The Glowforge Pro is the ultimate option for home, business, or school. It prints truly enormous objects like furniture with the exclusive Pro Passthrough
- It is very powerful Laser Printer
- Ability to etch detailed images on different types of materials.
- Simple to Operate
- Quite Expensive and Huge in size
- Not everyone needs a Material feeder
Glowforge, a startup based out of Seattle, USA had a run on Kickstarter in 2015. It was able to raise $27.9 million on the crowdsourcing platform, which was a record in itself.
The company designs and sells a sleek “3D Laser Printer,” that uses laser cutting technology to create products using many types of materials. These include paper, plastic, cardboard, cloth, and other types of materials.
The initial Glowforge model was being pitched on Kickstarter for $1,995 to its early buyers. And thereafter it went on sale for $3,995 in the retail market.
Thereafter, the startup has received more investment from venture capital funds such as Foundry Group and True Ventures.
This has helped Glowforge to launch other similar products with even more advanced technology.
When it comes to the moniker “3D Laser Printer,” it has become more of a marketing buzzword than a true representation of the technology.
As a matter of fact, the products from Glowforge can be best described as easy to use high-quality laser cutters. Glowforge Pro is a most advanced design offered by the Seattle-based firm.
Build and Design
The Glowforge Pro is as huge as a large format printer in design. It measures 8.25″ (H) x 38″ (W) x 20.75″ (D).
The big slot on its front, which is distinctive to the Pro, allows it to accept large parts as big as 20″ x 18″. This further adds to its huge appearance.
Though construction bed space is 19.5″ x 11″, the lasers from Glowforge can work on even wider work parts.
The top panel opens to display the work space, and the front panel opens to allow extra clearance for sliding work parts into place.
A metal-ringed, lit start button is the only other notable feature on the laser’s top side, aside from the door. The button will blink once it receives instructions from the computer to the printer, referring to its print-ready status. The process will begin when one presses this button.
On the back side of the printer are a round exhaust fan vent, a power cord connector, and a power switch.
An exhaust fan along with a 4″ exhaust duct hose, are essential components of the printer.
The hose is essential as the printer engraves on the work material by burning on it. Be it undertaking acrylic etching or burning through wood, the process can generate noxious vapors. These need exhuming for safety reasons.
The hose can be routed through a window or into a small filter (optionally purchased for $995). This consists of a compact box with an in-built fan to pull in the unhealthy fumes. This will not require using any external ventilation.
The Packed Box
The following items come bundled with the Glowforge Pro packing list:
- The Glowforge Pro 3D Laser Printer
- Laser Head from Glowforge having a macro camera for autofocus
- A Power cable
- Replacement Tool for Magnetic lens
- Crumb Tray made of steel
- The Exhaust hose
- Hose Connection Ring clamps
- Pro Shields
The Glowforge Pro’s specifications are as follows:
- External Dimensions : 965mm x 527mm x 210mm
- Dimension of Air filter : 965mm x 527mm x 178mm
- Depth of Material – Maximum : No Limit
- Width of Material – Maximum : 515 mm
- Area of Cutting : 495 mm wide / 279 mm deep
- Height of Material – Maximum : 50mm
- Height plus Tray – Maximum : 13mm
- Material Type for : Fabric, Leather, Wood, Paper, Plexiglass, Cardboard, Delrin,
- Cutting and Engraving Rubber, Mylar, Sandpaper, Cork, Food, etc.
- Engraving Only : Marble, Glass, Stone, Rubber stamps, Ceramic tile, Titanium, Anodized aluminum, etc.
Software and Connectivity Specs:
- Connections : Windows, Mac, Linux, Mobile devices
- File Types : PNG, JPG, PDF, and SVG and other file types
- Wide Angle Camera : Lid Mounted, Complete Print Area View, 0.25″ (6mm) Accuracy
- Larger Camera : Head Mounted, Close Up View with AutoFocus, 0.004″ (0.1mm) Accuracy
- Type of Laser : CO2 Laser – Proprietary CO2 Laser Tube of Glass with non-stop operation of 10,600 nm; 45 watts rating.
- Alignment : Optical system factory set
- Sealed Lens (Optics) : Encased optical path with Windows that can be cleaned and replaced also offers protection.
- Casing : Molded Plastic made with High modulus injection
- Lateral System : Proprietary Extruded Aluminum rails aligned in linear with a v-wheel carrier with belts.
- For Motion : Twin hybrid stepper for Y-axis; One hybrid stepper for X axis
- For Cooling : Circular enclosed internal cooling.
- Assist for Air : Internal without needing external compressor hookup
- Ideal Temperature to Operate : 16℃ -27℃
The Glowforge Pro is a laser engraver and cutter designed for use in the home and workplace. It works with a variety of materials. Such as leather, wood, cardboard, acrylic, glass, and cloth, as well as metals like titanium and anodized aluminum.
Glowforge Pro is roughly three times the price of the Basic model, at $5,995. But the company has included a slew of functions that makes it more suitable for commercial use.
The high-end model, according to the firm, is speedier, can print larger products, and can run for extended amounts of time.
This laser printer is great for experts and small firms who need a robust and dependable laser cutter.
The machine comes with a CO2 laser of 45W, one that is extremely efficient. This laser has a powerful slicing function with an accuracy of 1/1000 per inch. The laser tube was created by Glowforge in-house. As a result, it employs a distinctive Mode 0′ architecture. The laser is built to provide a higher density of power in totality.
The Glowforge Pro model can slice through half an inch of hardwood thanks to its powerful laser tube.
It has a construction area of 11.5″ x 20″, but because of the pass-through capability, engraving materials of any length is possible.
Glowforge has also concentrated on improving the Pro model’s safety measures. As well as extending its operating life.
It has a close looped, integrated cooling system using water as a coolant. This eliminates the need for a separate cooler or water pump.
An air compressor is also used by the Glowforge Pro to blow off the gases produced by the laser light. This avoids any sort of burning and lens damage.
The company has also incorporated a full device enclosure to protect the user from the hazardous laser light, gases, and smoke.
The Glowforge Pro comes with an auto-corrected optical gear. This does away with the need for manual correction of the lens.
There is also a perforated base plate that permits efficient heat exchange between the atmosphere and the material.
These are the two key features that differentiate the Glowforge Pro from the competition.
The Glowforge Pro’s design and user-friendly software has a slick experience. One feels like using a product from Apple.
The hardware is sleek and basic, making it look neater than similar laser engravers in the desktop space. The printer’s body is built using CNC machined sturdy metal, plastic, and glass.
The software is simple to use and makes use of the cloud platform. It comes with an elegant and sleek UI that has numerous functions.
One disadvantage of utilizing an application using the cloud is the complete reliance on an online connection. Yet, there are advantages such as automatic updates to the software. Furthermore, the app works on Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux PCs.
For $995, users can add an air filter, which is essential for greater safety and the removal of toxic gases. Users may also use the 4-inch dryer hose or simply set the machine near a window.
This machine works with a variety of materials. Yet, the company suggests using Proofgrade materials. As this allows the machine to tune into the ideal settings for efficient engraving and cutting.
It’s crucial to remember that while the Glowforge Pro can engrave some metals, it lacks the strength to cut through them.
As indicated before, the system is also dependent on an online connection. This may be a deterrent to some potential consumers.
Nonetheless, the Glowforge Pro is an excellent choice for professionals. Someone who is looking for a laser cutter that is both dependable and simple to operate.
Using Light to Cut
The Glowforge Pro is equipped with a 45-watt CO2 laser. This is considered as a Class IV laser system. This also means the machine can engrave 150 percent as fast as the Glowforge Plus and three times quicker than the Basic model. Both of the latter models make use of a laser system of 40W.
Though the Pro has more power, there is no difference in the engraving and cutting abilities of the all three models. Aside from the slot for huge work items, the Pro’s main advantage is its speed.
The Laser system of these machines permits working on a variety of materials. These can be cloth, acrylic, leather, wood, paper, and anything that is gentler than plexiglass.
Porcelain, anodized aluminum, glass, titanium, marble and other hard materials can also be engraved. However, they cannot be cut.
Following are some of the common questions being asked by consumers:
Is the Glowforge Pro safe?
Yes, The Glowforge is safe to use in the classroom thanks to a number of safety features.
Are there any lesson plans available?
The online community forum is a wonderful place to get project ideas.
What materials are compatible with Glowforge?
Plywoods, Hardwoods, cloth, cardboard, leather, Plexiglas, paper, acetal, rubber, mylar, food, corian, and more can all be cut with a Glowforge machine. It can also engrave coated metal, glass, aluminum, marble, titanium, and few consumer electronics.
Is it difficult to use Glowforge?
Not in the least! In around 30 minutes, one can go from unpacking to the first print.
What makes Glowforge different from a standard 3D printer?
Layer by layer, a standard 3D printer builds up material, such as plastic filament. It is slow and builds objects out of a single substance. This method is called additive production.
Glowforge takes a piece of material, such as wood, leather, or acrylic, and uses a beam of laser light to carve out a design, a process known as subtractive production.
Following are the salient features of the software that come with the Glowforge Pro:
- The Glowforge interface is simple and powerful, allowing one to print in minutes.
- Macs, Chromebooks, PCs, Linux machines, and a variety of mobile devices all support the Web interface (using Internet)
- PNG, JPG, SVG, PDF, are the file types among others that are supported.
- It comes with a drag-and-drop function and a preview using real-time camera updates to assist users in placing designs on the material.
- Without requiring use of designing software, one can scan and print drawings without much effort.
- Integrated with the software is a library of customizable and premium, off-shelf-print designs.
Capability of Materials
The Glowforge Pro may print on any material compatible with cutting and engraving using lasers such as the ones listed below. Proofgrade materials are recommended by the Glowforge for auto configuration and excellent outcomes.
For Engraving and Cutting
- Plexiglass / Acrylic
- Delrin / Acetal
- Rubber stamps
- Ceramic tile
- Anodized aluminum
Safety of Operation
Following are the safety norms followed by Glowforge Pro:
- Certified to UL specifications
- If there are any unexpected motions or jerks, safety sensors will alert using an alarm.
- On the occurrence of an overheating situation, safety sensors will alert using an alarm.
- When the performance of the fan varies, safety sensors will alert using an alarm.
- All safety training content is provided with this laser device of class 4 category.
- TUV Rheinland has certified this product to CAN/CSA-C22.2 NO. 60950-1-07 (R16) and UL/ANSI/IEC 60950-1-07 standards.