I was really looking forward to getting my Glowforge in time to make a few projects for my wedding when it was originally shipping in June. With the last shipping update, I admit I was pretty bummed. I signed up to take a class at a local Maker Space to see if I could make a few decor items in time for the big day in August and make sure I really wanted my own versus renting space on an industrial laser cutter. I am so glad I did! This girl can’t get enough time on the machine (although my wallet feels differently as it is billed by the minute). I learned a lot about what to do (and not do!), why user-friendly software will be a game-changer, and how it is really important to take the time to test different settings for your project.
As I am planning a camping-themed wedding, I tried out a little teardrop trailer cut along with some National Park signs that will be used as our table signs. The machine is the Full Spectrum P-SERIES 48x36 CO2 Laser. My illustrator files needed quite a bit of work to be taken into Inkscape without errors. I’m pretty sure I spent more time adjusting files than actually cutting. When I got to it, the trailer cut was a bit light and not as sharp as I’d like. Then, the RetinaEngrave software kept engraving my cut lines and then cutting them even though they were separate vector layers. This caused it to take a really long time, in turn costing me a small fortune. It wasn’t until I cut 3 of the National Park signs that someone helped me and showed me how to optimize my settings so it would go quicker yet maintain quality. I think they look great. I went back and forth between using my Silhouette Cameo machine to cut out stencils to paint the signs versus engraving/cutting them, but the end product is so nice that I think it’s worth it. I’m going back later this week
All in all, my first experience was really exciting and I’m so glad there are so many maker options in Seattle. The software was more challenging than operating the machine. I’m going to do a bit more research so I can continue to sharpen my skills before I get my Glowforge! I can’t wait to be able to test all different materials and settings for my designs without feeling like I’m on the clock.