Layered builds in glowforge

A lot of the more interesting objects for me seem to involve some sort of layered design being attached back together. Cell phone holders, monitor stands, giant cardboard globe thing.

Is there software available that does this easily? Or will this be a matter of designing things properly?

It’s interesting to me because it’s almost like how a 3d printers software works, slicing a 3d object in lots of flat layers.

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Try 123d make.
It’s free

But as you get into more complex designs, yes, you will have to go to a CAM package.


Agree with 123d.

I saw something years ago that was for doing sloted chairs. Sloted like a dino puzzle.

What is a “CAM package” ? I will check out 123d, thanks!

CAM = Computer Aided Modeling

I use Rhino, but it’s kind of a overkill.

As in you manually slice up your model in Rhino?

Depends on the model, but one could, yes.

I did for this one:

I mostly use Rhino for building stuff.
The GF is opening up a whole new way of looking at how to build and design things so there is no “wrong” or “right” way to do it.


123D seems to be very promising.

I think you meant CAD not CAM.

It used to be CAD for design, CAM for manufacturing. Now they seem to be converging, finally.


Since both CAD and CAM use computer-based methods for encoding geometrical data, it is possible for the processes of design and manufacture to be highly integrated. Computer-aided design and manufacturing systems are commonly referred to as CAD/CAM.


No, I meant CAM as in “Computer Aided modeling” not CAM as in “Computer Aided Manufacturing”.
But, CAD/CAM is pretty much the same for my simple brain.

CAM is more usually defined as Computer-Aided Manufacturing and used to create toolpaths for CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machines from 2D or 3D CAD designs. It appears that 3rd party CAM programs will be of little use for GF users since it has no way to take or understand the G-code that CAM programs usually generate as their product.


I agree, seems a true “CAM” by today’s standards will have no use to the GF.

So I guess by today’s standards Rhino 3D is a CAD/CAM NURBS mathematical modeler.
I just pick a few letters and go with that. :slightly_smiling:

Just wanted to clarify for the readers that may not be familiar with the terms. There seem to be a lot of artistic folks here as opposed to those like me whose projects tend to a more mechanical nature. Hopefully, both sets of users can learn something from each other.


I was at the Regulars Q and A a few days ago. I felt a tad out of place as a Cabinetmaker amongst a bunch of people who are or were engineers and electronics guys. That being said I fell the reason we are paying 2-5k for a laser cutter vs 1k or less for a Chinese machine is hat the GF is being designed for the rest of us . An easy, out of the box solution that is for the “not mechanical” crowd. Yes it also has improvements over the run of the mill machines, but the big selling point is ease of use. Glowforge is selling pre-approved materials to even lower that learning curve.

So what I am trying to get at is that the artist amongst us an make the pretty pictures and think outside the box, and hopefully the engineers will dream new joints and solutions to make awesome things. And hopefully this forum gets us all working together.

I think I ranted there , sorry

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But at least you can have comfort in the fact that experienced laser users, engineers and veterans of other crowd funded campaigns felt the Glowforge was well worth dropping their cash.

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Thank you for that. I am among that ‘other’ group of which you speak. You are absolutely correct, too…the cross section of skills and talents in this forum makes this whole experience all the richer…and we can all come out more knowledgeable on a wider scale.


Historically CAM has referred to the process of taking a CAD design and creating g-code for a CNC machine to run. Depending on your definitions, you could say Glowforge has an integrated CAM system (in that it generates its own toolpaths) or that it doesn’t use CAM at all (as there’s no standalone G-code generation stage).

And yes, the whole point is that you can focus on what you love. For all of human history, if a leatherworker wanted to build something in wood, or a mechanical engineer wanted to turn their design into a papercut, or a clothing designer wanted to create a multicolored sign, they had to start from zero - thousands of dollars of tools, years of practice, per material, to work in a different medium. With Glowforge, you can go directly from creative inspiration to a printed product in any supported material. To be sure, you can add tons of value by knowing how to sew, or finish leather, or polish wood - but equipped with either the catalog or design software (Adobe Illustrator, CAD) - just about anyone can make an infinite number of incredible things in dozens of materials. No engineering required. It’s easier to use than facebook. (To be fair, I regularly fail at using facebook, so maybe that’s a bad comparison).

OK, I’m sounding like our promotional video. I’ll stop now. :wink:

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Considering your, @rpegg, are the glowforge’s 5th Beatle, indeed.

Picking out that they moved a wire indicated a change of something something I think makes you a good authority . Hopefully you get your red stapler back soon and payroll will catch up with you. Meanwhile hope this helps: