1. User friendly
Templates and materials available on the Glowforge site make it easy to start with no experience required. Glowforge even provides a stack of free materials to get started with. I was able to make some custom coasters the first day I had my machine.
Within the first week I had successfully cut and built a dinosaur for my daughter!
2. Mac compatible
I am a diehard Mac user, most lasers and their software only work with PCs which is a dealbreaker for me. The Glowforge operates using the Glowforge.com website or the Glowforge app, making more versatile than the other lasers on the market. The interface is intuitive very easy to learn.
3. Strong community
In addition to the great user interface, the Glowforge website also has community forums with everything from free design templates to tips and tricks, all submitted by other users. It is a great place to find answers to common (and uncommon) questions, post photos of your creations, and get inspiration for new projects.
For my business, I needed something powerful enough to cut through 1/2 inch thick wood. At this price point ($5K and less) there are not a lot of options. I looked at the other “hobby” machines but they seem to focus more on engraving and don’t quite have the cutting power I needed. I looked into the machines manufactured in China and sold on eBay, but I was worried about reliability and customer support. In the end, the Glowforge was the best option for me. The 45 watt CO2 laser is able to cut through some hardwoods up to 1/2 inches thick, which is exactly what I was looking for.
5. Proofgrade Materials
The Glowforge has the ability to cut and engrave many different materials, wood, acrylic, leather, cardboard, etc, and there are many places to purchase laser compatible materials on the internet, but Glowforge also manufactures materials specifically made for Glowforge machines. Glowforge’s Proofgrade materials arrive ready to be used with a removable paper sheet and a barcode for the Glowforge to read.
I was reluctant for a long time to purchase these materials because of how much more expensive they are over other materials. The major benefit is that these materials are ready to use straight from the machine. No sanding, staining, or applying finish required. For me, the time savings is worth every penny.
There are many more reasons why I couldn’t be happier with this machine, it has done wonders for my business and my ability to customize for my customers.
Online searches will also uncover criticisms of this machine such as the reliance on wifi to work, after a year of use that has never been a problem for me. I honestly use my Glowforge every day and with regular cleaning and maintenance, it has been extremely reliable.