Glowforge

Such as Laser cutters (Must use the phrase 'sharks with frickin lazors' once per thread)
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Glowforge

Postby Highcooley » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:58 pm

Hey guys

I know this topic is not related to SeeMeCnc directly very much, but hey...CNC ist what we all love to play with :D

Stumbling upon http://glowforge.com/ four days ago (perfectly timed by the company with the Tested video and a couple of articles in tech blogs being released all at the same time), they pretty much got me sold on their product. A non fiddely machine with a unique way to operate via optical tracking, line matching, automatic material detection, autofocus, robust design... and the list goes on. On the other hand, the specs of the cutter itself are not super exciting, the price is quite high, they unnecessarily run the optical processing in google cloud, the price for what cutting power you get is very high and they charge $ 1000.- for shipping to Europe.

What do you guys think about this product, what they proclaim, the price and the horrendous shipping cost?

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Andy

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Re: Glowforge

Postby Polygonhell » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:32 pm

If it's really a no mess easy to use laser, the price is reasonable unless your comparing it to Chinese sourced lasers.
I saw a video on YouTube with them loading two different materials and cutting both together.

$1000 shipping to Europe is a bit extreme, but I suspect that given the massive amount they raised on KickStarter, at this point they are probably trying to disuade European orders to minimize the headache they are going to have meeting the current demand.

Given the massive over subscription on KickStarter, it'll likely be another, you might see your machine many months from now if you order today. I very much doubt they planned for the demand and are equipped to meet it unless they are relying on a separate manufacturing company to do final assembly. Even then they will likely have QA issues unless they are used to dealing with outsourced manufacturing.

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Re: Glowforge

Postby Xenocrates » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:44 pm

Having a laser cutter, and some experience with other cutters, the fact they brag about a custom laser tube is a big negative right off the bat. Also, I am slightly dubious as to the ability of it to not require re-alignment. And sealing it afterwards, well, that's another major negative. It also seems to have little to no Z axis traverse, as they don't mention it in motion, thus preventing it from working with tall materials.

Material recognition is a crapshoot. I personally would not trust it, and while all the other software is nice, it's relatively easy to figure out where something will go on a part using a normal cutter (automation technology and Epilog lasers that i've seen both have it), simply by using the test function which outlines it using the alignment laser. I will never want WIFI on a machine tool. Especially if I can't configure it to be well secured, which as far as I can see it doesn't offer. The chances of someone doing something dumb is too high, and the potential for interference is also a major malus. Attempting to claim it doesn't need outside ventilation with a filter is also a red flag to me. Finally, I don't like a plastic chassis. Pretty much every laser I've seen uses sheet steel. I'd worry about a badly mis-focused laser going through the side of the case. Especially as it's a sealed optical system, which makes it harder to adjust for manufacturing or shipping related problems, as well as compensating for wear. It is not a robust design in my opinion. sure, it may not ding or scratch like a metal chassis, but I worry about the mechanical reliability. Autofocus would be nicer if it had a large range than 13MMs. It's not like you can't get a scanner and then trace the scan in corel or similar. I also worry about false positives on the trace. The software seems like it's attempting to merge the functions of GIMP or corel or photoshop with the laser drivers, which I do not like as an idea, even if it does make it easy and nice.

The software is nice.
The interlocks are nice (class one means not dangerous in normal operation, and so could be easily added to the arsenal of a makerspace or job shop without major training as to safety, which sadly is not the case on the pro model)
The cooling is nice. Self contained is a wonderful way of doing it, and I don't doubt they can dissipate that little heat, given the heat that computers can generate in comparison.
The catalog and so on worry me. It's helpful, but just further divides design efforts, and they appear to be trying to monetize it.
The air filter is expensive, and there is no mention of if it will accept standard replacement elements or is just sealed unit that I saw.

Bottom line, I have a cutter, I wouldn't buy the glowforge, but it may well be a better value than an Epilog laser, especially with the software. Not that Epilog lasers are all that great from a value standpoint. I'd go with an automation technology laser if I were you. Admittedly, the manual on the auto laser is poorly translated, and the laser cut software is clumsy. But from a mechanical standpoint I find them far superior. And it's far easier for software than hardware to improve.
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Re: Glowforge

Postby Highcooley » Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:57 pm

Thanks guys for your two quite different opinions. I highly value them and decided for me not to go for a Glowforge (despite the shipping costs anyway).

@Polygonhell: Yea, they probably haven't go to care about Europe with these insane sales.

@Xenocrates: I had the same reservation about the air filter system. Hmm, going for an automation technology laser could be problematic as well to get one shipped from the USA. The prices however are quite reasonable. I found Acctek lasers from China. No idea if the quality is good at all. But they would definitely be cheap to buy :-)

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Re: Glowforge

Postby forrie » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:09 am

The Tested channel on YouTube has a pretty good look at the Glowforge


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Re: Glowforge

Postby Highcooley » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:41 am

forrie wrote:The Tested channel on YouTube has a pretty good look at the Glowforge



Yup, that's the way I first learned about the product. Although, it seems more to be a clever marketing video than an actual review of the product (like many Tested videos nowadays). All the fancy tech marketing slogans are being quoted without any more in-depth information and the likeable founder telling his nicely prepared makerfriendly success story which can be heard all over the internet. It's pretty much the same info you can find on their website under Tech Specs and the perfectly faked FAQ. I wrote them asking, how their TEM00 tube, which they claim in the Tested video to be superior to normal laser tubes, compares to a cheap china laser. The answer was the following:

"Great question- I know the 40/45W laser can cut through most 1/4" plywood in a single pass. You can also flip the piece over and do the cut again from the back- since the Glowforge has internal cameras, it can align the cut with the material, giving you a clean cut through 1/2" material."

Not really any more info than their marketing slogans.

After the first impression wears off, I start getting the feeling that this product is some highly overpriced gimmick. Granted, a home use laser cutter seems innovative and the software as well as the camera system are very nice addons which can help cut setup time. But for the money I probably get a more powerful cutter in a similar quality range.
Last edited by Highcooley on Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Glowforge

Postby jmpreuss » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:25 pm

On some of the other forums I view this pretty much made the project a non-starter

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2015/05/2 ... -start-up/
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Re: Glowforge

Postby Highcooley » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:33 pm

Bre Pettis, Makerbot? No thanks! Bre and Dan could be akin the way they are telling their fabulous stories.

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Re: Glowforge

Postby Polygonhell » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:08 pm

He's just an investor.
As a small company your going to take the money from where you can get it.

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Re: Glowforge

Postby Highcooley » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:24 pm

Polygonhell wrote:He's just an investor.
As a small company your going to take the money from where you can get it.


...True! And of course, Bre is a successful businessman with a gift for doing the right thing at the right time, which I truly admire.

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Re: Glowforge

Postby geneb » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:54 pm

*spits coffee*

Right thing?! Oh yeah, let's build a business on the back of the open source community and then screw them by taking it all closed source! That'll be awesome!

Said nobody, EVER.

(for the delicate snowflakes in the audience, adult metaphor ahead!)

Spoiler:
Buying into ANYTHING he's involved in is like saying, "Sure I'll get screwed by the same guy, but he's using a different dick!" and not only be happy about it, but think it'll somehow be better this time.


Jenny Lawton(?) is also involved with Glowforge and it's my understanding that she's as equal or worse person than Bre is. (She's the one that Stratasys replaced Bre with after they bought Takerbot.)

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Re: Glowforge

Postby Highcooley » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:25 pm

I'll give you that...and I have to point out that I was pissed as well, when they went closed source.

No offense, but this guy saw the right moment to sell 3D printers to hobbyist by telling everybody exciting stories and having a product which worked out of the box. And if it weren't for the big hype about Makerbot, the world would not have gotten interested in hobby 3D printing for the next couple of years and we would still be tinkering with early gen repraps. Instead, there are many cool printers commercially available now, open- and closed-source ones, for every taste with a variety of part options.

Besides that, who said doing business where you earn a shit load of cash was ever fair. [Insert your favorite internet company here] does the same in just a slightly other way.

I envy the shit load of cash, of course...unfortunately, I had to learn in life that it is never the clever engineer or the genius programmer who gets the fame but some smooth-tongued dude with barely a clue about the product he is promoting.

a.

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Re: Glowforge

Postby Captain Starfish » Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:34 pm

More reviews on CNC world paint a pretty bleak picture:
- maker faire, three machines and not one of them working.
- no fume extraction which is pretty important when cutting plastic.
- no air assist.

Essentially, a crappy 40W engraver in a very sexy box backed by a very good marketing team and the shadiest of the shady in the 3D hobby manufacturing industry?

Yeah, sign me up for two. :roll: :lol:

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Re: Glowforge

Postby jmpreuss » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:27 pm

Highcooley wrote:No offense, but this guy saw the right moment to sell 3D printers to hobbyist by telling everybody exciting stories and having a product which worked out of the box.


Bre is great at self promotion but he has never, ever had a product that worked out of the box. I have the best printer makerbot ever made, the replicator 2. I am very fond of that machine, but it couldn't print more than 30 minutes at a time out of the box. Today it can print for days on end. Why? Because the community fixed every single design issue in it. How was the community rewarded? Without notice the google group was shut down after there was too much honest discussion about the replicator gen 5. No, I would not have much confidence in any Bre backed project.
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