Sure, I understand that, but that’s the tradeoff you make against wasted material. You have to choose one to optimize for, and in this case the concern you raised was one of wasted material. The wasted material here is a tradeoff you decide to make in the name of efficiency with regard to the number of parts you can cut on a single material change.
The good news is that you have a lot of options available. You could get the pro machine and run an entire 16" x 48" or even 96" sheet through the passthrough slot. With the automatic registration that the Glowforge can do, that should be pretty straightforward.
If you do need 20" x 12" parts, and are set on the Basic instead of Pro, you don’t have as many options. That said, unless that’s the only type of job you cut, I bet you can figure out ways to layout other smaller parts in the smaller sized left-overs from your sheet goods to improve material utilization.
If none of those is an option, and the material costs are high, the Glowforge may well not be right for you since the cost of wasted material would quickly overwhelm the cost savings for the lower priced machine.
Everyone’s use case is different, and it seems likely to me that you know everything I just said above already since you have experience with your Epilog setup. I just wanted to point out some potential solutions for other folks who may have less experience.
For me personally, the 20" x 12" size is just fine, considering I already have an X-Carve CNC Router (1m x 1m). The larger scale work will be done on the X-Carve and I’ll use the laser for more detailed or smaller work. I’m really excited about the combination of the two.
Anyhow, food for thought!