On the evening of Thursday, August 24, Glowforge sent the shipping information request email. It went out after my usual office hours and I tend not to check email in the evening. Of course I had regularly checked for Glowforge emails all the time, but life was busy and I stopped caring. I knew it would come eventually and that would mean I would have to say goodbye to my dear friend MakForge.
I processed my inbox later in the afternoon on Friday and I use keyboard shortcuts to move through my inbox so I don’t even bother reading the subject lines. Boom, the golden email popped up. My heart sank and my stomach rose. Wow! Twitterpation!
So I read through the disclaimers and thought about it for a bit, then clicked through to begin the acceptance routine for getting my ForeverForge. Ha! Automatic address validation routines are evil. I have this problem regularly when trying to ship stuff to my office address, which doesn’t have USPS delivery. I get UPS deliveries every day, even got some Proofgrade from Glowforge earlier in the week, but no way would my address read valid.
So back and forth with UPS and Glowforge until I broke down and decided to use my home address. At least that would allow me to use UPS MyChoice and do some live tracking of the shipment.
In the meanwhile I had been working with support detailing my experience with my early model pre-release. Literally just not cutting it. The final response from support was that I would have to send it back. Sad. But check your inbox because you’ll be getting a production unit. Yay!
So last Sunday I tearfully (seriously, Kleenex and all) cleaned up my Glowforge. For some reason I thought of Six Feet Under and the mortuary scenes. While I was vacuuming things out and cleaning what I could, even to the point of Q-tips under the tube mounting brackets, I thought of just how well-made the Glowforge is. The glass still was in pristine condition and believe me, I used it all the time as a handy surface for putting stuff on. The case cleans up very well. Even the front garage door molded plastic comes clean after having been grimed up with so much soot.
I know the Glowforge has a protocol and all, but I seriously thought about suggesting that I get to try out a tube replacement on MakForge, to demonstrate that a regular user could do this!
I also thought of how easy it is to pack up the Glowforge and take it somewhere. I had thought of this before when I unpacking and packing up the production units that Glowforge made available for us at Bay Area Maker Faire. It’s a compact little machine. Yes, it’s got a wide footprint, but all in all it really can serve as an office machine. Yes, having someone help you lift it is pretty important, but now that I am familiar with this machine, I was able to put it in the box by myself without strain. Heck. When I dropped it off at a FedEx dropoff location, I carried the box by myself into the store. Easier than a bag of cement, a pack of roofing shingles or a bale of alfalfa (my standards for carrying things by myself).
The Glowforge is an amazing machine. You will be able to do so many beautiful things. All the static on the forum about alignment and non-Proofgrade material, overheating, pass-through alignment, settings are great issues to figure out, but I think that for most people, the Glowforge will deliver on exactly what you want. Yes, there are special use cases and very specific expectations. But having waded through this forum for the past two years, I’d say folks are going to be mighty pleased. And I don’t doubt that Glowforge will just keep improving things.
My suggestion for everyone waiting for a Glowforge: Pick one object that you want to make. Personalize it. Make it your own. Put it out on the forum for help and suggestions. Even if you only can do a sketch on a napkin, we will help your dream turn into reality. That one thing will justify all the waiting. The vast majority of people just aren’t familiar with laser made stuff. When they see it, they will be in awe. The precision will floor them. They will ask, “how did you do this” They will immediately ask you if you could make something else for them.
Glowforge is shipping you the best material that can be found. Do not discount that gift of Proofgrade. You will make things, take them out of the laser, and then give them away as finished items. Think about that! You will be equipped right off the bat to make super stuff.
I know there are units that do not function. I just feel terrible for @Tom_A. He really has put so much energy into his forum participation. He is so passionate about this. But I know that Glowforge will make it right.
So enough of my cheer leading. I wish everyone well. Please, please jump in on the forum with good questions about design, process and whatever strikes your fancy. And those of you with Glowforges; post, post, post. Get those pictures up. It is always inspiring and helpful. Do not worry about feeling like a show-off or that you have nothing to say. The pictures will say it all.