Maker Faire Orlando 2016

Maker Faire Orlando was last weekend, no Glowforges to be seen. (No problem, you guys are busy getting our forges ready to ship :slight_smile:)

I walked around and was chatting with makers with lasers, and they feel into two groups. One hadn’t heard of Glowforge, which was surprising. The other which was more disturbing were the ones that had and were very hostile or negative about them. Misconceptions about it “not being powerful enough” or “it will never ship”, or “its is a scam, don’t waste your money”. The was another woman that I talked to that was "scared off " the glowforge from another laser forum, saying that it was plastic and not safe.

This launch is going to be a big deal. Dan and his team will need to prove them wrong.


Clearly nonsense as Glowforges are in the wild, being used by Beta Testers and appearing at other locations. I suspect that GF has a lot of other manufacturers worried.


I recall that a little bit from Maker Faire Seattle. The people that were selling the laser-cut pinhole camera, and were literally 75’ from the GF booth didn’t know what it was at first. I’m sure by the end of the show they did though.

I also took a class at a maker space and when I first mentioned GF they didn’t really react. At one point the other student said “yeah, the GF seems pretty cool.” So at least she knew about it, but the maker space teacher didn’t say a word.

Those are both local to Seattle and hadn’t heard much or didn’t know about it!

When my wife and I talked to Epilog at Maker Faire Seattle, the rep there didn’t seem concerned. In her mind they are different products that meet needs for different people… and therefore not much in terms of competition. Even the desktop Epilog is minimum 3x the cost of (what I paid for) the Glowforge… most small businesses will need the speed and power of the Epi and won’t bother on the slower GF, even though it is more cost effective and easier to use.


I joined a couple of laser cutter forums and rarely does someone have something positive to say about the GF. Most comments are claiming it will burn your house down. These same people are the ones who will recommend buying a cheap Chinese laser with shoddy wiring and pirated software with malware and viruses. They claim you just need a weekend to rewire it and need to upgrade the power supply and download this pirated version of Corel Draw that is malware free. Uhhh. Anything I buy new better work out of the box or it will be going back.

People hate change. Something like the Glowforge comes along and the forum members realize that if it’s a success, they will no longer be the only ones making things with laser cutters. Their place in the world is being threatened. You won’t have to know how to align mirrors, replace power supplies, align materials, or upgrade/fix chillers. So they are going to be on the defensive and be negative about anything that changes their stats quo or comfort.

The manufacturers who are competing against Glowforge are going to trash GF as much as they can, so they don’t have to sink money into R&D to develop similar features. How much have laser cutters changed in the past 10 years? Maybe overall size and price.

The same thing happened when the Mac launched, CDs launched (there were stories about CD lasers were going to leak out of the case and burn your retinas), the iPod launched (was going to ruin your hearing, like a walkman wouldn’t), DVDs launched (VHS & laserdisc users were bashing the CD technology and picture quality). 100+ years ago, there were even people who trashed the first automobiles claiming that horse and buggies were far superior. I’m sure boat builders, horse breeders and wagon builders trashed the first locomotives.

I still laugh when I remember some computer people I worked with in the 90’s complaining when computer mice came out. They trashed the technology and said that a point and click device was worthless, everyone should just use the keyboard commands. These were the same people who trashed Windows and Mac graphic interfaces, saying DOS was far superior.

The most recent of these incidents was when the iPhone launched. The industry laughed at the touch screen. Blackberry users trashed the technology. The first iPhone was not perfect, but it was a game changer. Look at where we are now.

Do I expect the Glowforge to be perfect? No. I expect there will some quirks after launch, just like all new products. I’m confident the GF team will get those ironed out over a couple of months. Do I expect Glowforge to turn the laser cutting industry on its head? Yes.


Socrates lamented writing. He said it would destroy our capacity to remember. Shows that he Glowforge has a specific niche to fill: all those people whole didn’t know they needed a 3D laser printer.


So true. Glowforge is going to promise to help you move and then flake out. It will date your sister, too.


The hostility I’ve seen seems to be caused by one of two things: Either they’re professional engravers who’ve spent 10’s of thousands building their businesses and they’re afraid that regular folks will be able to do what they do, or; They have a misconception of what can and can’t be a laser engraver, and their narrow viewpoints don’t allow room for innovation or change. The second group are almost certainly Trump supporters.


Don’t forget one other reality - there an awful lot of stupid people on the Internet.


This is like when the first consumer laser printers came out (such as the Apple LaserWriter) and Aldus Pagemaker shipped, people were saying nobody would ever produce their own documents, as that was a toy. 1 year later the graphics department was half the size as we only needed design services for fancy things, as it became possible for normal people to layout simple documents with ease and produce them at high quality


heh… writing something down helps me remember it. But I haven’t memorized a phone number since I got my first cell phone. Now that people can search (a fair amount of) the extent of human knowledge from anywhere on their phones, I notice an overall decrease of retained knowledge. Why bother memorizing stuff when you can just call it up on a whim?

What skills will auto-magic cloud-based machine-vision desktop manufacturing devices begin to erode?
What techniques will be lost as they stop being handed down from master to apprentice?
Who will become renowned as a master craftsman for simply still being able to measure and cut without electronics?

  • a quick aside: existed for a while with absolute minimum html code required to display the words “hi mom”. Sadly, that page is gone, and the domain is now for sale… starting at $70k :unamused:

I can understand his point, like I have to think to remember my own phone number.
But being able to document thoughts - Death could no longer silence us. - Sagan
Written language was the catalyst of technology, and is a hallmark of civilization. The ability to pick up where another finished and progress further, I’m surprised that eluded such a thinker.


That ability exists in the absence of writing. Oral history isn’t as efficient though. When one’s world view is small (in terms of people/sum of knowledge/geography) efficiency isn’t a big deal.


I have become more and more convinced about Socrates’s truth. Perhaps it’s all the Heidegger I’ve read, with the forgetting of being and whatnot. Writing something down tricks us into thinking that the truth can be found in that static medium, ultimately solitary, experience of reading and writing. Truth as only revealed in an active conversation is much more human and humane. Hence, this forum’s purpose.


I could actually add a third group of people to that. I think a lot of people were offended by the marketing of the glowforge. It’s just another laser cutter with a fancy camera system and it’s only the head camera that’s new but it’s been totally sold as a revolutionary 3D printer. In jump a lot of people who are new to the technology and feel like it is totally new and innovative and sing the praises of the system when they don’t really know anything about it.
I’ve talked about it a lot at the various maker faires and hackspaces in the UK and that is the general feeling over here.


Pretty much in agreement with the assessment :slightly_smiling_face:

I almost skipped it because of the “3D Printing” hype but decided an alternative to Epilog with domestic (for me, not you) support was worth investing in.

Otherwise there’s nothing I’ve seen so far that is different enough from my other lasers to justify it. 3D engraving holds interest for me.

And this forum :slightly_smiling_face:


Fandom exist everywhere, some people go over the top with it and become very cruel and nasty and even flat out lie. But sometimes there is some truth in the fandom, you just have to sort through all the crap.

What really grinds my gears is when I do talk objectively and try and keep an unbiased tone, and they still attack at full force.

This forum has probably got the most level headed group of people around, which is part of why I love it, you have the fanboys/girls (me) and the ones who are objective. We still all manage to keep a civil conversation which I think is awesome! :smiley:

The interesting thing to me is that they are probably having this exact same conversation about us in their forums, but much less civil. :slight_smile:


It’s So-Crates Johnson!

1 Like

So well written. I am very impressed with GF Forum members and our ability to make a solid investment! LOL. All kidding aside, I wonder if there are those that have purchased a few units, as an investment to turn around and resell? We all know that happens with other high demand products. To be honest though, if I didn’t really want a GF ASAP, I would probably wait a year or so after first release, to let them work out the bugs. That’s why I’m not all upset about the delays, as I would rather have them get it right the first time, than fix it after the fact. I can barely deal with AI or PS, why in the heck would I want to buy something that requires me to reconfigure everything? I’m sure there are also others out there, that are not too happy that they might have paid thousands of dollars more than the cost of the GF, for a less desirable product. Happens to all of us though, if you live long enough. My husband and I paid $750 for our first VCR and we were so thrilled to get it. Actually, I think I paid $60 for the first VHS movie I bought (I think it was the Exorcist). Can’t even say I regret it, it was just how much it cost, for “new” technology.


I want a laser cutter that works out of the box, not a $800 Chinese laser that requires 30 hours of modifying days asking questions on a forum and another grand or so for necessary upgrades and pray that it works when done. I’d bet that once you calculate labor in it, most of those GF haters have spent a heck of a lot more on their machines than the price of a GF pro with filter.

I’ve built 3D printers before and had fun doing it, but felt I spent more time tinkering with the printer than actually printing with it. For the past 3 years, I’ve been selling 3D printing services, so any downtime with one of my printers means I’m losing money. I’m not paid to fix my printers. (And with two small kids at home and a full-time day job, that downtime could turn into days of a printer sitting while I find time to recalibrate or fix something). This is why I moved to prosumer 3D printers a couple of years ago. Yes, they are a lot more expensive, BUT there is a lot less downtime, so I recoup the cost of the printer much faster.