Modifications for a GF

Hello all,
I have been 3D printing for a few years and I am always tinkering with my printer, adding things to make it perform better or faster or giving it different abilities. I am curious as to how modifiable the GF will be.
Lets say I get my basic model in and I am having a great time with it, 6 months go by and it is no longer in warranty… What if I cut a slot into the front and back to allow the pass-through ability to the basic model? will I be able to also add this into the software somehow? To possibly make it register as a pro-model with the software… other than the slots and the laser, the rest of the hardware is identical, correct?

Another modification I was thinking about would be cutting the bottom of the machine out. Lets say I have a 11" Cube and want to engrave the top of it, obviously it is too tall to stick in the GF, but if the bottom was removed from it, you would extend its abilities a lot! you would have to do something about fume extraction but that seems like it would be simple enough.

I can’t wait to see what awesome modifications and hacks you guys come up with!

I suspect the custom passthrough would work just like the pro model; while they can’t ever condone a modification like that, I think dan mentioned that you could use the same process to do cuts to a huge roll of say, leather, by unrolling, cutting, unrolling, and cutting.

Firstly I think the modding of a laser is a tad bit more dangerous than a 3d printer but if your confident go ahead.

The pro has different optics and cooling too. I doubt the basic model will get the access to the section of the GF software for working with passthrough (Doesn’t make much financial sense for them) but if they are nice then I don’t see why you couldn’t get it to work if they don’t differentiate basic from pro.

Adding a rotary attachment( if you drop the Z) would be cool. I’ve seen bending acrylic with defo used lasers if you have the Z space and use gravity to bend it.

im hoping for a really open approach. a lot of future ideas and innovations have come from other kickstarter projects after seeing what the community modified from the original. I mean the basic and pro have lots of component differences that should justify the price rather than artificially limiting it through software.
For me - once warranty expires id be interested in dropping the bottom from the machine for adding z-heigh. think rotary would be v difficult without the software to support. would maybe think about adding ethernet out of the back if possible too.

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Since the software is cloud-based, my guess is that the software will see that your machine is a basic unit and not give you access to options (like pass-through) that pertain to the pro unit.

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yeah i understand that they could do that. but making an artificial software limitation to stop something on the user end doesnt work out so well when others have attempted it. I think working with the maker space community to make the best machines possible would be in GF best interest. I mean look at FS lasers. Amount of bad press they got from the community after they started locking down. Its possible obviously. Im just arguing the other side as i think eventually this would be in everyones best interest

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The “passthrough functionality” is not really anything special with regard to the software. It’s going to be the same algorithms that allow the laser to finish cutting if you move a piece around.

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It could be a somewhat simple mod. almost as simple as decoupling the y motor and attaching it to a rotary device.

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My guess is that Glowforge themselves have plans for other models with expanded Z capabilities (with a corresponding expanded price point) in the future too. I have seen references to cost being a major factor in many of the decisions made for the launch models. My thoughts on one option would be to make it big enough inside for several honeycomb panels of varying thickness to stack in there, so we could adjust the Z incrementally as needed in a much larger range, while keeping the safety of an enclosed cabinet.

was thinking more difficult for the software guys - as it wont be supported out of the box.

possibly… I think it really depends on how the hardware works. If you take the belt off of the y stepper motor, and attach it to a rotary device it will just spin the object you are engraving instead of moving backwards. This could potentially be invisible to the software unless it is using the camera for positioning all the time and double checking that it is moving in the right direction. in that case you might have to put a mirror under the camera and the laser. I dont remember how the focusing works on this unit, but im hoping it can be fooled with a 45 degree mirror underneath it to focus on whatever is on the rotor.

Dan has stated here (Software common between pro and basic?) that the basic model will not have access to the software that supports the passthrough on the Pro model. I assume that their system will be able to detect the difference (firmware setting?). You would have to decide if you can get around that, or feel it is ethical to do so.

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ah dang. there goes the hope for that one. shame but cest la vie…

I’m not going to go this because I’m a wimp, but what about cutting out the bottom of the GF making the vertical depth higher and then making an adjustable platform underneath the GF. This way you could potentially use much bigger materials. Just an idea. :stuck_out_tongue:


I can foresee a good bit of this occurring.


Yeah, I think it would be a potentially worthwhile mod.

Yeah that’s been brought up a few times; I’ll be vaguely interested in it once enough people have done it that the process is straightforward. :wink:

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For sure. There’d be a lot of concerns to be addressed before I do it as well.

When I was doing my initial research into laser cutters I came across the Full Spectrum H line. One of the things that attracted me to them was that they have a removable floor and an available 3rd axis for doing round things. I ended up not buying one for various reasons, and then the Glowforge appeared on the scene. I definitely intend to investigate the various hacking possibilities once the warranty runs out!

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Definately. A removable (not just cut out and tossed) bottom would be quite useful. And a 3rd axis would be sweet.

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