When I start talking about my newest obsession, the Glowforge, there are generally two reactions:
- Glow what?
- OMG! I totally want one of those!
Choose your reaction and read accordingly.
“A Glow what? Glowforge?”
For these people, let me explain. A Glowforge is a laser cutter. The company actually calls it “a 3D Laser Printer” but that's a little confusing, and makes a lot of people think it's a 3D printer, the kind that uses filament and makes little plastic things.
This is for cutting and engraving surfaces using a laser. Or as we say around here, “a frickin' laser”
You set it up on your home network like a printer, but instead of ink on paper, it uses lasers on a variety of materials. We've experimented with several types of wood, leather, acrylic and cardboard, but people have even etched on marshmallows and abalone shell!
You can cut shapes out to make things, like boxes and jewelry, or you can etch designs on existing pieces, like plaques and signage.
Check out this video from the company to learn more about what it can do:
Now for the other group of people:
“OMG I totally want one of those!”
You might have seen the ads on Facebook (that's how they got me!) you might be someone who follows crowdfunding trends and saw it there a couple of years ago, or you might just be someone who pays attention to Maker tech and is always up on the latest and greatest of what's available.
Well, I'm here to tell you, the Glowforge really is as cool as it seems! Set up was really easy, from opening the box to our first cut was less than an hour. The process walks you through easily, from opening the box to cutting your first project, a little piece they call “The Gift of Good Measure”
Once I wrapped my brain around how to best set up files (I'm building pretty much everything in Illustrator) I was off and running. In next to no time, I've been able to go from idea to execution in a matter of hours, and am spending more time hunting through the scrap acrylic bin at Tap Plastics than anything else!
The Glowforge can cut a huge variety of materials; so far we've done wood (ply and solid), leather, acrylic and cardboard, but it can also do foam, etch on tile, anodized aluminum and more. If you look closely, you can see pieces of a number of future Christmas presents in my supply stash!
How cool is this edge-lit acrylic lightsaber I made? (Files and instructions coming soon!)
For me, the Glowforge is a logical next step from from my trusty old Silhouette. I have felt creatively stifled for a while, pushing my cutter to do more than it's intended to; I fed pleather and glittered cardstock through that thing, and could practically hear it groan when I'd fire it up for a new project.
The Glowforge takes it all and cuts with ease. The learning curve was less than I expected, and the ideas just keep coming!
I'm working on a post that will have a massive list of things that you can make with the Glowforge, but in the meantime, do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments below or drop me a note on Instagram or Facebook and I'll answer them!
You can also order my custom designed earrings, find those here: More than Thursdays jewelry
Interested in learning more about getting a Glowforge of your own?
I've partnered with Glowforge to get a special offer just for my readers! Use my referral link to purchase and you'll get up to $500 off the purchase price! Glowforge offers affordable financing, so you can get a Glowforge for yourself for as low as $118 a month!