Speculation on the Expansion Port

With all the negativity right now, I want to focus on some of the positive. Namely, the Expansion port. I definitely squeed :squee: when I read about it!

They have said “anything from an inkjet printer cartridge to a 3D extruder”.

So… What do people think? What do you want as an option for the Expansion port?


I see no reason for inkjet printer, most already have this. 3D extruder possibly

I was going to start this exact thread, but you beat me to it. My reaction:

–meh on the inkjet head. You can get such high quality inkjet printers for $100 or so.

–vinyl cutting head, great and useful idea.

–router head or any other one that makes a mess, probably not good for the machinery

–best idea I’ve heard so far (from @maghog and @pomwah) a tilt-able head so angled laser cuts are possible. That would be so incredibly useful.


And it would likely be horribly slow compared to inkjet printers.

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Great minds think alike! :wink:

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Yeah, I have no desire to see them waste time on an inkjet cartridge that is unlikely to do better than a real printer. Likewise, I think 3D printing is a waste of time, since they’d be limited to deposition printing and no easy ability for a heated bet, etc.

I’d be 100% interested in a vinyl cutter, though. I also like to use my CNC stuff to draw ink / sharpie art, so I suspect that would go over very well, too (not to mention it would take like a month or two post-launch to engineer hw/sw and send out test fittings - no electronics necessary).


I thought the same until I re-read the post. Imagine being able to prep ONE file, pop in the inkjet head and print your design in full color, then switch to the laser head and cut/engrave it.

Likewise, I think GF wouldn’t be very useful as a standalone 3D printer (FDM/FFF), but being able to embellish a laser-cut part might be cool.

As potential add-ons, I probably wouldn’t buy either, but of the two the inkjet sounds more useful (in my personal project areas).


Ah, good idea. I hadn’t thought of that.

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An airbrush was mentioned, I believe by @takitus, and is something that sounds really useful.


This, along with the airbrush idea for colorizing 3d engraves. If they can do it, it would be badass


I would not mind to see a more powerful upgrade to the head as in, 40 - 45 watts?..or even a little higher…I dunno newbie here.


First thing I thought of was airbrush. (Then my mind just kind of disconnected and I went into a fugue state.)


The laser would have to be upgraded, not the head, I believe.


I guess I am confused…does not the head house the laser ?..totally newbie.

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I assume the extruder head would cost a couple hundred bucks. I’d rather invest that money into a 3D printer that can print objects taller than 2".

I run a 3D printing business on the side. The only customers I have that need an object less than 2" tall usually need a DLP or SLA printer, so I’m not sure who would need the Glowforge to 3D print something — Unless the extruder extrudes pancake mix and the laser cooks it! Glowforge takes on the PancakeBot! LOL!


But why would you need to print it to carve it? One of the aspects of Glowforge is that you can cut from a photoshop or illustrator file. Why do a two part process when you can just do one?

I noticed watching Marion’s unboxing video that the laser is already installed in the machine, and the head comes in a separate box.


I think the idea might be to print (airbrush, or whatever parts of the design), quick change out of the head and then laser cut/etch the rest of the design. I could see an airbrush head great for adding color to your 3D engraves.

Oh, and the vinyl plotter (blade) head would be awesome since that’s a material that the laser can’t touch.

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The all-in-one with inkjetting (probably not a conventional head, because you can’t really do the resolution if your surface is bumpy) would be cool, but I think inkjetting unconventional materials might be particularly interesting. Stuff that’s laserable, stuff that makes circuits, etc.

Regular 3D printer, eh because of the Z limitations. By my back of the envelope no more than 4" till you start running into gantry. But if you could do something specialized with it, e.g a fast big-nozzle extruder, might be worthwhile for some applications. Also maybe one of the 3D printer/inkjet hybrids where you spit out an ink that then gets solidified and built up.

Tilting head would be way cool and even potentially useful. And although it’s weird to think about, I also like the suggestion of a diode laser. If you could get some experts in beam-shaping and combining optics, you might be able to pack somewhere north of 10 watts into that space…


I don’t have that need, but can see use cases in which it would vastly improve the workflow, especially part location/registration.

  1. Place material
  2. Full color print (inkjet/airbrush/whatever) in place
  3. Engrave in place
  4. Cut in place

(2-4 in what ever order makes sense for a particular product)

No re-registration issues, i.e. finding the origin on two different machines, and making sure source material is appropriately placed, aligned, etc.

Again, this is all a SWAG on my part. Some might like it, others will totally hate the idea. I’m just a customer…

:heart: :glowforge: