Should I go for PRO according to my cutting area?

Hi! Experts on the forum!

I am thinking to cut some projects while I’m still waiting to my BASIC…(which will arrive on March 2018, if not delayed again…)
So, I still have time to decide should I upgrade to PRO or not.

Can anyone who has a PRO give me some advice according to my cutting area?
I have two hardwood or plywood to cut:
A size: 720x260x3mm
B size: 890x260x3mm

Please see the design below:
for A, I need to cut the black rectangle area which is 160x20mm, and orange ones for 300x20mm
for B, I need to cut the black rectangle area which is 245x20mm, and orange ones for 300x20mm

It states on the “Glowforge Tech Specs” page

  • Maximum material depth: 18" (455 mm) for Basic; unlimited for Pro
  • Maximum material width: 20″ (515 mm)
  • Cutting area: 11.5″ (290 mm) deep and 20″ (515 mm) wide
  • Maximum material height: 2″ (50mm)
  • Maximum material height with tray: 0.5″ (13mm)
  • Maximum Cut & Engrave height: 0.5″ (13mm)

I have NO CLUE about the unlimited material depth for Pro.
So, the questions are:

  1. Can “Basic” or “Pro” cut the black area for design A & B?
  2. Can Pro cut the orange rectangle(300x20mm) for design A & B?

Truly appreciate your suggestion! It means a lot to me!


Is the desire to have the pieces that have been cut out, or to have the larger pieces with the holes cut out in those locations?

The basic can make all of the cuts IF you cut the source material into pieces that will fit in the bed. In that case, you are cutting them with the long direction going across the width of the Glowforge bed.

If you don’t want to cut the source material (I.e. having the boards with the holes cut out is important) then you need the pro.

In that case you’ll be feeding the boards through the pass through slot so the long direction of the cuts will be front-to-back. Eventually the Pro software will figure out the indexing automagically, but right now you would do it with manual indexing.

You don’t have a lot of time to make your decision, though:


Hi! Johnse!

Thanks for your value opinion!

Yes, my condition is the boards needs to stay in one piece and the holes cut out in those locations as designed.

From my understanding now, for the PRO version the materials can be pass through the slot (that’s why the depth is unlimited ^^). Well, I guess I need to upgrade to PRO in this case.

Last question to be solved. So, for the orange holes(300x20mm) in the middle, since it’s beyond the max cutting 290 mm deep, I will need to cut it twice, right?
(or alternatively, change to 290x20mm instead)

For manual indexing, I’m thinking to add aiming bars in front and behind the slot so the board will be perpendicular to GF constantly. Also, I’ll mark the guidelines on the board and let GF do its job.

Thanks! Johnse!

Also, if you live anywhere it is warm or humid, it seems the pro is slightly more able with regards to its operating temperature. I would have trouble keeping the basic cool enough to operate at all without a swamp cooler unit and it’s December.


Keep in mind that the passthrough slots are only 1/4" tall, so while the Pro can engrave on material up to 2" tall (if you remove the crumb tray), you can’t use the passthrough on material more than 1/4" (perhaps 5mm).


The pass through slot is officially for 0.25" material, but I cut a 0.27" (6.858 mm) poplar board last month. You’re not going to get much thicker than that though.


You got me!
I live in Taiwan which is warm and humid.
I’ll keep an eye on the room temperature!


As you mentioned, the height of the passthrough slot and I JUST realized it does states on the “TECH SPECS” page…

  • Passthrough slot allows the use of material that’s up to 1/4″ (6.3mm) high, up to 20” (50.8cm) wide, and as long as desired


Got it!

I’ll try to keep it below 6mm mostly.

Thanks for sharing! ^^

Okay, guys!

Thanks for all the opinions and experience sharing!
I’m upgrading to PRO now!!

Truly appreciate for your kindness relies! ^^


I got a cheap thermometer/hygrometer on amazon to stick behind the unit when in operation, leave on the cutting tray when not turned on so I know if I need to adjust anything before I start her up in the morning.

Yes, you will cut them by making a partial cut, moving the board, and making the next cut.

I made a tutorial on how to use manual indexing in which I have cuts that span 4 sections.


Something said here bares repeating. You have no real length limit with a Pro (with some manipulation).
The width is a solid limit though, even with a Pro.

As to height, only real limit is gravity if you take repeat cuts and stack//glue them. Multiple 1/8 or 1/4 stacked projects here have already show this as feasible.


thanks for the very useful tutorial! bookmarked! ^^

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Don’t hesitate - upgrade while you still can. IMHO You will quickly outgrow the Basic. This Pro machine is so easy and versatile I wish I could have bought two.