works to unlock some new superpowers for your Glowforge. This will make Proofgrade materials print even more quickly and beautifully every time, and give you unprecedented control if you want to use your own materials manually. There’s two pieces to the puzzle.

First, we’re introducing Full Power. Full Power delivers maximum power to the material. This gives you cleaner, faster prints when you perform “cut” operations. Getting the perfect Full Power requires our factory technicians to perform a careful dial-in period on optical benches for each Glowforge unit that we build, but the results are terrific. This ensures that your Glowforge is ideally calibrated to use with all our Proofgrade materials, all the time.

Second, even more exciting, we’re offering Precision Power. Precision Power offers a range of power settings that can go low enough to print on extremely delicate materials. There are two unique things about precision mode.

First, Precision Power is extremely accurate. By delivering a consistent amount of power all the time, with no momentary hot or cold spots, you can perform delicate operations without damaging the material you’re working with.

Second, Precision Power can go to impossibly low power levels. How low? Delicate enough to cut and print on ordinary office copy paper. For example, here’s a pair of dice cut and engraved from ordinary 20lb Office Depot-brand copy paper.

Here’s a micro-thin replica of the south rose window of Notre-Dame de Paris, cut from the same paper.

Let me just say that again, because I can barely believe it: you can print high resolution images and text on ordinary copy paper with your Glowforge laser. It’s absolutely incredible.

We’re turning these on shortly for all production units in the field, plus it will be available from here on forward for new units. Proofgrade settings will just work beautifully. In manual mode, you can set Full Power by choosing “100”, and Precision Power by choosing any number from 1-99. In the future, we’ll make that a little more obvious - our current working draft looks like this:

These huge improvements are for both Pro and Basic - of course, Pro full power is more powerful than Basic full power (45 watts instead of 40). We think you’re going to have a lot of fun experimenting with the new settings.

This is just the star of the show - you can find more of the details about things that are changing for the better on the Latest Improvements page.

And now to the rest of the monthly update:

Glowforge Shipments

We continue to ramp up our production line and are steadily making our way through the orders of Basic units placed on the first day of the campaign. It was one of the biggest campaign days, and our factory is still increasing production, so we’ve still got a ways to go! We’re also working hard to start production of Pro units at the end of June. I’m sending this from our factory in Milpitas, where our team is putting in long hours with our counterparts at Flex to keep shipments rolling ever faster.

We’ve been learning a lot from our deliveries. The foam structure that keeps your Glowforge safe in transit has been holding up beautifully, although the cardboard box can take a beating. So far, we’ve had more than 95% of shipments arrive without damage. That’s a good number that we’re working to make even better. We’re taking your feedback to make improvements to the package, which we’ll start including on the line as soon as it’s ready. Of course, in the event that you’re one of the unlucky ones to experience shipping damage, just let us know - we’ll make it right immediately.

Launching soon in the Glowforge shop: Draftboard

The Glowforge Shop is the only place you can purchase Proofgrade materials. Right now it’s only available after your Glowforge is delivered, but we’re working to make it available to all Glowforge customers soon. You’re probably familiar with the benefits of using Proofgrade materials: perfect prints every time with barcoded settings, prefinished materials, the highest grade of woods, leathers, and acrylics, and so on. Even better, Proofgrade materials are priced competitively with materials sold elsewhere that doesn’t offer those benefits.

But what about your first draft?

You’ve been asking us for a solution, and we’re happy to announce that we’ve got one: Draftboard™. Draftboard is an engineered wood product that’s designed to work perfectly with lasers. It has the same masking and barcoding as our other materials, so you can drop it in to print or engrave without any worry about settings or configuration. It’s strong and engraves perfectly, so you can use it for anything that you use Proofgrade plywood for. It’s covered by the same quality warranty as all Proofgrade materials. And the best part: it costs about a third as much as Proofgrade plywood, so it’s perfect to draft with.

Draftboard will be coming shortly to the Glowforge shop. We can’t wait to see what you’ll print with it.

Pause when warm

Another feature that’s coming soon is the ability for your Glowforge to pause when it’s over temperature. Today, when your Glowforge is operating in a room that’s too warm, it just keeps going - even though cut and engrave quality may suffer. Thermal pause extends the lifetime of your tube by letting it cool down when the room it’s operating in is too warm, and ensures that long prints in a warm environment look as good at the end of the print as they did at the start. It’s pretty neat - the print just pauses for a minute (or more if it’s hot in the room), then resumes right where it left off. The improved cooling system on the Pro works with the feature so it can operate in a warmer room and pause less, too.


We’ve got a draft of the user manual available here:

You’ll be able to see it if (and only if) you’re logged in. Please don’t redistribute it; we’re improving it constantly, and any snapshot right now runs the risk of misleading someone with the wrong information. Still, if you’d like to learn about how to set up your Glowforge and get it running, it should get you started - and there’s lots more support information coming.

We can’t wait to see what you make

For those of you who have your Glowforge delivered already, we’re so glad we’ve been able to finally make good on our commitment to you, and we hope you enjoy the improvements we’re delivering to you as much as we do. We’ll keep the improvements coming.

For those of you who don’t have your Glowforge yet, it’s on it’s way. It’s wonderful. We feel terrible that you’ve waited this long, and we’re grateful for your patience so we could make your Glowforge perfect for you.

We can’t wait to see what you make with it!

You can discuss this update in this discussion topic.

Discussion of (early!) July update
Glowforge updates: the road to production
Discussion of (early!) July update
Operating Environment
Discussion of (early!) July update
Weekly Highlights for the Week Ending June 24th, 2017
Anyone else about sick of their machine?
Intermittent Pausing During Cutting
Request for feature