New Glowforge User and I Just Need Some Words of Encouragement!

Hey GF community! This is my very first post because I’ve only had my GF for one day! Problem is, I’m already feeling some regerts (spelling mistake intended). I feel like I made a rash decision and bought a GF Pro and the Compact Filter without doing enough research. After paying full price for everything, I realized that they offer $500 referral bonus. So missed out on that, which hurts a bit. Then I realized that a new GF Air Filter is being released in a few months and I just bought the Compact Filter. So I feel like I paid $1000 for a machine that will be outdated in just a few months. I’m afraid that they will eventually discontinue the CF filters or make the new machine better/more affordable and that stings a bit too. When I reach out to Customer Service about info on the new filter and how it will compare to the one I now own, they are not able to share any information! They say they don’t know the price of the new machine or the price of the replacement filters or how it will compare to the CF, they know nothing. What? How is that possible? What they do know is that if I want to return the totally unopened CF and wait for the GF Air Filter, then I have to pay the shipping (which I’m fine with) and a 30% restocking fee (which hurts). Since I’m all out of money, that just won’t work for me. I guess I’m reaching out to all of you because I want to be excited about this huge purchase again but all I feel is bamboozled at the moment. Anyone else feeling similar? Any advice? Any puppy pics?

On another note, I still think the laser is awesome and the community you guys have built is pretty great, so I wanted to pat you all on the back and let you know that I appreciate all the info you take the time to share. If you’ve read this far into my woes me story, can you share some tips or point to some articles in the community you think is perfect for beginners? I’m trying to read as much of these forum topics as possible, but there are a ton! What do you wish you knew when you were just starting out??? THANK YOU SO MUCH!


Unfortunately we don’t know anything more about the actual filter. I just got the notice that my filter is ready to ship and the only thing I can tell you about it is that the size is about the same and it weighs 45 pounds and has wheels. I have heard that it filters a little better.

I do not think that there is much risk of the CF filters going out of stock. The CF may be removed for sale and replaced with the new filter, but Glowforge doesn’t strike me as the type of company that will leave customers hanging. I was a first-day pre-order, so I have been around a little while.

I do encourage you to look for a way to vent since the filters, all of the filters, are going to be expensive. I use my machine mostly for acrylic which is much easier on the filter, but users are reporting that wood products fill up the filter within as few as 20 hours of operation. If you plan to use your machine for wood, be prepared to budget for the filters or look for a vent, or look at a third party filtering system.

The GF is a great machine, as long as you understand the limitations of purchasing a hobby level machine. If you plan to use it for business, please expect it to fail at some point and have a backup plan. This means when you have a belt wear out or there is a problem with your internet or a server outage you don’t have to panic since you have the backup plan in place already.

I have enjoyed using my GF, even if I don’t get a lot of use out of it for personal stuff, but it has greatly increased my ability to make things quickly and accurately. Worth every penny for me!


I’ve been using a Glowforge for 3 years this month, I’ve had the Compact Filter for about ten months, and no regrets so far. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m going to shout a warning at you now…don’t freak out…


Draftboard is going to clog the filter. Draftboard clogs all filters this size.

And because you really did make a good choice, (it’s scary at first though…I know), here’s a cute puppy pic:


You might be able to retroactively apply a referral code. It couldn’t hurt to ask!


Oh and here’s a list of what you will want to read to get started…they are short and fill in a lot of the gaps.


I’m with @geek2nurse here… EVERYONE gets a referral code… And if you put something in their cart and don’t pull the trigger they even send you a random code for the discount within 24 hours (that’s how I got my discount). I would at least fight a little bit for that discount. It’s not insignificant.


This is so true.

A startup cost for a tool is one thing, the cost of consumables is another kettle of fish.

Let me put it this way… If I had to own a filter to own a laser cutter, I wouldn’t own a laser cutter. And I really like my laser cutter.

@tlacy , think really hard about how you could vent outside.


Stop beating yourself up over what you paid–if you’re able to get them to accept a code now, that’s great, but it’s still a great machine at a great value. And @Jules said it really well about the filter. As with any device/machine/car–if only I waited I could have gotten this feature!! At some point we have to jump off the merry-go-round and be happy with our decision.

Good thing is that you can choose to turn the filter on or off, so materials that do clog the filter quickly, and best to not use with the filter, do set up outside venting. Also good if you get delayed with replacing the filter.

Follow tutorials and advice for pinning materials flat, and have fun–and there are so many helpful folks on the forum, don’t be afraid to ask a question or for advice (though many issues, do search first, as most issues may already be addressed).

Relax & enjoy your unit! Once you get started, hopefully you’ll have so much fun using it, you’ll forget about the shouldacouldawoulda…


Zelda says “no regerts, look forward, look up… look! A stick!”


This is great advice :laughing:


I waited almost 2 1/2 years for my basic, and have had it for 2 1/2 years. So far my ONLY regret has been not getting the pro! :slight_smile:


Pinning materials flat? Will material tend to curl or something? The only material I’ve worked with so far is the draftboard, doing the gift of good measure and snap and store box. I do plan on working mostly with wood in the future though.


I’ve got a window in the room the laser is in. Luckily, I read about how the draftboard is terrible for my filter before I cut my first practice piece, so I’ve been venting out of the window so far. I plan to work mostly with wood, so I will probably us the window vent most of the time, and I have the CF just in case.

Thank you for this info. I have reached out to customer service to see if they can retroactively add it. Fingers crossed!

Thank you!!

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Thanks for the great info Ben. Looking forward to your views on the GF Air Filter when you receive it. I’ve only been on these forums for a day or two, but I’ve already read several of your tips and POVs throughout these forums and all of it is very helpful. You are definitely a straight shooter and I appreciate that.


Yes, most materials either don’t arrive perfectly flat, or can absorb moisture and warp a bit… So these are a fabulous free design:
hold down pins

Also magnets can be great for thinner material (though don’t get super strong ones or too close to the path of the beam, as the magnetic field can affect the beam itself).

When the material doesn’t contact the bed tightly, the gaps will not only cause more flash/scorching, but can lead to incomplete cut-through. If you’re in a high humidty season/area, you’ll want to slow down your speed a bit to compensate for that, too.

I don’t work with wood myself (apart from a sign or display board), but there are loads of others who do, and may have already posted great storage ideas as well as settings for different species, too.


Yes, I saw those in the free design. Didn’t realize how necessary they are, so I will make them tonight. As for humidity, I’m in Chicago, so it’s definitely humid in the summer, but cold and dry now. I will remember this when the weather warms back up again. Thanks!

A while back I pulled some tips together:

Have fun when it arrives!


Then I would return that filter, eat the fees, and never look back. What is the “just in case” that would make you want to use a $250 filter cartridge?