Have you considered starting a category specifically about materials? I find myself frequently having questions about a specific material I’m working with, or a place I might purchase a certain type of material; these posts seem pretty scattered as is, but I think having a category where all these posts are collected could be pretty useful.
I am kinda torn on my thoughts about this as a category.
Obviously, information about materials is useful. So that is the point for encouraging more such information.
My opinion against it would be: What would people talk about in each thread?
I assume each thread would be for a specific material. So you could say the material is or is not safe for using in a laser. Then if it is safe, discuss where to get it. Maybe give a few ideas for projects you can make which showcase the material? You could post the settings that work nicely for cut and engrave. A few images to show results.
So I suppose some discussion could happen. But it seems more fitted to a wiki style list of properties than a forum style (discussion based) framework.
Well, sometimes I think it could work the other way around. You could describe the properties that you’re trying to achieve and people can offer suggestions for material. For example, “I need something that’s sturdy even at less than .063” thickness or less, and is flexible."
You would probably offer some more details in the post, but I think it could be a good spark for discussion when you have an idea for a part of a project but are unsure what material to use.
eh I am not really in love with this. You manage data in a database not in 5000 threads
I think it’s sort of funny that people think discussing materials is solely down to facts and figures, when there are loads of engrossing discussions about hinges and dotted lines and edge lit whatevers and vegan leather and all sorts of stuff. I’m sure when people start stocking up there will also be discussions about storing and organizing those materials. Not to mention glues, finishing, paints, dyes, enamels, and whatever else people want to do to the material they’re using. Theyre all discussions people are already having, they’re just not in one category.
There’s so much more to materials and supplies than a checklist of what’s laserable and what will kill your face. I don’t know if it needs its own category, because I’ve never found the categories to be all that helpful in locating information (I always seem to find helpful stuff scattered about rather than confined to its designated area), but I definitely think there’s enough to discuss.
So I’ve been working with the website Shapeways.com for a few years now and one of the biggest sections in their forums is Materials. In it they discuss not only the different materials they offer, but also the pros and cons of each material and how it can be used in 3d printing. I think a whole section focusing on Materials would be awesome because even though most people will stick with Acrylic and wood there will be many brave and adventurous souls out there who want to experiment and push their GF to the limit. Also there will be MANY MANY new laser-smiths out there who will be using a laser cutter for the first time, and searching these forums can sometimes be a bit daunting for someone who doesn’t have good computer skills or is new to the forums. What’s more, it would be the perfect place to have a simple document that has a nice list of the big “DO NOT USE” materials that people repeatedly ask about.
I think a glowforge wiki is a great idea for this. Each material could have it’s own page where tips and tricks can be collected over time and at the same time provide lists of where the different materials are available for different countries.
I actually think that a community maintained wiki might be good because there will be materials that glowforge as a company will just be unable/unwilling to provide us info on.
Great idea! I’m leery of category explosion, so for the time being I’m only opening up categories when needed, not before. I expect a big refactoring when we start shipping in volume. At that point, I’ll see if it makes sense to have a material-dedicated category.
Thank you! I appreciate everyone’s thoughtful responses. I understand things like this can be a deceptively complicated issue, so I appreciate that the forum creates a variety of opinions and perspectives to consider before making a decision, that also has a keen eye towards the future.