My First Try!



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 :slight_smile:

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.


OOh those are so cool :smiley: Love the “love trailer” coasters


What a wonderful idea! It looks like your hard work is really paying off–everything is so cute. Best of luck on your wedding!


That’s a great idea for the national parks table signs and I think they came out great.


Cute camper! :grin:


What a cool theme and very nice execution. They look great! I’m with you on the learning curve for software!


Most definitely my experience as well. And they’re all a little different. Nice as the hardware improvements are that GF is making, it’s all about the software in terms of making it a mass-market machine. That’s where they shine.

For now, always remember rule #1 when using a pay-by-the-hour laser - test your design in a small scale before committing to the full-size product.


Beautiful! And congratulations!


Lovely work @lauraevig! Which maker space did you use?


Thanks, @dan! I go to SoDo Makerspace. Close by and cheapest laser time I’ve found.


These look great!
I love it when people stop by and post little projects they’re able to do on locally available cutters! Unfortunately for me there isn’t anything local that I can book time on


Your project came out great, and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

And I’m so glad that you shared this info about SoDo Makerspace. There are some projects that I really need to tackle before GF ships, so I’ve been hoping to use that as an opportunity to get in some laser time/learning. I’m down in Olympia so FabLab Tacoma is really the only one I know about. While they’re wonderful, it’s still a bit of a trek, so a monthly membership doesn’t seem very cost effective. Even though SoDo is a little bit further, it might be worth the extra travel time for a space that offers a “per use” rate.


Yeah, @Drea SoDo is definitely a good place to go to try before you buy :smiley:

I will say though, I learned a lot on the clock that I wish I’d learned in the certification. I’m going back this week and finally think I understand how to use their software to engrave and cut the same piece without creating two separate files. I am going to try making my cut lines pure Cyan and adjusting the threshold on the raster image so they don’t show, then cut them in vector mode. I’ll update after!


Maker spaces are a great place to learn before you buy. I’m actually reading the forum while I laser stuff at our local maker space.


I’d buy a set of those coasters. A friend bought a camper just like it and fixed it up.


Any update (did we miss the wedding?)


There is a makerspace in Troy NY that I am a member and I am total cutting my teeth on there laser cutter. I have made 25 pieces and I so hooked can’t wait for my glowforge. Im going to kill it then, even thou im killing it now, my wood art is on a whole other level. So happy


So cool eh? I feel bad for people in places where there are no maker spaces. But even though I’m a member of my local one, I still find having one in the garage very useful when I don’t need the large format (in all 3 dimensions) of the MS laser.

I’m really looking forward to autofocus (& hoping for auto-defocusing under program/operator control) and variable power engraving.


Anything worth sharing?