GLOWFORGE REVIEW, UNBOXING & SET-UP


Hello Everyone! Ken here with Ken's Kreations! Many of you are aware that I am a HUGE fan of cutting machines. Since 2014 I have bought and reviewed some of the top selling consumer based cutting machines. In the past 6 years I have reviewed, compared and even returned a few of these machines. Because of these reviews, I built an audience based around unbiased honest reviews. So, when I saw a kickstarter for a laser cutting machine, I was intrigued until I saw the price (more on that in our review)

Now, before I dive into the review and my thoughts, I wanted to clearly communicate that this is NOT a 3D printer.  3D Printers have been all the rage recently, but they are not geared towards the craft market. Sure Silhouette America has recently released their Alta 3D Printer geared towards the craft market, but it is not exactly what I was looking for. Why? Well  3D Printers can make 3D items by extruding plastic, but what if you want a tool for cutting and etching? As a crafter I was limited to the home based machines that were available to me. But which machine would work for me needs? What machine could really impact my DIY world.

As a crafter/DIYer I have reviewed and compared a ton of crafting machines on my YouTube Channel. On my YouTube Channel, I have reviewed the Cricut Explore Air 2Silhouette CameoBrother ScanNCut and the Cricut Maker


 In addition to these reviews, I also did a whole video series comparing these machines so consumers could get their hands on the best machine. I know that money is the #1 factor in deciding on a cutting machine, so my mission was to get the information out to the consumer in a non-biased way. 



Now, up to this point, the BEST MACHINE that suited my needs would have been the Cricut Maker. It offered over 4,000 grams of force and offered a suite of tools called the Adaptive Tool System which gave the consumer to cut thousands of materials from fabric to wood. So, when the Glowforge hit the market my followers started sharing the Facebook Ads instantly with me. At the time, I looked at the price and kindly moved along as it was $2,500! Compare to the Cricut Maker at $349. I just could not justified the cost. With that said, I started to take notice of what consumers and business owners were making with this machine.

Naturally as crafters we grow and evolve in our craftsmanship. I started my journey as a paper crafter but then was introduced to Chalk Couture. If you are not sure what that is and want to find out more, I highly recommend taking a peek at this This Blog Post (By Clicking Here) or This Post On How To Experience Chalk Couture in addition to my Chalk Couture YouTube ChannelChalk Couture opened my eyes to the DIY trend happening all across america. With this trend comes the need for a suite of tools (or machine) that would allow me to cut items that my Cricut Maker just could not handle. Naturally I started to look at Laser CuttersLaser Cutters are powerful devices that can create intricate shapes and detailed etchings on plastics, woods and even metals. Now that I had a need, my attention went straight to the Glowforge that had been shared numerous times with me.


Glowforge produces Laser Cutters that are compact and affordable enough for a small business or a hobbyist who needs more power. Now, for me the cost was the biggest con for me. With that said, Glowforge  does allow for a discount of UP TO $500 OFF when you use our link here: https://glowforge.us/r/LXEBYBTT. The reason I am disclosing this, is the price list below reflects a user gaining access to the discount! Now, keep in mind of your LONG TERM goals for this machine. I mention this as we started with the Glowforge Basic and with-in months upgraded to the Glowforge Pro. So, let's take a look at the three options



The machine options are as follows:
Glowforge Basic with a cost of $2395 (With Our Discount Link)
Glowforge Plus with a cost of $3745 (With Our Discount Link)
Glowforge Pro with a cost of $5495  (With Our Discount Link)



We bought the Glowforge Basic, however in hindsight of what this machine can do I wish we would have went with the Glowforge Pro. Why? Well the Glowforge Pro is the same size as the other machines but can print/cut larger objects with the pro passthrough slot. It has an upgraded cooling system for all day use. It also features upgraded components and increased laser power, with top engraving speeds 3 times as fast as the Glowforge Basic and cutting speeds 1.2 times as fast. The Glowforge Pro has double the warranty and is also a Class 4 laser. Not sure which model is right for you? Take a peek at this Comparison Chart.  

Now your Glowforge exhaust fan is an important element, as is the included four-inch exhaust duct hose. The hose is vital because the Glowforge engraves by burning whatever material you're working with. Whether you're burning Wood or Etching Acrylic , this creates unpleasant fumes that must be ventilated for safety. You can run the hose out of a window or into the optional $995 Compact Filter.


The Compact Filter lets you use your Glowforge anywhere in your home, school, or office. The size of a recycle bin, it cleans the air coming out of your Glowforge. If you do not use a Compact Filter, your Glowforge comes with everything you will need to vent through a window. 

The Glowforge shipped with-in two weeks and let's just say it is a pretty big package. Now I could write and record us unboxing and setting up the Glowforge, but why do this when Glowforge has made this process so easy!


I have to say I was so impressed with how easy the Unboxing & Set-Up was for this machine. The one thing I highly recommend is to read their post on Unboxing & Set-Up and watch the Official Videos On The Glowforge YouTube Channel. Follow these easy steps and watch these videos to see how easy it is to Unboxing & Set-Up your new Glowforge. The box also comes with a sticker that instructs the user to head to setup.glowforge.com .







The Glowforge Pro is about the size and shape of a large-format printer, measuring 8.25 by 38 by 20.75 inches (H/W/D). Its hefty impression is enhanced by the large slot on the front, an aspect unique to the Pro to accommodate work pieces larger than 20 by 18 inches (the workable area of the bed is 19.5 by 11 inches, but Glowforge lasers can hold pieces that exceed that space). You're still limited to 19.5 inches of width, but you can slide work pieces of any length through the Pro. The top flips open to reveal the working area, and the front panel flips downward to provide more clearance for moving work pieces into position.

Besides the door, the only other element of note on the top of the laser is a metal-ringed, illuminated start button (this is what starts the MAGIC). After you send instructions from your PC or MAC to the Glowforge, the button will flash, indicating it's ready to begin. Pressing the button will start the process. I still get excited pressing that BUTTON! 



Now that you have Unboxing & Set-Up on your Glowforge, you are ready to experience the amazing power of this machine. I know at first, it can be intimidating, but once you start playing with the machine you are going to have so much fun! The Glowforge Pro uses a 45-watt CO2 laser that qualifies as a regulated Class IV laser product. According to the company, it can engrave 150 percent faster than the Glowforge Plus and three times faster than the Glowforge Plus, which rely on 40-watt lasers. While the Pro is more powerful, its cutting and engraving capabilities are identical to the Plus and Basic. Its big benefit, besides the slot for large work pieces, is speed. All three Glowforge models can cut Acrylic, Fabric, Leather, Paper, Wood, and nearly any other material softer than Plexiglass. They can also engrave (but not cut) anodized aluminum, ceramic, glass, marble, titanium, and other hard materials.



 To use your Glowforge you will utilize the Glowforge Web App. By purchasing the the Glowforge, you will have also created a Glowforge account. This account will be your credentials to use the Glowforge Web App. The Glowforge Web App gives you the ability to:


  • View/Preview The Bed Of Your Glowforge Utilizing The Camera View
  • Trace Items Put In The Glowforge Utilizing The Camera View 
  • Upload Image Files
  • Engrave Utilizing Any File Format (JPEG, PNG)
  • Cut Utilizing Vector File Format (SVG)
  • Align and Scale Your designs
  • Set The Type Of Material To Be Burned, Etched, Engraved or Cut
  •  Start your project. 
It's a fairly direct, intuitive system that lets you set multiple image files for one burn and individually place and scale each component before starting the project. Now keep in mind that the Glowforge Web App does not allow for you to design items inside the application. So, items you want to Burn, Etched, Engraved or Cut will need to be bought or created in a third party software. I personally buy many of my SVG files from Etsy or the Silhouette Online Store, which allows you to purchase their designs in a SVG format. You can also make your own vector files using Adobe Illustrator


The Glowforge Web App features dozens of material presets to work with. However one of my favorite features of the Glowforge is the introduction of the QR codes found on materials bought from the company (or included in the sample project kits bundled with the cutter). CLICK HERE to see all of the materials offered by Glowforge as part of their Proofgrade Materials. I love using this feature as the camera scans the QR code and automatically set the laser correctly. No need to worry about getting all of the settings correct. 

With that said, you can also configure burns manually using a variety of adjustments such as laser speed and intensity. I find that plywood and draft board presets work very well for those materials found online or at your local hardware store. You can also use the community generated setting guide in the Beyond The Manual section. In fact, I highly recommend taking a peek at this user generated settings document Found Here.



We have only had this machine a little over 6 months, but we have already had a blast creating amazing projects. Before I share off just a sample of things we have done, I want you to keep in mind a few things we have learned:


  • Engraving items is time-consuming, especially if they're detailed. 
  • The Glowforge app has multiple settings for drawings and photos
  • Including Draft, SD, HD, and 3D Graphics and SD, HD, and 3D Photos. 
  • Most graphic/photo settings use dithering to create different levels of light and dark. 
  • The 3D settings vary the laser intensity to create deeper burns for darker parts of an image.
  • The time required varies wildly depending on the size and detail of the burn. 
  • A Draft Graphic burn of an 8-by-12-inch piece of acrylic might take an hour and a half.
  • A 3D Photo burn might take three and a half hours. 
  • HD Photo burn could take over six. 
  • Cutting is much faster, taking only a few minutes to carve out flat pieces of acrylic or wood.
  • Be aware of potentially hazardous fumes when using the Glowforge. 
  • EXHAUST out a window or use the compact filter.
  • Not doing so will result in hazardous fumes in your workspace.
  • These include harmful vaporized wood or plastic which isn't something you want in your lungs.
  • Lasers are nearly silent, but your burns/engraving will be very noisy.
  • With the duct hose running out of a window, the laser's built-in fan will spin quite loudly. 
  • With the hose plugged into the compact filter, the filter's equally loud. 
  •  However, you safely configure it. The Glowforge simply isn't a quiet device.
  • The smell of burning wood when cutting is normal, as is a bit of smoke
  • When etching acrylic, it will smell equivalent that of a nail salon.


We have made a variety of test prints on acrylic and wood, mostly creating cutouts for our Chalk Couture business, coasters, and signs for high school reunions. Here are some of our unedited projects and videos. Please keep in mind this video is not edited and shows some cutting, etching and photos. 




Now that you have seen all of the amazing things the Glowforge can do, now you just need to use our link to save up to $500 off! 

Glowforge Basic with a cost of $2395 (With Our Discount Link)
Glowforge Plus with a cost of $3745 (With Our Discount Link)
Glowforge Pro with a cost of $5495  (With Our Discount Link)

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