Speed Test: Glowforge vs. Aeon Mira

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I'm in a number of laser user groups, and this is something that comes up quite often… the Glowforge is an amazing laser for a new user, and I stand by my opinion that it's the best starter laser on the market. As your business grows, though, you can also outgrow its capabilities, and it may not be long before you find that it's time to buy a bigger, more efficient laser so your business can grow. For me, that bigger laser was an Aeon Mira9.

The Mira is a significant investment for your business, so of course you're going to do research before you place your order and get on the waitlist. (As I write this, there's about a 6 month wait for Mira lasers; they're built in China, then processed by the company in Florida where they get some upgrades, and then they're shipped to you) I ordered in June 2020 and it was delivered in November.

One of the things I was most excited about was the increased speed on the Mira. It can be hard to grasp the difference, because it's hard to compare apples to apples. Glowforge uses their own proprietary measurements for speed and power, so it's hard to compare them to other machines. Because of this, I decided to run a few experiments and see what times look like on a variety of machines. I started doing this at a time where I had access to both a Glowforge Plus and Pro, and a friend has a Basic (Thanks, Leslie!), so we were able to compare notes that way.

A disclaimer: I have NO IDEA why some of the Glowforge times don't make sense! Like thicker material taking less time… there's no logic to that. I was using default Proofgrade material settings for the Glowforge, and my equivalent settings on the Mira, mostly just the ones I've found that work for the same material. YMMV depending on your personal machine and settings.

Also, as a side note, the Glowforge Plus that I used for this test was a now-discontinued 45 watt model. They now offer a 40 watt tube, so the times should be the same as the Basic on that. I also have a Premium Glowforge account (an optional upgrade for $15 a month) which claims to speed up my file processing time, but should not have any impact on the actual cut or engrave times.

Engraving Speed Test

I grabbed this cute sunflower file from my collection; it's a pretty good example of an engrave I might do, and you can access this file and so many more for a great price over at Design Bundles.

Source File

I set it up as a 7″ wide image, and did my best to replicate the same settings across all machines. I do want to note though, that I normally use a much higher resolution on the Mira for engraving. I wanted to compare it as much the same as I could, so I lowered it to match the Glowforge's default.

I didn't actually run all of these orders, I just processed them to get ready to run and got the times from the Glowforge and Lightburn interfaces, so they are predicted based on the software's calculations, not me standing over them with a stopwatch. lol

Glowforge Basic (40W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 52:05
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 51:51
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 51:02

Glowforge Plus (45W version)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 52:04
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 51:51
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 51:02

Glowforge Pro (45W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 51:48
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 51:42
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 51:02

Aeon Mira9 (90W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 22:21
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 22:34
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 24:00

Cutting Speed Test

I actually ran two separate cut tests, a single word, and then a more intensive papercut design.

Glowforge Basic (40W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 2:49
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 2:16
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 2:32

Glowforge Plus (45W version)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 2:50
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 2:17
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 0:58

Glowforge Pro (45W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 2:11
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 1:55
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 2:10

Aeon Mira9 (90W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 0:38
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 1:10
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 0:58
Source File

Glowforge Basic (40W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 16:10
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 13:06
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 14:33

Glowforge Plus (45W version)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 16:11
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 13:07
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 14:33

Glowforge Pro (45W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 12:32
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 11:09
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 12:29

Aeon Mira9 (90W)

  • Medium 1/8″ Basswood Plywood: 3:41
  • Thick 1/4″ Basswood Plywood: 6:44
  • Medium 1/8″ Acrylic: 5:35

Conclusion

Obviously, the Glowforge is not the fastest laser on the market today, but it is still a wonderful machine for someone who is looking for a plug and play first laser. Its size and price point are both much more attainable for many consumers, and is a great way to get started before you invest in a larger industrial level laser. If you're considering a Glowforge, use my referral link to save $250 off a Plus or $500 off a Pro!

The Aeon series is an excellent next level machine; it's fast, the customer support and training is top notch, and I'm thrilled with my purchase overall. I'm planning to start creating more content for the Mira and Lightburn, so please feel free to let you know if there's anything you'd like to see!

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