Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Have Laser, Will... leave it sitting on the table because it is freaking heavy!

A new toy arrived today- my Glowforge laser cutter/engraver (I refuse to call it a laser printer, like the company does, because it isn't), which I purchased on pre-order and have been waiting on for over two years worth of delays. I swear to the gods, if this thing was delayed one more time I was going to cancel my order. Of coarse, that's what I said the last time it was delayed too.


There is surprisingly little in the way of customer reviews out there for this machine. Probably because no one had received theirs until very recently. But that's not really the focus of this blog, so I'm just going to show you my first test item to come off of the machine.

This is made from 1/8 inch thick hard maple, that came with my machine. The company sells a line of "proofgrade" materials that they have vetted and calibrated for use in the machine. They come with a peel off film on both sides to prevent scorching of the surface from the engraving process, and there is a QR code sticker on it that the machine can recognize and so it automatically adjusts its power and speed setting for material density and thickness. It's convenient and a novel idea, but the proofgrade materials are far too expensive to use regularly. I will have to practice with some of my own materials and settings.

The pattern for this test item was created in Inkscape, and took about ten minutes. Would have been faster, but I have to get used to checking to make sure I am using the correct fill and stroke settings, as that is what the Glowforge UI pays attention to when reading your image. At least I can say that my first item came out perfect on the first try! Though I did have an issue with the UI working properly in Firefox. Once I switched to Chrome, the issue disappeared. The software is still in development, so hopefully new features will be added, and bugs fixed in the near future. Print time for this small token was two and a half minutes.

I know a lot of you have been wondering if I would ever return to posting here. To which I say- yes, but maybe not soon, and probably not as often as I had been. I am currently working on one new project, but it may take a little while. It is already a month and a half behind schedule. I have one or two old projects that I wanted to post, but I never seem to find the time to take pictures of them. But this new laser cutter/engraver may just be the instigation I need to get moving again. I am already thinking of dozens of things to make with it. And I had better get started, 'cause it's going to take quite a while to recoup the cost of this machine.