So, the Glowforge Pro WILL NOT cut metal?

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#1

After reading through dozens of threads and q&a’s, it seems though as the Glowforge Pro WILL NOT be able to cut through metal? Or am I misunderstanding everything I read? One of the main reasons I bought one is because I want to have metal cutting (primary) and metal engraving (secondary) functionality. Can someone clarify this? I’ve never owned or done any work with lasers cutters, so this is all new to me. I bought the GF PRO so I can start up and run my own business, but the vagueness of answers, as well as no direct 100% yes or no answers on various topics (such as ability to CUT metal, not just engrave it, etc.) makes me doubt my purchase. I want it to be as good as it looks in the videos, but I am starting to have doubts.

Thanks in advance!


#2

With no doubt. The Glowforge will not cut ANY kind of common metal. Period.


#3

The answer is no unfortunately. It will not cut the metal at all and engraving is more like leaving a mark/decolorizing instead of cutting into the metal itself.

What you require is a cnc router or mill (depending if you want to cut sheets or chunks of metal or even a cnc plasma cutter if you’re flush for space and cash).

Sorry, I wish it could too but it no where near

Edit: beaten to it, but if you require a refund email support@glowforge.com


#4

Well, that’s not great news. Is there a list of materials that @dan or other actual GF employees have released that the GF PRO model WILL actually cut? Or is it all still up in the air?


#5

It’s a long list, mostly organic material (wood, leather, paper, acrylic, corian, etc.). You can see a short list on the main web page or under the FAQs. But the Glowforge cuts the same thing that any 40-45W CO2 laser can cut. Easy to google. Acrylic and Corian are not organic but are safe. The GF could easily cut lots of rubbers and plastics but the problem is that some materials give off compounds that are toxic to you and harmful to the laser parts when cut.


#6

@rpegg, I’ve done a good bit of research on this. I would love to hear something official from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I know there is a list of materials under the FAQ that list a whole bunch of materials, ending with ‘and more…’. It would be nice to get a full list, as well as a full list of REAL 100% tested/proven capabilities.


#7

Sure no problem. But just so you know and don’t wait impatiently, the question has been asked many times and the same answer always comes back. The list is on their website and they have a policy not to formally test other materials. You can get a longer list of materials from the Epilog website. Look at the CO2 table. https://www.epiloglaser.com/how-it-works/laser-material-compatibility.htm
Epilog is an established, much, much larger company and sells similarly powered CO2 lasers at a much higher price. Epilog has the luxury of staffing an “Applications Team”. I guess you could tell them that you are considering an Epilog laser and get an official answer on a specific non-listed material.


#8

Thanks! I’ve looked at their website and products quite a few times, but didn’t think about that materials bit.


#9

youll need a fiber or pulsed laser to cut metals, and those cost in the 10s of thousands of dollars. if you are looking to cut metal in a price range close to glowforge, you might want to look into getting a CNC machine. I am in the same boat, and I ordered a glowforge pro, but knew at the time it could only engrave anodized aluminum. I bought an x-carve CNC machine which can cut solid aluminum and softer metals. You might want to check into that.

also water jets can cut metals, but I havent even begun to look into the cost of those


#10

Thanks for the thoughts. Did you get the x-carve CNC machine from Inventables or else-where?


#11

@npgraphicdesign A quick search on this forum for “cut metal” turned up this:

@dan says “Also just checking to be sure you aren’t buying something you’ll regret
later - you’re aware that Glowforge can’t cut metal and that some metals
require Cermark or similar spray to engrave, right?”

So the CEO made that statement. Seems pretty clear to me.
Hope this clears up the “vagueness of answers” for you.


#12

yep! Just finished building my enclosure for it!
Its on the lower shelf now, but had to move it for painting. I also wrapped the lower section in plastic with a multi-level vacuum system: one at the cut head with a dust shoe, and one at the outer plastic wrapping to make sure the finer dust also gets filtered out of the air in there.


#13

spike, you’re so very kind for posting that. There are quite a few topics/questions/answers to browse through, and I haven’t stumbled across that. So, thanks again for posting that. It definitely clears up the ‘vagueness of the answers’ for me…:wink:


#14

@npgraphicdesign LOL Remember, if you are looking for something, the search tool (mag glass upper right) works very well. I just typed in “cut metal” and looked for Dans mug shot icon.


#15

Wish the Glowforge or any reasonably priced laser could cut more materials, but it is what it is. Don’t know whether you had gone as far as to price an Epilog. It’s hard to find a price without asking a dealer for “more info”. Saw a review of the 40W Epilog Zing24 which has the same size bed size as the Glowforge. The reviewer said it starts at $11,995. Of course it’s still a little Apples and Oranges. The Epilog has features that the Glowforge will not such as being able to accept much thicker stock (still can only cut to the same depth) and the Glowforge Pro will have S/W features such as infinite pass through and the tracing function that the Epilog does not.


#16

I will be using Rowmark engraving acrylic with the metallic finish to simulate metal.
I can not find out, but think that there is a possibility that their surfaces might be a micron or even less of vacuum deposited actual metal.
If so, maybe you can cut metal if you keep it thin enough.


#17

@cassonh True. I am sure the GF would cut gold leaf as well.


#18

I have no experience of cutting leaf or similar thin metals but I would think if it Isn’t preapplied, and maybe if it is it might deform from the heat. I don’t know what use a roughly separated piece of thin metal would be.


#19

@Jack That was kind of a joke as Gold Leaf is very hard to work with around any air movement.
But yeah, I was thinking after it was applied. But then I have no idea of the lacquers used, so another rabbet hole to go down…


#20

Is that a self-built table or commercial for the X-Carve? Still trying to decide how to mount mine (kind of overhanging a table right now)