Back in 2015, the Seattle-based startup Glowforge raised a record-breaking $27.9 million over 30 days on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The company offers what it describes as a “3D Laser Printer,” a sleekly designed laser cutter that is capable of making products from leather, paper, plastic, fabric, cardboard, and other materials.
The original Glowforge model was available to Kickstarter backers for $1,995, and later hit shelves with a retail price of $3,995. Since then, Glowforge has raised even money through investors like True Ventures and Foundry Group, which in turn has helped the manufacturer develop more advanced hardware and bring them to the consumer market. Today, the company has three different laser cutters available: the Glowforge Basic, Glowforge Plus, and the Glowforge Pro.
As for the “3D Laser Printer” label, this appears to be more of an appealing marketing term than an accurate description of the technology. In reality, the Glowforge product line includes professional-grade laser cutters that promote accessibility and exceptional quality.
In the following article, we’ll set our sights on the Glowforge Pro, the most advanced model featured by the Seattle-based manufacturer. Let’s review the features and specs of this laser cutter.
The Glowforge Pro is a desktop laser engraver and cutter that is intended for home and office use. It’s compatible with a wide range of materials, including leather, wood, acrylic, glass, fabric, cardboard, and can even engrave metal materials like anodized aluminum and titanium.
Retailing at $5,995, the Glowforge Pro is nearly triple the price of the Basic model, but the manufacturer has integrated a plethora of features that make it better-suited for professional use. The startup claims that the high-end model is faster, able to print large items, and can operate for a longer period of time.
This cutter is an ideal choice for prosumers and small business looking for a versatile and reliable laser cutter. It’s equipped with a highly efficient 45W CO2 laser tube, providing high cutting power and precision of up to 1/1000 of an inch. Designed in-house by Glowforge, the laser tube utilizes a distinct Mode 0′ design, which gives it a greater overall power density.
With a powerful laser tube, the Glowforge Pro model is able to cut through 1/2 inch of hardwood. It has a build area of 11.5 x 20 inches, but the pass-through feature technically makes it possible to engrave materials of unlimited length.
Glowforge has also focused on giving the Pro model enhanced safety features and a longer operational lifespan. For instance, it’s equipped with a built-in closed-loop water cooling system, effectively removing the need for an additional water pump or cooler. The Glowforge Pro also uses an air compressor that blows away the fumes that are generated by the laser beam, preventing ignition and damage to the lens. And, in order to protect the user from the harmful laser beam, fumes, and smoke, the manufacturer has also added a full enclosure to the system.
Other features that make the Glowforge Pro stand out amongst the pack include auto-adjusted optical equipment, which eliminates the need for manual lens adjustment, and a honeycombed baseplate that allows for optimal heat transfer between the air and material.
Both the design and intuitive software of the Glowforge Pro seems to take a page straight out of the Apple playbook. The hardware has a minimalistic and sleek look, giving it a cleaner appearance than most other desktop-sized laser engravers on the market. The body of this laser cutter is comprised of high-quality metal, glass, and plastic, all of which is manufactured via CNC machining.
As for the software, it’s entirely cloud-based and easy-to-use. It includes an intuitive and user-friendly interface packed with various features. One downside to using a cloud-based software is the full dependency on having internet connectivity, but this also comes with benefits like automotive software updates. Moreover, the software is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Linux machines.
Users can also purchase an optional air filter for $995, an integral component for increased safety and elimination of harmful fumes. However, Glowforge states on its websites that customers can also add a 4-inch dryer hose or simply place the machine near a window. It’s a hefty price for an additional part, but as we always say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
And, while the Glowforge Pro is compatible with a number of materials, the manufacturer recommends using its own Proofgrade materials, which enables the machine to automatically determine the optimal settings for perfect cutting and engraving.
It’s important to note that the Glowforge Pro is able to engrave certain metal materials, but it’s not powerful enough to cut through them. As we previously stated, it also requires an internet connection in order to work, which might be a turn-off to some prospective buyers. Nonetheless, the Glowforge Pro is a great option for professionals who want a laser cutter that is both reliable and incredibly easy to use.
Looking for the facts to back up the intriguing features mentioned above? Here are the specs for the Glowforge Pro:
The Glowforge Pro is available at these retailers:
License: The text of "2018 Glowforge Pro – Review the Specs of this Laser Cutter" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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