I’m the proud owner of a Glowforge! Find out what a 3D Laser Printer is, what you can make with it, and TONS more! Get all of the information you need to know BEFORE buying a Glowforge!
I have wanted a Glowforge for several years, since they launched a massive crowdfunding campaign. I finally bought one several months ago, and it has lived up to the hype! Definitely consider this a positive Glowforge review (actually more of a post enabling your purchase haha!) Find out EVERYTHING there is to know about the Glowforge, from price, which model you should buy, what file formats you need for the best cuts, sources for laser-compatible materials, and more!
What is a Glowforge 3D Laser Printer?
If you’ve never heard of Glowforge, be prepared to be amazed! It’s a desktop “3D Laser Printer,” which means it’s a machine that uses a tiny but powerful focused beam of light (laser) to cut, engrave, and score various materials at the width of a human hair.
It is the first consumer-grade laser cutter that is popular with hobbyists and professionals alike. It’s a crafter’s dream (and it’s been mine for a really long time!) It is precise, impressive, and most importantly, user friendly for the general public.You truly can create a beautiful print at the push of a button! You will be in love after your first print!
What Can You Make With a Glowforge?
You can make all sorts of home decor, crafts, jewelry, custom framing, classroom signs, architectural models, and more! You can even engrave food (like macarons and chocolate!) and some electronic items (like certain laptops *cough* MacBook *cough*.) The options are truly endless. I’m really excited to make personalized leather pet collars for our new puppies.
I have made loads of projects with my Glowforge, and I’ll link all of the current posts (with more to come!) I have here:
- How to Use a Single Line SVG File
- DIY Acrylic Halloween Earrings
- Laser Cut Wood Keychain from Handwriting
What Materials Can You Use with a Glowforge?
The Glowforge can cut or engrave:
- EVA (Rubber)
- Other Natural Items
- Pre-made Items like Cutting Boards
It can cut a ton of materials up to 1/4″ thick with a single pass, and you can engrave the surface of materials up to 2″ thick. (2 inches is the thickest material that will fit in the machine).
Where Can You Buy Glowforge Materials?
My favorite place to order Glowforge materials is right on the Glowforge website. Glowforge offers a wide array of what they call Proofgrade materials that are specially made and tested with the Glowforge. With the onboard cameras, your machine will read a special QR code on the material and will customize the settings just for that material.
They are very good materials, and I don’t have to worry about quality or harming my machine when I order proofgrade products. Although they do sell out frequently and can be expensive, so I have been trying other places!
Can I Use Other Brand Materials with My Glowforge?
Yes! You can definitely buy and use a wide variety of materials to use with your machine. They may not all cut alike, though, so you have to be careful to do test cuts and not damage your machine. I put all of the supplies I get from Amazon in my Storefront (I have a whole Glowforge category!) and I’ve also bought supplies from small businesses on Etsy with great success! If you’re careful with the quality of material you choose, you can also pick up materials at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot!
I have an Amazon Storefront with some of my favorite materials that I’ve tested on my Glowforge – I’ll keep updating it as I test materials, too!
Which Glowforge Model Should I Buy?
There are 3 different Glowforge machines: Plus, Pro, and the new Glowforge Aura. (The Basic model has been discontinued as far as I know.) They all achieve the same end result, but the Pro is more powerful and faster than the Plus. The Aura is a diode laser machine and is NOT comparable to the Performance CO2 machines. If you would like more information about Diode vs. CO2 laser machines, check out my FREE Beginner’s Guide to Lasers eBook!
The Pro is the fastest (120% cut speed), has a stronger laser tube (powerful 45-watt laser instead of 40W in the Plus), and the Pro also has an exclusive pro passthrough slot that allows you to cut long materials at an infinite length. In addition, you can cut for longer periods with a pro without stopping to cool in comparison to the basic model.
I decided to purchase the Pro model, mostly for the increased cut speed and solid state cooling.
How Much Does a Glowforge Cost?
The Glowforge Plus is $4995, and the Pro is $6995. They are not cheap – but the potential to make back your money is REAL. Plus, I can save you some money (keep reading!)
Are There Glowforge Coupons?
They don’t offer major sales, or coupons (or at least I’ve never seen one)…BUT…as a Glowforge owner, I’m able to SAVE YOU UP to $500 on a Glowforge machine! Just click this link:
You’ll save $250 on the Plus and $500 on the Pro machine. That’s how I purchased my Glowforge – through the link of a friend. It’s a GREAT WAY to have your Glowforge pay for itself, too. When you purchase your Glowforge, you’ll get your own referral link to share with your friends! Once they see all of the amazing things you’re making, they’ll definitely want one!
You can also order your Glowforge on Amazon and save some money if you have an Amazon Visa card.
How Big Is a Glowforge?
The machine itself is 38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″ and weighs a little over 50 pounds. The maximum printable area is approximately 11″ x 19.5″. You’ll need a relatively large, flat, sturdy surface to set it on. I purchased the Husky Workbench with 9 Drawers that you see in the pictures above. It is AMAZING! I can store a ton of materials and it is heavy duty. Plus, it has its own power strip on the side so I can charge my devices right there.
You can use it inside, in a garage, or craft shed, but you’ll need to have a window to vent it out of, or purchase the Glowforge Air Filter that is available as an additional purchase. It’s a compact filter system and if you have no other choice, it will work. As a warning, you will have to replace the air filters frequently which can get expensive. Everyone that I know that bought the air filter has since moved their machine next to a window.
I have it in my craft room on a large tool chest, and I chose to vent it right out a window.
Is a Glowforge Noisy?
It’s not all that noisy, but it’s not as quiet as a Cricut or Silhouette machine. I compare it to the noise of a loud vacuum.
What Software Do You Use With a Glowforge?
To use your Glowforge, you need to have an internet connection. The Glowforge app runs and connects to your machine on a web browser via an internet connection. I will say that this is part that is hard to get used to. You’ll need to use their web interface in order to cut anything. It makes complete sense, but if you have a slow internet connection, it may slow down your cutting process.
Glowforge has a catalog of compatible files that you can browse and purchase, but you can design your own as well. You can also sign up for their Premium Access subscription which includes designs for free, a monthly fil that is usually valued around $20, and also access to their fastest processing servers.
If you are interested in creating your own designs, the easiest digital file to use is a SVG file. You will need a program like Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, or even Silhouette Studio. You can also design in Adobe Photoshop, but since it does not have the capability to save as an SVG, you’ll need to convert in another program anyway.
One function of the Glowforge that is REALLY cool is that you can use your Glowforge to scan your own drawings that you’ve made with a pen or marker to then engrave or cut!
Can You Make Money with a Glowforge?
Absolutely! In addition to the referral program that I’ve mentioned above, it’s entirely possible to design and create products that you can sell on Etsy, at craft stores, or other websites. I have an entire post dedicated to making money with your Cricut Maker, and most of the same principles apply to a Glowforge! If you want to use it for just personal use, you can refer your friends and still make money.
As long as your projects are professional and creative, you’ll be selling them before you know it! Check out some of the laser cut products that sellers have on Etsy to see what is popular right now!
Should I Buy a Glowforge?
In one word: absolutely. It’s so exciting and I feel like between it and my Cricut machines in my craft room, I can make ANYTHING. Plus, think of all of the birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and home decor you can make! I personally feel if you are a moderately experienced crafter, there is a very small learning curve to being proficient with a Glowforge.
Is a Glowforge Worth the Money?
Having owned mine now for several months, I have to say that I still LOVE it. It is a big investment but it is a machine that I have coveted since Glowforge was on Kickstarter several years ago. I think that you should be smart about the decision and decide what your goals are when buying one. If it’s just that you want to craft amazing things, that’s awesome. But if you’re worried about selling the items that you can make with your Glowforge, I suggest setting a realistic plan and goals to determine if the price is worth it to you.
I have been able to create jewelry, signs, gifts, home decor, and even items that we can use on our Disney trips! I plan to share a ton more content, so bookmark this post and follow along to see what I am currently making!
Is there a Glowforge Alternative?
The short answer is: yes. My favorite brand of laser machines that compare to the Glowforge Pro are the xTool Laser Craft Machines. I have several reviews of their machines, and I really like them!
Interested in an xTool Laser? Read more!
There are of course commercial grade laser cutters as well. I do not have enough information on any of them to say which is better or worse. I didn’t look around, but I decided to go with the Glowforge because of the effort they put into making user friendly software and a reputation of producing consistent, foolproof cuts. I’ve also found since I bought my machine that there is a smart, supportive community of new Glowforge owners, too!