We have such a diverse group of makers here, and I’m very excited to see the myriad ways that we’ll all use this same tool. In seeing the various beta and sample projects, I’ve come to wonder how many people will create projects that are exclusively laser made, and how many will create “hybrid” projects that use a combination of lasered + handcrafted techniques?
When I initially purchased, I intended to use my Glowforge primarily for the latter. I’ve been doing leatherwork for roughly 25-ish years, and I take pride in the skills and workmanship that I’ve honed in that time. While there are certainly some things that a laser can do much faster and more precisely than a human hand, I want my Forge to enhance or expedite my craft, rather than replace my handwork entirely.
So for example, I hope the Glowforge will do most of my leather cutting and hole punching (which is tedious, and at times hard on my shoulder) - but I’d like to continue doing my carving, tooling, burnishing and such by hand. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not a total purist. I’d definitely like to add some of the fancy flourishes that only a laser can offer. But when I imagine how I’ll use this tool for my craft, I realize that it’s important to me to retain a handmade element. As in, obviously crafted by a human hand. Thus, I hope the lasered elements will showcase my skill, rather than replace the need for it.
On the flip side, while we’ve been waiting and jabbering in this forum, I’ve seen and imagined a lot of cool ideas that are almost entirely laser made. So now I’ve got a second list of projects (like household gadgets, storage, decor) that shouldn’t require much previous skill or handwork to complete. It tickles me that the Glowforge will enable me to actualize some of these ideas without having to invest years into learning yet another craft.
I’m curious where other craftsmen (craftspeople?) stand on this? Some of you have been woodworkers, carvers, etc for many, many years. Will your Glowforge replace your handwork entirely, or just help with some elements, or? There’s no righter wrong answer here, and no judgement either - I’m just curious to hear the different perspectives on this.