OK here is my list of things an application manual would have fixed from the start.
1) Items not engraving.
Found out after many fails that the shaded area is a no print zone.
2) This should not be set up near where people are trying to live.
This is as loud as a jet plane when running and there appears to no way to silence it other
than moving it and myself out to the garage for long periods of time when printing 3 & 4
3) You need to clean this thing like it was in an operating room after every print job.
Otherwise the next print will be OK but the cutting will not be complete.
4) Be prepared to panic when the material is identified as unknown although it is proof grade
direct form Glow Forge Supply.
Another reason to treat the machine as an operating room for cleaning after each print.
Please free to add to this list and maybe we can get an application manual made.
The resources are available, but not necessarily obvious for new users to find. I do think that’s a challenge.
I haven’t found 2 or 3 to be an issue for me, but a bit more clarity on the bed and how it works would probably help those who aren’t obsessive about seeking out operating info. I don’t know that #4 is really something you’d end up with in a manual. Most machines recognize PG materials. And, once again, I had already read here in the forum that I could just choose a PG material if it isn’t recognized for whatever reason.
For issue #2 you can easily mount an external inline fan and get things very quiet, mine is quieter than people talking when operating now. you also need to select the glowforge air filter attached option on the dashboard which will disable the exhaust fan in the machine which makes most of the noise. (but be sure your external fan is on )
If you search the forum there are many posts on the subject. Here
For issue #3 you don’t need to go crazy on the cleaning between every print. I have a few levels of cleaning that i do. For in between jobs if you want to maintain consistency when working with a material that makes a lot of smoke or debris i wipe down the optics like the 2 windows and the main focus lens in the head and the lid camera if you are using proofgrade materials. soot or dust on those will have the most impact on your cut and engraves.
#4 never panic there is always a work around as long as the machine is functional. There is a great community of other users here that are usually happy to help as long as you have tried to sort it on your own first. That would also apply to #1 as well
This is covered in the Working with Manual Mode section of the “Your First Prints” tutorial that was linked at the end of your setup process.
Do a forum search on “inline fan.” The silence is beautiful, and you can hear the head “singing” as it cuts.
Physics, man. It’s a laser. It cuts stuff with fire, which makes soot, which gets on the optics, which blocks the laser so it can’t cut stuff as well. You could stick with just engraving tile, which is admittedly pretty satisfying, and maybe never have to clean your optics again, but you’d be missing out on a lot of other good stuff. Otherwise we’re all stuck with it until someone invents sootless fire. I’m not holding my breath.
Also, from what I hear, other lasers are even worse because stuff gets misaligned and wears out from the necessary cleaning and has to be realigned and frequently and expensively replaced. That little lens you clean over on the left on the inside is a window into the SEALED compartment Glowforge put those parts inside of, so you never have to clean and align them OR spend hundreds of dollars replacing them.
Oh, and it doesn’t have to be operating room clean. Just clean the optics, vacuum it out occasionally, make sure there’s no debris on the rails and belts…oh, and you’ll end up having to clean the fans now and then. Everything else is purely cosmetic. If you like being able to see through the glass, give it a wipe now and then. You can let the laser tube get as dirty as you want. I clean mine now and then because I like seeing it glow, but it’s not required.
It’s already made, at the link I included above. It’s all there in the Help Center.
I did not do the first three prints tutorial, but in my defense, I was trained on the makerspace GF. They taught me the very basics (aka, please don’t break our laser) and then I read every single thing I could get my hands on.
I’m really bad about skipping tutorials and manuals and such, but I spent a lot of money on this thing, and wasn’t taking any chances, so I read everything they told me to read. Figured I’d waited 2+ years for it, I could wait another hour or two and learn to use it RIGHT.
That of course is the problem in having the internet. You can’t get your hands on anything! That was a big emotional positive in having the Glowforge, it was the first time I could get my hands on what I was designing in thirty years since I quit making Architectural Models and went to virtual.
Since it wasn’t my machine I had no idea there were 3 first projects when I stared using one. When I bought my own GF 5 months later, I cut the GOGM, but it seemed silly to go back and do the other projects when I had already surpassed that level of work. Had I gotten my own machine first, I would have done the projects.
I respectfully disagree with regard to some of these items. I have performed what may be considered a fairly deep clean only once in 18 months. I certainly do not clean any part of it after every job and it has never failed to do exactly what I expect of it. With the exception of failing due to the black cable (hopefully since I haven’t received that yet) it has been a wonderful machine. I also do not consider it all that noisy. I use it in a spare room only about 20 feet or so from where my wife works from home. With the door closed it does not bother her at all.
Well to be fair, the print area is what it is and just a part of getting used to your machine. I tend to cut my own material that I purchase locally so I make it slightly smaller than the proof grade stuff which eliminates the waste along the edge. I always found a use though for those strips when using proof grade. You can always use them to make hold down pins etc.
For cutting, whenever I start a job I make a few test cuts, either small circles or squares in an area of the piece that won’t interfere with the project. I may do several of these until I get the cleanest cut and then I use those numbers for the project itself. As with any tool it has its idiosyncrasies but I’m sure you can learn to love it.
Nothing in your post indicates to me it’s not working as advertised. The engraving boundaries are documented. The documentation is all available online. Necessary cleaning is not Glowforge’s fault; fire makes soot, and soot is dirty, and lenses don’t work right when they’re dirty.
If there’s something specifically it’s not doing right, just let us know what it is so we can try to help out!
Well even after I cleaned my GF it still is not cutting through the GF material. I expect to have some cleaning to do but not after every print job and then not have the GF cut the material as it should.