What's a good alternative laser if we get tired of waiting?

I know they are working thier hardest to get it to be perfect before it ships but I was wondering, just in case, what everyone thought a good runner up laser would be.


Depends on your level of tech and design savvy. There are good choices that are less expensive if you don’t mind the downtime for repairs, and there are lasers at three or more times the cost that will be reliable but have a higher design learning curve.

Just need to do some research, because no one knows what you need it for except you, and what’s important to another designer might not be the same thing for you if you have a lower comfort zone with some aspect of the process.

It took from months to years for some of the beginners in the digital cutter world to master the aspects of the design process that this machine is going to make “one-button-simple”.

That is what makes this unique. :relaxed:


Very dependent on what your price tolerance is. If it’s got to be cheaper than the GF then you’ve got lots of alternatives but you then need to assess your tinkering-tolerance. If price isn’t critical then you can get arguably similar features/functionality (with some add-ons that GF can’t do like rotary & serious Z-axis depth). Some of the trick stuff GF is doing with the cameras and tracing drawings aren’t available (except theoretically the Muse but it’s not actually in customer hands yet either).

If you need to be cheaper and you’re tinker-tolerant you can find a number of very inexpensive Chinese lasers (the “K40” types) or even similar cost but larger bed sizes, more power, etc. Check out Sarbarmultimedia on Youtube and see what he got and how it worked out. Excellent resource for someone in the market for a similarly priced laser and decent software.

If you’re not as price-sensitive, then Epilog makes some really nice ones with a decent software infrastructure supporting them. But expect to pay 10K. Or go used.


Here is the thing. I have had thoughts along the same line so looking around at reputations and all the Epilog line would be the only other I’d consider.
So I sent off for their promo package, the same cut area and power as the pro from them in their basic Co2 Zing would set me back 13 grand!!
I just grew some new patience.


depends on whether you actually want to cancel your glowforge, get another laser in addtion, or just take the edge off waiting but I hear services like ponoko are more affordable than a whole laser.


If you just want something to play with while you wait, and still plan on getting your glowforge, maybe not-a-laser would be worth exploring. 3d printer, cnc thinger, vinyl cutter, digital cutting machine, etc. I knkwnwith the interchangeable heads the glowforge could potentially do those things in the future, but for right now they offer some capabilities a laser doesn’t. So, if you got one to play with now, you wouldn’t be doubling up when the glowforge arrives.


This with @erin’s comment about getting other tools is great. Just learning about how to really create stuff (the lexicon, the resources, the methodologies, etc.) is really valuable.

It has also been a good tool for teaching how to create things for laser. Creating files for upload is a good exercise, with the “grade” being the lowest possible create fee!


Yep–every time I think about getting a K40, I think about the endless stream of fixes, tweaks, and disasters associated with them, and think the same thing.


I’ve entertained the idea of buying a chinese machine ala https://www.youtube.com/user/SarbarMultimedia

It seems fun and rewarding tweaking and fixing a lot of the quirks of those machines :smile:

Than I remembered I’m not an engineer nor am I retired with loads of free time :confounded:


At the moment, replicating the Glowforge is impossible (just like getting the real McCoy) so some additional details of what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to spend would be helpful. Are you looking for something to help you wait for your Glowforge to be shipped, or are you looking for something to be shipped to you after you cancel your Glowforge order? Do you want something bigger? More powerful? Faster? Cheaper? Easier to use? More opportunities for tinkering? You mentioned “laser” in the title, does that mean you aren’t interested in other machines like vinyl cutters or CNC routers?

When I got tired of waiting I bought a used 30 watt Trotec Speedy 100 through eBay.


I’m thinking about doing the same thing and getting a cheep laser to play with while I’m waiting for my Glowforge :glowforge:.


I am avoiding a K40 temptation, because like Sarbar, it will tweak and tweak and tweak and …

Just can’t stop. My first car was a VW Bug (67). Cleaned and removed all the buildup and rust. Replaced all the heater control wires, tweaked out the vent controls, pulled the motor more than once.

In the winter of 83, going across Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, the outside temp was sub-zero, but the heat from the engine had us sweating like crazy. Could only open the heater controls to 1/8th before sweat started down the face.


Thanks for all the reply, I think I’m just trying to get some more patients. Lol
I have a X carve and I think I might get one of the lasers that bolt to it to play with until the gf gets here. Ugh! It’s the American way… I want it NOW!! Hahah
Thanks again for all the info!