Peek at the User Interface

Many would like access to the UI to learn it, seems like good use of the dead time, but I can understand their reluctance to allow thousands of people in to bang around in an interface that is still in development.
The UI is very intuitive, and it will be second nature very quickly. Without the machine there isn’t really anything you can do except click around a bit and there isn’t much to see. It’s pretty simple.

Here are some screen shots explaining some of the fundamentals. There are only two screens - Home and Bed.

Home screen with the provided files and a few I have saved there. This is where files you have printed or purchased will be stored. I tend to delete completed files unless I anticipate running them again, all are saved in the programs they were created in anyway.
Notice the 'Upload’ and ‘Trace’ at the top left. Upload a file or trace a drawn image on the bed.

Click a file and it is dropped on the bed screen to be sized, rotated, positioned and possible options listed on the left side bar. The side bar is where you can drag the thumbnails to be accomplished in any order. Operations are accomplished from the top down. In this case there are two, cut and engrave.

Notice on the upper left where the material was identified by the QR code. If no code was detected that will read ‘unknown material’.

Clicking on that presents the list you can choose from that @karaelena mentioned, so the code isn’t necessary.
You can also have any material in the bed and choose from the list, say, 1/8" hardwood and engrave slate with the presets for the chosen material. Edit; (adjusting for material thickness). You can also ignore any presets and choose to engrave, cut or score manually.
The presets are really for ease of use for beginners like me, after using the machine for a bit you quickly become familiar with the settings, and results and your intuition begins to take over so you want to experiment.
Edit; I forgot to mention the ‘Add Artwork’ where you can upload a PNG, JPG or GIF file that will be dropped on the bed screen with your other file. Add more, have a party!

If you use ‘uncertified material’ you are presented with a dialog that asks material thickness. This gives focus height. (if you wanted to defocus using :proofgrade: you would convert to manual and specify a height above the actual thickness).

once that is accepted you set the other parameters for the file.
Engrave Will allow ‘engrave by color’ for :proofgrade: 3 or 4 options depending on material, or set power/speed/LPI/number of passes for manual.
Cut power will be set for :proofgrade: and can be set manually (whether or not you are using proofgrade) where you can convert to engrave or score.
score will offer depth options for :proofgrade: or power/speed/number of passes and focus height in inches can be set manually.

clicking on the drop down arrow next to ‘Manual cut’ gives those options.

Engrave options

This is from an inexperienced user, so apologies for anything I failed to make clear.
That is essentially it. Pretty simple stuff, and a tribute to the designers to make this laser accessible and easy to use. As Dan said “make it not suck”, which they definitely did. :sunglasses:

The UI is simple compared to the design software, so don’t concern yourself with that. Worry more about the software - Inkscape and Gimp in my case. That’s where I hit a wall, not the UI.
Seriously, you will have this down in no time. That’s the magic of glowforge.


Thank you – very cool to see.


Grabbed for the tutorials. (I’m a tutorial hound.) :wink:


Thank you for posting these! I’m glad to see the home screen which seems like it can be used as a work que. Thanks again for posting!


I forgot to mention the ‘Add Artwork’ where you can upload a PNG, JPG or GIF file that will be dropped on the bed screen with your other file. Add more, have a party!


Ah cool. This would be a good place for a discussion on some of the UI aspects. I like some of the new updates to the design browsing page, but for the most part I think it needs a good bit of work.

The - SHOW MORE - button is a trend in web design that really should only be used in very limited places, like this forum, or some blogs. The problem with the show more button, is that after using your glowforge for a short period of time, you will have amassed enough designs that finding anything older than a few days/weeks will become incredibly painful. Imagine having 3000 designs uploaded, and the one you want is somewhere at the very end, so you have to click show more 300 times before getting to it. UX hell.

Im hoping this isnt the final iteration of this page. This page should have pagination, sorting, a search, a setting to allow you to choose how many designs are shown per page, and some sort of Organizational System (folders, tagging/filtering). Lets hope thats something that will be added soon.


Thanks for the tutorial! Nice to see the layout.


Without folders I’m finding it’s really painful to find the design I’m looking for when I revisit. I’m deleting everything that I’m not currently pursuing for iterations or ones I use frequently (cut lines, etc) and relying on my PC’s file system to keep track of things.

I really want to be able to save the settings for jobs I’ve run and then a folder system to keep them in the cloud. Otherwise it’s my spreadsheet and Windows file system.


Another cool/very useful idea would be a column off to the side that lists your previous jobs that you can click on and it opens them with all of the settings you used on that job along with the placement/sizing/rotation of the design where it was when the job was run.


Good point @takitus. And I agree, good arena to throw ideas into.
Considering the eloquence of this thing, I would be disenchanted if the final iteration left me clicking ‘show more’ twenty times.
Folders, yeah. That would be great.


Regarding the storage capacity of an account, how many files have you had in there? I wonder if the ‘show more’ configuration wouldn’t be a reflection of them not wanting each user to have hundreds of files in there. It certainly would be a deterrent.
I had asked previously what the allotted space is and don’t remember an answer.


This would be so useful for me! I tend to fall down the rabbit hole, doing numerous iterations of a design, each with subtle tweaks … and for as much as I try to take detailed notes on what I was doing, sometimes I miss something or get distracted by a family member/phone call/life. A “history” file would be so very helpful.


Right now I have 64 of my own things in there and another 10 or 12 of theirs. On my 24" monitor I get 8 across by 2 rows per “more” button click.


Thanks for posting this! It’s been great to see all the cool things folks have been making, but we’ve been missing the “how” have they been made.

I can’t wait to jump in and mess around with the interface.


Im sitting at 178 currently.

[quote=“PrintToLaser, post:11, topic:7753”] I wonder if the ‘show more’ configuration wouldn’t be a reflection of them not wanting each user to have hundreds of files in there. It certainly would be a deterrent.

I would hope its not there as a deterrent. There are much better ways to manage this than by providing a poor user experience. They can have any number of limits which they can show your current status of. Age limits, total file size limit, file count limit, etc. I think its just an implementation of a trend thats wandered into areas it doesnt belong.


Were I designing the selection page, I would simply make it the catalog, and give every user their own private catalog where they can sort/search their own designs; then give them the ability to easily publish to their public catalog when ready. I would also build in subfolders/compartments and versioning from the beginning, for users with a lot of designs, as well as the ability to share designs and/or folders with other Glowforge users (for when you want to share something but don’t want it to be public and don’t want to ship files around.)

But I’m sure Glowforge’s product folks are all over this already; I suspect what’s there is just a quick-and-dirty placeholder for what will eventually be the catalog.


Well the concerning part about it is that they just recently had something a little more functional that they replaced with this. It previously had pagination where you could move through pages or pick first/last page, or jump by increments of 10 pages. So the fact that they took the effort to put this in place leaves me wondering


Great writeup!


Excellent walk-through! Very clear and concise.


Thanks for putting this all in one place!

One thing that I think could be helpful is an on-screen (at least PC screen) list of the shortcut keys when you are placing your designs and artwork. That big, grey area next to the photo of the bed would be a good spot.