Makerspace training video

Hey Glowforgers, I need some feedback.

I run the makerspace “DIYcave” in Bend, Oregon and we purchased a Glowforge for our members to use. Part of the challenges that we face (beyond tracking use, material control, restraining admin permissions, etc) is training. We realized early on that people are going to need one-on-one training to get safely up and running on the Glowforge, but a two hour class every week was beginning to become a real bummer.

To lighten our load we created this training video to get the basics covered. At this time our intention is to have people watch this video while taking notes, then take a written test to measure retention, with a one-on-one proficiency/training burn series to cap it off. That allows us to do a 20 minute series of tests and get someone up and running. Plus, any of our volunteers who have become Glowforge certified can administer the proficiency test, unlike the training which was only done by one person (me.)

The video is about as complete as I am going to take it for now (going to change the thumbnail, stuff like that) but before I start having people watch it and get trained I would love this community to get a chance to provide feedback. Remember: we are a low cost, mostly volunteer organization, trying to create a base video to get properly started on the Glowforge, so there is not much chance of us going for better lighting/sound/etc., but glaring errors or vital information omissions are important to us.

This video is unlisted, so this link is the only way to get to it for now. Without further ado:


Man, you’re brave! :smile:

I would add in a statement on what to do in case of flameup or something that gets out of control. (Open the lid for a second to kill the print.)

Also as it’s a Pro model, I’d cover the basic safety information on using the passthrough slot safely if you plan to allow them to use it that way and you aren’t planning to supervise the initial uses.


Depending on how things are set up, you may want to include the URL for the Glowforge app. Also, I find the music really distracting. You may already have this planned, but I’d recommend running the video by people who have no laser cutting experience for feedback. I suspect that some may be overwhelmed by all of the numbers in the beginning. They may make more sense in the end, especially kerf, which you can actually show with the final cut piece. Great training, though. Our maker space training was about 20 minutes with a verbal test.

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Wow, great job!

I’d add a comment explaining how to stop the Forge in an emergency. (Lift the lid.)

And the ability to add a file after opening the file in the software.

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At 1:30 you say the max thickness for marking or engraving is 1/2" which you later contradict at 1:56 when you note the max thickness is 2". After stating it’s 1/2" you come back and say it’s a half inch for cutting so you may have confused watchers if they’re taking notes.

At 2:05 you state that the kerf is .008" but that should be qualified - assuming yours is (mine happens to be .007" in 1/8" Baltic Birch), you might want to mention that it’s dependent on material & thickness as you’re likely to find that to be true - especially for acrylic & those 1/2" cuts you mention.

At 2:38 you mention a “several minutes startup”. That might indicate an issue with yours or your setup. Mine is usually under a minute from power on to head returning to the home position and the GFUI showing “ready”. I’d also close that section of the video with the head returning - as it is, it looks like the head comes forward toward the center when it’s ready not back to the left corner. Someone might be confused when it doesn’t stop where your video clip shows it.

At 3:55 you show a project loaded but the bed image is of your trace. You might want to reshoot this so you don’t have the trace image on the bed - not sure if it’s the paper still there or just hasn’t rescanned but it might be confusing with the gray elements of the new design for. I’d also either eliminate the cause of the warning that popped up or mention it and explain what’s up with it. I’d also get rid of those two gray filled rectangles. They don’t seem to logically belong to the immages underneath so it may be confusing.

At 4:03 you mention using hold downs or magnets if the material is not flat but you don’t say how to determine “flat” like tapping to find flex between the material & bed, or how to use magnets (including warning not to use too thick a set that might get knocked by the head).

At 4:36 you mention the 3 “settings” and then talk about cut/score/“etch”. Those are operations and speed/power/focus are settings. Further, since the GFUI doesn’t refer to “etch” someone is going to need to infer that the GFUI’s “engrave” is the same as what you called “etch”.

At the 5:50 mark you start talking about GFUI use like placing the design or using the “rotate handle” without any context - how to do that is not necessarily intuitively obvious and you should show in the GFUI how to do these things.

At the 6:00 mark you talk about placing the image in the preview window but your graphic says “menu”.

At 7:28 after you’ve mentioned possible problems like fire or melting (but without mentioning how to deal with them) you remove the piece without checking to see if the piece was cut through. One of the most useful tips is to check that the cutout will come out before moving the sheet (so you can resend the cut operation without disturbing alignment and wasting the material).

Not sure what the written & proficiency tests entail but I would expect this won’t necessarily prepare someone to pass - or if it does, then they’re not really proficient as you’re leaving large parts of the actual execution of your process undemonstrated. I’d take a look at the GF user manual and initial projects to see what they include for instructions on first projects.

Good start though. I train (stand-up class & hands-on demonstration) at our local Makerspace and it’s a 2hr class - I’ve thought about recording a video version for online use but haven’t done it. I think it’s a good idea though after seeing yours.


Wow, these are fantastic! So nice to have a fresh set of eyes looking at this.

I already am figuring how to edit some of these suggestions in, or what I might re-shoot to get closer to what we are trying to achieve.

I feel like jamesdhatch did a pretty thorough catch of the fine points, and the previous posters added great ideas on what else to cover, but I am always open to more. Anyone else want to chime in?