Looking through many threads in this community I find it easy to discover plenty of digital fabrication machines or other shop/craft nessessities to compliment or somehow expand/enhance the capabilities of the glowforge in combination with other tools/materials. (I’m like a little boy with a toy catalog) But then reality sets in and I realize that I would either be short on funds or shop space (which might be true for others also.)
I’m curious to know, for those that care to share- What tricks, jigs, hacks, shortcuts, or other tips have you discovered that compensates for the lack of space or the high tech tool?
I will start with a lightbulb moment I had this week. I was real close to buying one of those CNC machines to complete my “ideal” shop of laser cutter + CNC + 3D printer, because I felt like having a cnc would help me realize some of those 3D designs I have in useless plastic from my 3d printer into natural beautiful wood carvings or something for the laser. But i have just realized, that I do not need a computer to reproduce a 3D design on wood if my 3D printer will suffice. I spent too much time researching how to strengthen 3d printed parts, stronger filiments or coatings trying to make the print be the final part. I had failed to realize that all I really needed to do was use the plastic parts as a pattern and then use a carving duplicator to transfer the 3D pattern onto the wood. Lookup Gemini wood carving duplicator, Radarcarve, or copy carve to get an idea of what I mean. There are also plans online to build one yourself (great laser project perhaps.)
Cons - I have to print/create/obtain my 3D pattern first and cannot CNC direct onto wood.
Pros- Much cheaper than a CNC, Larger build volume than CNC desktop machines, almost unlimited length and both Pattern and new block of wood can be rotated in synchronization via chain giving you 4 axis dimensions of carving.