Version 2?

Last night as I was waiting for my CNC machine to finish a cutting a doorway I started thinking about how this project would have been a lot easier if I had the glowforge.

I was curious as to what projects you guys have worked on that you are going to be revisiting once you have your glowforge. (post pictures if you have them!)

This is one thing I would definitely like to try again once I get the glowforge, however there will be a lot more to it. My girlfriend wanted to make a house/lounger for our cat, so we started last night. Its a good project to let her learn the build process for things like this.

The first part we cut was the porthole for the main entryway (kinda looks like a stargate). There are windows and front facade still to be cut. The first photo shows what this looks like. It will essentially sit like this, except we are going to trim the bottoms off of the outer spokes so that it sits inside the hole, with only those resting on the rim. (we might cut the lower outside of the ring a tiny bit too if the mdf allows). After that we will follow the same process to make a few small round window, and a wood trimmed stone facade for the front.

Now here is where the glowforge would have been great. I could have engraved the big piece of .5" MDF we are using for the front wall and have been done with it, however to do that on a CNC mill takes a LONG time, and I am only using the built in software which doesnt really support 3d cutting either, so mocking it up would have been a pain. I could have easily cut back all that material with the glowforge while giving it some color and texture as well. The ring could have been cut straight into the same piece of MDF with finer detail and maybe even some grain on the bricks. This is one of those projects where I would have been using the passthrough on the pro, as the piece is about 3 feet long. It would have been pretty sweet to just be able to feed that through and be done. We still have a good bit of work ahead of us, but it will be awesome once its finished!

He fits!


It looks great, love the pattern …and the fact that you have a semi-patient cat willing to pose with it. :slightly_smiling:

Have you tried (or can you even) use Fusion 360 with your CNC? It’s free for makers, and I can’t imagine trying to use mine without it.


I only have hand/power tools for my projects right now (so yes there will be a ton of going back and trying different projects) but i do intend to buy/build various pieces of fabrication equipment (e.g. hobby CNC, 3d printer) but the idea that has been nagging me is why use any one strictly for a whole project?

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I am in the middle of a project making several dozen animal-track stamps for the 7-year-old’s school. Cutting out the wooden blocks was easy, but the bit with self-adhesive foam and exacto knife following the printed outlines is not that fun. With a Glowforge (assuming that magic camera stuff works) I could just glue the outlines down and Zap!


unless it was some sort of exercise in frustration I dont know if i could do that haha

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fair enough :slightly_smiling:

I hadnt until you recommended it. It is so much better than so many other programs out here. I love the tooling features! Thanks for the recommendation!

Hey, glad you like it. If you want another suggestion, take a look at SketchUp. They also have a “SketchUp Make” edition which is free for non-commercial private use, with some reduced functionality that you’ll probably not miss. Or if you have kids, they can get a 1-year Pro license for $49 USD (versus the $799 initial commercial license!)

Edit: Check out this Getting Started video thanks to the folks at Autodesk…

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Ive used sketchup, and im just not a fan of it. I might not have spent enough time using it, but im a big proponent of numerical entry and modification. I cut my teeth on 3dsm where you could always go back and edit the properties (length/width/height, x/y/z pos) of an object by entering exact values. It was always precise, and the control was always available to change those values. In sketchup its hidden, and once and object was created I didnt see a way to go back and see/change those values easily. Im having a little bit of an issue pinning panels in fusion 360 as well, as I would like to modify objects in that manner instead of having to highlight, push pull, etc. I like setting size and coordinate locations, which you can do in other autodesk programs, but not 360, and from what I can tell nothing close in sketchup.

If you have any pointers in those areas I would love to hear them. Thanks for the link!


Don’t know if you have seen it, but we have a fellow glowforger who is part of the Fusion360 team at autodesk, and who has just offered to do another training webinar over on this thread: Fusion 360 for Beginners webinar

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You can do what I’ll call “variable modelling” both in Fusion 360 and SketchUp Pro (but not SketchUp Make; it’s a limitation). That’s why I made sure to use the education discount offer they make. In SketchUp, I made a clip tenon component for a filter box I’ll be making on the GF. I just have to throw the component down, change some variables to account for length, material thickness, clip distances… and it adjusts everything. For (far) more advanced stuff, you can program it in Ruby.

I like both programs, but I’ll be honest… I can throw something together faster in Sketchup than I can in Fusion because I find the Fusion interface far more complex. BUT… in terms of end-milling, it’s hard to argue with the value you get with Fusion. The CAM functionality in it is really flexible, if only I’d spend more time with it I’d probably be more comfortable.

@jbv Thanks for the link, I’ll have to visit and check it out!

I did not know you could do “variable modelling” with Sketchup Pro. Is this something new, or has it been there for a while?

heh… I’m not totally sure when it came into being, I only learned about it myself after reinstalling SU:Make 2016 after a long absence from using other SU versions. I suspect that it’s been in place since 2014, as that’s when I think I first noticed had “groups” (of points/faces) and “components” (which are just “named” groups with variables, it turns out). At the time, I recall struggling with trying to figure out in my head what the hell the difference was.

Turns out, if you keep the “Instructor” tray panel open and consult their online help, you actually learn stuff. Go figure. :smile: You get a 30-day trial of Pro as part of the Make install before it cripples it.

I made my first Component object (the tenon referred to, earlier) in a few hours without previous experience using it. It’s not perfect – I’m sure it could be improved – but it saves a lot of repetitive work for sure. What I really cringe at is their commercial pricing for individuals: first year is that steep $695, and then ongoing support/updates is $120/year after.

Here, I found this for you:


Im making some good progress in fusion360! Thanks for the recommendation!