This brings up some issues I’ve been most concerned about waiting to hear about delivery. What materials can I safely prepare to use with the machine when it arrives? (I apologize if this has been addressed before, but the forum isn’t the easiest resource to navigate outside of the pinned topics)
First- when will the Proofgrade market be set up?
Second- does using materials other than Proofgrade, Inventables and Laserbits affect the warranty?
Finally- while I’ve tried to educate myself on the general issues related to different materials online, there seem to be a few absolutes (NEVER cut PVC or materials with chlorine, ALL Proofgrade materials can be considered safe) and a very broad grey area.
(This is a nice chart I’ve found that is helpful but raises as many questions as it answers http://atxhackerspace.org/wiki/Laser_Cutter_Materials)
I understand legally why GF doesn’t want to comment on any material it does not have a hand in manufacturing (or observing manufacturing), but it would still be nice if they could create or link to additional resources for us to understand the issues in better detail to educate ourselves.
For instance, plywood. I wouldn’t ask GF to tell me to use or not use plywood generally, but think they could reasonably explain some of the issues safety experts might have with it: They contain glue, it is nearly impossible to know which type of glue they contain, which may affect the results. But what are the range of risks that glue pose? Will it release gas that kills me and/or the glowforge, burst into flame, or just produce a lousy cut? The last issue I can live with, the first, by definition, I can’t.
The materials sections I’ve found in this forum (http://community.glowforge.com/t/materials-and-suppliers/975) have a lot of handy possible materials but none of them are proofgrade and therefore according to the quoted section above, pose uncertain, unspecified risks.
As an artist, the entire utility of the machine will be determined by the materials available for me to use. I expect that even if limited to proofgrade materials that utility is worth it, but if I have to resources to educate myself to expand that arsenal it will increase my utility (and the pool of people who can make use of it).
To that end, anything GF can do to assist would be appreciated, whether that be a more robust, pinned section of the forum for users to share experiences (or maybe even a wiki), or easy to locate links to outside sites that do the same. Even just a list of why certain materials might be risky would be useful.
As it is, without even the Proofgrade materials listed yet I am having a hard time envisioning what capabilities I will have when I receive the machine and an ever growing list of questions that I’m not sure where to find answers.
(A quick list of some of these-
Is masking tape safe? Only certain brands?
Paper is very vague. Some papers contain glue. Is there a minimum thickness needed? Is magazine paper safe? Newsprint? Paper with ink?
If acrylic is safe, is acrylic medium? If acrylic medium is safe is acrylic paint safe? Does it depend on the pigment of the paint (I can’t imagine one should cut cadmium or lead based materials)?
If you know the paper is safe and the glue is safe, is it still safe to cut through layers of paper glued together?)
I apologize for the length and number of questions, and if this isn’t the proper place for this, I have tried to find answers to these but have had trouble finding what I need to feel comfortable (or even something that will tell me that my basic assumptions are wrong).
Thank you for your updates and general transparency during this process. It has been appreciated.