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Prestige593

Calling all Glowforge Owners

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I have been surfing the web, YouTube, FaceBook, and some various forums but coming up short for answers. I recently got a mini desktop laser and have been tooling around with it. So far I'm not that impressed. I have seen a lot online about Glowforge, but never in person. I am asking for the Glowforge owners to give me the Good, Bad, & Ugly. I am not asking for options from people who don't own one, but rather from actual owners/operators. My main purpose will be to laser etch in fine detail on leather to come up with some cool stuff.

Let's hear it....

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I’ve used one pretty extensively on leather at my local maker space. 
 

Good: easy ui. Lots of support from other users on forums including trouble shooting and some free files. Nice sized bed (depending on model you get). Cleaning/routine maintenance is easy. 
 

Bad: we’ve had a lot of problems with ours and when it’s down it takes a long time to get back via warranty service. Could be due to so many different people using/abusing it but I’d recommend looking at the user forums. Also all the processing is done on glowforge’s servers. So you need a stable internet connection and for the company not to go out of business! 
 

feel free to ask any questions. 

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I don't own the Glowforge, so feel free to ignore my comment. But I do own a 90W laser and have some experience using it on leather. You said you're coming up short on answers - what were your questions?

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I have a Glowforge.  Purchased it last fall after using one of the mini lasers for a year.

The Gowforge is a major investment, so working with something less expensive for a while before making the investment as a "proof of concept" for what you are doing is a good idea.  I purchased mine for engraving on leather, I do a lot of personalized items using the laser - I can tool some things but not with the clarity of the laser, and not without spending many more hours than the laser.  I also, wanted to be able to use it for creating durable patterns for my work.  Lastly, I was interested in being able to create embossing plates, for embossing highly detailed images into the leather - again without the time involved with tooling it by hand.

The Glowforge has done a wonderful job with all I wanted from it.  Additionally, I have used it to make various one-off plaques and other pieces I would never have thought of before starting to work with it.  There are cheaper (much) options, but the reason I chose the Glowforge was I wanted something which would do what I want without me needing to try this and adjust that, also, I wanted an interface that would allow me to visually place the image I was engraving and have the accuracy that I could literally engrave right next to stitching, etc. and have it turn out exactly as I wanted.  To me, that justified the expense.

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I have to second everything said above by Prarie Dog. Wonderful machine. I cut 15 wallets with sticking holes, etching custom designs into the at the same time on about an hour... No way I could have 15 "tooled" and ready to sew by hand. It had been a significant investment but will worth it. 

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Did you get a laser yet?

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To all people who are thinking about a glow forge go to any laser forum that is not affiliated with glow forge and see what they say about it. It is easy but!  

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I still have not pulled the plug in a 'real' laser. I did get a small $160 desktop laser that I messed around a bit with. The reason why I am leaning towards the Glowforge is because it seems that they dumb it down for people like me who have no idea what they are doing. I guess its as close to 'plug & play' as can be. Ive checked out some laser forums and it it all seems that they stay away from Glowforge because they can get lasers much cheaper and have more free range as opposed to being married into the Glowforge family.

On a personal note, I just saved up a bunch of money to get a laser............ aaaaaand of course some unforeseen home improvement issues popped up.

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