Why? Just "little" things about the GLowforge

I have to admit, the Glowforge was an impulse buy. I saw the ad/commercial, I had the money and I just got it. There were some issues. I hit the head on a too large piece and broke the wheels on the track guide. Support was great, had me take some pictures, “winced” at the video of the “incident” and sent out a new part right away. A few months later, my Glowforge just died! They checked the logs, saw the error and sent me out a new unit in a couple of days and I shipped the old one back in the same packaging. NO cost to me.

The machine is EASY to use, the web interface is a bit clunky, but getting better. I really would like to see an ethernet and or usb connection. The reliance on wifi, though convenient for most is unsuitable or needs careful planning in a large shop. AND, I REALLY wish they make an offline capable interface so if your internet connection or their servers go down you are not dead in the water. I don’t mind TOO much relying on proprietary software. But at least it can be used on anything. PC, Phone, Tablet, Mac. THAT is nice I admit.

Now for the really infuriating part. WHY, WHY WHY is the pass through AND the overall engraving 20 inches??? Why not 24 or 25 by 12 or 13? I went to use the pass through with a nice 24x48 sanded plywood, BUT, it wouldn’t fit!! Now what am I going to do with that extra 4 inch by four FOOT “scrap”? Sure, I can cut it up for smaller projects and I realize that Glowforge wants to push their proofgrade. But again WHY 20? Why did whoever was in charge of decisions NOT choose one of the MANY STANDARD sizes? shrug That’s just one of those head scratcher things you run into. Murphy definitely at work here!

Overall, yes, it is a nice addition to the shop and we have created some really neat things and it has made several tasks much easier.

I’m going to say, that even with the little “issues” we will keep our Glowforge and I’ll still even recommend it to folks who don’t need a lot of capabilities. But in the end, I do wish I researched a bit before I pulled the trigger on the Glowforge. There ARE a few machines out there comparable and some even more capable and for a lower price AND from reputable companies.

BUT COME ON, TWENTY INCHES??? Tar and feather that decision maker, lol.


It’s been speculated that the size of GF maxes out the shipping box that can go by regular UPS/Fedex.


I get the 4x8 sheets of plywood and have it cut into 5 - 19x48sheets that work great. Buying 18x24 or 48 sheets are also possible and cheaper per sqin.


Now that does make sense and doesn’t pass the would be “freight” cost to the buyer. But couldn’t they wiggle the few inches out of the packing? I mean, it WAS a nice packing job, but when you need instructions to OPEN the box, maybe a bit over engineered, lol.

I haven’t seen those sizes offered locally. At least Home Depot. I HAVE ordered “Glowforge Ready” panels on Amazon. Though with the price of wood these days not the GREATEST option. But if you’re in a hurry and low on stock it IS nice just to run to the corner hardware store.

The only thing that got me was I had to stop what I was doing and wait until my Wife got home so I could set up and run the table saw. Current shop space is in a 8 x 15 shed so I pull the table saw outside the door. Works for me and allows me to handle bigger pieces. BUT, I still need and extra set of hands these days with those large pieces. My current sawhorses are cheap plastic I kept around from a house decorating project. I DO need to make some nice collapsable ones though.

Anyhoo, I couldn’t proceed with the project anyways. The shed was too warm to run the Glowforge without damaging it. I have to get another portable A/C unit since in our new house I put it in the converted garage/workshop.

Like I said, don’t get me wrong. The Glowforge is a nice machine, but there are those head-scratchers that make ya go, hrmmmmm. :crazy_face:


You’re preaching to the choir here, I’ve seen (and/or made) posts about almost every one of your gripes.

The unfortunate part is that you’re just preaching to the choir. If you want Glowforge to hear your feedback you have to email support@glowforge.com — they don’t read the forum. We’re just like you, randoes with a laser that could probably be a bit better, hoping for a v2 machine someday.


A generally bad idea, especially if winter temps fall below freezing. Water freezing inside glass tubes can be very unfortunate. And unless the ac runs 24/7 the humidity buildup between night and day can ruin the machine as well. (think of it as an indoor pet and don’t do to it what you would not do to the pet.)

Getting HD to make 4 cuts @ 19" each is frequently free, and a lot easier to carry home than a full sheet. Since 19x5= 95 and 8 feet is 96 inches having room for four 1/4" kerfs is almost perfect. However, if you do have a 12x24 piece and a pro you do not need a table saw to wack off 4" but by using the pass-through you can use 4 or more inches through the pass-through and then fit the rest as normal. Even with 20 x 12-inch wood, the biggest that you can cut at one time is only 19.5 x 10.95 so there is extra there anyway, Again, using the passthrough you can arrange to use every square inch by dividing and overlapping the areas and even rotating the piece of wood to make every cut take up every inch of wood in total.


This is a layout for a 18x24 sheet done in three passes and using most of the sheet.

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Oh yeah, the shed WILL be heated and cooled here real soon and insulated soon. Just got a few other priority projects to get to first. The temp here is pretty ok this time of year and the machine isn’t currently used all the time so I CAN wheel it inside if I need to.

Yeah, HD does cut for free. BUT, the time you stand around waiting for someone to be paged and get to you to cut the wood, I can be home, have the wood cut up and in 'Forge relaxing with a cold drink in my hand. :yum:

And I’m not really griping or looking to get support involved (I know that they stopped monitoring the forum) but it was one of those things that make you want to just ask “Why”. I mean 20 inches, just short of 24 (2 feet) is such an odd-ball choice when the other dimension is close to 12. But the shipping point does make that choice a bit clearer, though you would think they would have made a change in packing or internals to accommodate. BUT we are NOT the engineers who designed it and didn’t have a non-engineer manager approving/disapproving their design choices.

Like I said, the Glowforge is a decent machine and has a place in our shop, not ready to get rid of it yet. But I do call it names from time to time. :zipper_mouth_face:


I have my glowforge in a (relatively finished – insulation, wallboard, etc) shed that has a window AC unit for summer and a oil-filled electric radiator for winter. Zero problems. I use a louvered vent cover that has kept all backflow out of the machine, again, zero problems, flawless.

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The cutting dimension still remains short of 11 in the “Y” direction and since Glowforge has come on the scene #1 most of the folks selling wood have a 20" version and #2 most of the glowforge clones are 20" wide “X” direction as well so there must be a compelling reason even beyond packing for this to be the case.

The first and worst plywood I purchased for the Glowforge was at HD, but at Lowes I seek the help first thing even before I go through the stack of plywood looking for the one or two sheets of plywood with the fewest eyes looking back at me so help usually arrives before I have managed that (often out of self preservation as they will have to put the stack neat again afterwards) but it has been quite a while as my back and legs have made getting back there a real problem, and they charge the same for delivery for one sheet as to build a whole house, so I have not had that issue since before covid.

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You think that - probably because your machines arrived safely, but they tested the :poop: out of those boxes, and the shipping companies still managed to break not a small number!

Imagine if that 2nd box were just a little bit less protected…you think they’d have had a working machine?

There was a post way back when (2017, 18?) where Dan commented that they made it the max size they could and still ship it regular mail (vs pallet) but despite searching I couldn’t find it.

Luckily an entire industry has popped up making x20" materials :smiley:


I also remember this. Unless we’ve both fallen through a trans dimensional wormhole and are suffering from a Mandela Effect here.


The Glowforge gave me an excuse to get a track saw, since I could use it to cut up sheet materials to fit in the machine.

Of course, I never actually done that…


When I have had 24x48 I still go for a 24x10 and two 24x9 but I generally avoid those “quarter sheets” and go for the five 19x48 sheets. As noted you cannot cut more than 19.5 in any case so there is far less scrap. I am liking the pro for the ability to use the material more efficiently much more than cutting oversized pieces. I have a lot more 2" and 1" wide scrap pieces from using the whole PG-sized wood, and most of the straight hardwood available is three inches wide and I have had a lot of need to be very careful using that to get all three inches.


When I buy 2’ wide sheets at the big-box store, I just have them cut it down to 19".

I have virtually every cordless tool Ryobi makes, so when I used to buy BB from Rockler, I’d just take the circular saw and rough-cut it by hand on the shopping cart in the parking lot. I’ve done the same with sheets outside Home Depot but as they cut for free, not done it myself in a long time.


Hehehe, me too. Pretty much a Ryobi only shop here. Got a LOT of the 18v tool (should see my Home Depot wishlist, lol), a 40v mower, band saw, drill press, scroll saw, 18v miter and arm saw, table saw. REALLY loving the Electric Riding mower!!!


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