Prometheus 6 month progress report


#1

Has it been 6 months already? Yes, I guess it has been. I got the email from @Rita in late Feb asking if I’d like a PRU to experiment with until my forever unit is ready. Well like most everyone else that gets any type of email from Rita, I answered with a giddy yes very quickly so I have had Prometheus here with me since early March.

On the one hand it is unfair to write about a PRU now that there are production units in the wild but on the other hand, it is a data point on what we should see for longevity with our forever units.

6 months and she has cut something more days than not. From 3 hour engraves to quick 50-second cut outs. It just works. I wish all the software magic was complete but even lacking that the :glowforge: is in a class by its self. The first true prosumer laser cutter.

I went in looking to make my hobbies at least cash flow neutral, I have not completely achieved that yet but we are well on our way. I have sold enough to pay for all the materials that I have used on personal projects. In the hands of some of you truly creative people, it will be a real money maker add this to your other maker tools.

So thank you @dan and all at :glowforge: for letting me test this for you and I’m definitely in for my forever unit when the time comes.


#2

I am compelled to agree. Got the email from Rita on March 31st, and have been enthralled ever since.
The machine is robust and a workhorse. I did a job that required a thousand tokens engraved both sides, and rendered all of them perfectly.
My exploration across materials has been a journey down the rabbit hole into wonderland. :crazy_face:

I have seen the machine improve over the 5 months I have used it, and my experience with support and the :proofgrade: team has been yet another assurance that this company and their product is something special.

Words really do a poor job of expressing my gratitude to Glowforge for allowing me to participate in this project. For all that the team has accomplished so far, you have nailed it - and I look forward to the continued evolution of the coolest tool I ever owned.
Ladies and gentlemen of Glowforge, Well Done! :heart_eyes:


#3

I’ve been a bit more conservative than some of you guys but yes, this and design space, two rabbit holes with no observable bottom.


#4

I have to agree with all that’s being said. It is better in almost every way than I expected, as good as I hoped in many and not very many places where it can still frustrate me :slight_smile:

Like I said before - the folks who have never used a laser won’t know half of what is wondrous about this machine. Most of the time it just works. Most of when it doesn’t, it’s me and that would be solved by some more robust documentation (not expected in a PRU or early days of product release). The remainder are either inherent to lasers or just an issue with the various other components (Corel Draw, Inkscape, etc). Since I’ve chosen to use CorelDraw, issues I get from design software that don’t exist in the Inkscape to Glowforge path don’t count (although I am looking forward to the time when GF is staffed sufficiently to natively support CD & AI).

My K40 hasn’t been touched in forever and the Redsail has only had a couple of things done where I needed the 18x24 bed size or the 9" depth. Seriously, only a couple - out of the hundreds of things I’ve done since April.


#5

Gosh dang it all, between you guys and @cmreeder , I’m feeling like I ought to do a status report too. :smile:

I love it. It keeps getting better all the time - I had a “tight-fit” situation this morning to use up a remnant, and it squidged in there perfectly - the second cut was spot on with a microscopic hair-thin leftover between the cutouts, so it was a usable cut.

I’m so terribly impressed that the Glowforge guys have delivered everything that they have so far, I hope to God they are not getting fed up with the constant begging from us, (and I hope we didn’t run Tony off, because he really did fantastic work on this. Most people might not realize.) The remaining items (with the exception of the passthrough alignment) are just lagniappe. Not having them isn’t slowing me down a bit.

It takes a little longer to create things in 3D, but the ideas keep popping up left and right - it hasn’t gotten even close to being boring yet. (Poor Rick.)

So yeah - status is big green go. :smile:


#6

Here’s a happy hedgehog for you, for slipping in “lagniappe.”

92F77D6B-29D0-46DD-BF01-DA734C5399C9-49392-00001290C3B377BE


#7

Squeeeee! It’s the little nose lick that gets me every time! :smile:


#8

Not sure I agree with that :smile: Some of it has slowed me down - might not have stopped me but when they deliver the full complement of their promises we’ll be doing more things faster than we can now. It’s just that we can do more now faster than the alternatives that might make it seem that the remaining items are more optional happy making than necessary. I still want all that they advertised :slight_smile:

And more :wink:


#9

Puh! Talk to the hand! :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed::smile:
The hold up is still the design process. I spend hours/days working something up, walk over, drop the file in and the blasted thing spits it out before I can blink.

(Fresh off of a 3D printing background though, so I’m used to prototyping a six inch object in eight to ten hours, not eight to ten minutes.)

Beauty may well BE in the eye of the beholder. :smile:

(And…Oh! Frick & Frack! Just blew a design. Tolerable but not acceptable. Dadgummit and crudmuffins!) :angry:


#10

THIS, this so much. even when I have screwed up I tend to know about it right away not way down the road.

Having a pretty good 3d printer has eliminated a lot of the bed adhesion and leveling problems but it is still hours.

CNC is great for larger things and sometimes as quick as the :glowforge: but you always have to worry about hold down/clamping.

I know, practice, practice, practice but I so wish I could design good stuff quicker and better. I have SO many cool ideas but it takes me days, sometimes weeks to get them to perfected files.


#11

But how much faster will you be when you can get the dynamic autofocusing working so you don’t need to fuss with getting the right power/speed that works across a warped piece (or a curved one)? Or how about those 3D engraves? I expect that to be much better. When the Pro arrives there will be big time differences between having to setup a file like you did with the AI puzzle picture and indexing against something in the machine vs having the automatic handling? Or when you no longer have to make the adjustment for the 1/4" focus tolerance (mine is two mouse clicks left and one up)…

Then of course there’s all the suggestions that have gone into the hopper - like the ability to catalog designs so you’re not paging through screen after screen, direct ingestion of DXF from AI (I might go back to using AI if that happens), a PG setting for engraves to be filled by PG veneer (saw that one today, great suggestion), etc.

Not saying I couldn’t live without them all (heck, I am) but I am saying they’re more than just a bonus.


#12

Not any faster. :grinning:

I’m not trying to be cute, none of those things will actually save me any time. Here’s why:

  1. I already do my own focusing, ignoring the defaults. I’ve run a lot of tests, I can judge to a hair whether it’s going to cut through or not, and I actually have memorized the settings that work better than the defaults for Proofgrade stuff because I’ve run so much of it. Since I prefer to over-ride anyway to get better results - I don’t gain by using their numbers.

  2. I don’t do many 3D engraves. (That might change later but right now I’m focused on other things.) Granted other people might benefit by it so that is a good addition.

  3. Yeah, they do need to come up with something for the passthrough alignment. The option I listed in the tutorials is just a stop-gap until they can get it done, and it’s pretty specific to use on something like a puzzle. I don’t have one yet so that was just thinking off the cuff.

  4. I don’t have to make any adjustments with mouse clicks, because I generally embed the image into the SVG file and have cutlines or whatever else I need included. The relationship between the parts is always blindingly accurate. As far as optical placement on the material…I’ve been lucky with this PRU. It is right on the nose, unless they are updating something and then it can get a little out of whack for a while. But that problem is eventually going to go away when they quit messing with it.

  5. As far as the rest of the hopper items, I agree that some of them would be very nice to have as upgrades down the road. I don’t need for them to catalog or group my items for me, because I keep the working copies and a listing of the files here. If I want to recut a file, I just drag it over and drop it again, and if I make changes to a file, I want to make sure that the one I have locally is the most recent version. It would be nice to have a direct link between AI and the GFUI, but it’s pretty quick the way they have it now. It’s just as easy to Save As an SVG as a DXF from AI, and I like to take exported DXF files into AI to check them anyway. (Catch a lot of double lines and whatnot that way.)

  6. Yes, they definitely could add an engrave setting for veneer inlay. As an off-the-cuff measure, I find that an engrave setting of 80/600/270 per pass generally removes from 0.9-1.0 mm of material from all of the Proofgrade plys, so it’s fairly easy to do a quick calculation depending on how deep you want to cut your groove. (The Maple is the hardest to get through, and only nets 0.9 mm.) If you are working with something else that doesn’t have the hard finished surface, you’ll get a bit more material removed.

So anyway, remembering that one number helps me with cutting grooves and things with engraves, but if they want to provide it for us, I’ve got no problem with it. :grin:

I know other folks want a lot of these things really badly, so I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. I would like to see a 3-point alignment one day, but I can wait a while for it, since most of what I’m doing just doesn’t require it, and I’m not doing much dragging artwork in and dropping it on premade items. (So maybe V2. Besides they might surprise us, you never know.) :upside_down_face:

It’s all good. :blush:


#13

busted…off to Beyond the Manual you go.


#14

No problem, I’ll move it. :smile:


#15

I don’t have a Glowforge yet, so my comment may be totally ignorant, but it struck me as odd to hear that there are settings that work better than the defaults for Proofgrade. I would have assumed that the defaults for PG would be the best choice. Can you speak more to that?


#16

Two different things going on on that. First, Jules and I have pre production units still so our settings will be off, we were warned of that. Second, “best” is somewhat subjective. When you get yours the defaults should work great but over time and with experience you may find that you get a finish or a kerf more to your liking by tweaking the settings a bit.


#17

Oh yeah, Mark got it…I’m using a PRU. Different animal for us. :grinning:

In addition, I live in an ultra high humidity area, and everything pretty much warps if you store it for longer than a week. My settings are geared to take that into account. :wink:


#18

And “best” of course depends on the effect you are looking for. For instance Michelangelo probably would regard Monet’s brush strokes as not the best technique but for pointalism it’s exactly the technique to cause that effect which Monet wanted


#19

Exactly. Basically just aiming for cutting through without charring. Sometimes mess with the cut profile as well, but usuallly not. :grinning: