We’ve been getting a ton of questions about our laser-cut goodies- and the tools we use for them. Here’s a little review of our GlowForge and how we are using it within our stationery business.
We absolutely love to design outside the box (or envelope), and recently we’ve been seeing a lot more requests for laser cut goodies, like place cards, signage, stands, etc. and we decided it was time to add that to the list of services we offer!
The GlowForge has been a great tool for us to make super custom items with a low quantity. In the past when we would request quotes for laser cut items, the minimum quantity was way too high for our needs, and we didn’t have the control over the final product we wanted. This became an issue for control freaks like us.
The GlowForge can cut and engrave a ton of materials, but we are focusing on acrylic, leather, and eventually wood.
We love a good pros and cons list – so here’s our quick and dirty review:
Incredibly easy to set up and use. It said “up and running in 3o minutes” on their site, and we were a little skeptical, but it seriously took 30 minutes from unboxing to be ready for a test cut. We did do a bit of pre-planning, finding the right location in the house, and getting it set up to vent out the window. Unpacking it definitely takes two people, so make sure you have a friend to help!
Cuts acrylic like a hot knife through butter. We purchased it with the main intention of using it to cut custom acrylic place cards, shapes, letters, and other fun goodies. We wanted to be able to sell acrylic blanks to the calligraphy and stationery community, and also provide our clients with some elevated signage. The ‘Forge is PERFECT for that. It cuts acrylic so fast, and so cleanly that it’s just basically magic.
We didn’t have to learn a new design program. Adobe Illustrator is our main design program, and we are now able to design everything in Illustrator and then export it into a file that GlowForge can read and cut/engrave accordingly. It took us a few times to figure out the export settings, but we’ve found that exporting to PDF is the easiest and fastest way to go from design to cut.
It’s very pretty. It has what we call “casino” lighting and makes you feel this sense of excitement every time you open the lid.
There’s a larger community for it. The Facebook groups dedicated to GlowForge have been very helpful in figuring out settings, troubleshooting, and inspiration. We love GlowForge for Beginners and GlowForge World.
It has given us so many more ideas. We have been wanting to expand outside of paper and envelopes for a while, and this is a great way for us to experiment with 3-dimensional items and different forms of design!
Okay, we could talk about all the things we love about it for days – so here are some things we don’t love that much.
It’s large. This is definitely a tool that makes people say “but oh. my. god. is it large.” It’s like 38” by 21”, and you have to allow room for the vent hose (think the hose that comes out the back side of a dryer), and that takes up space. You need to do some pre-planning to make sure you have enough space for it. We are currently using it in the spare bedroom, on a cart with wheels, and that’s been a great solution.
It’s loud. We have to keep the door shut to the room if we are going to be running it for a long time. It’s like someone is running a vacuum and using a hairdryer at the same time. We are looking to get an inline fan, which should cut down on the noise. We’ll keep you updated on that!
There’s a tiny learning curve to figuring out minimum widths for cuts. We wanted to cut out some cute drink stirrers and kept breaking them because we were making the lines too skinny – BUT we used that as a learning experience and now we are rolling along just fine.
The Facebook groups can be a bit misleading. We joined them before we purchased one and it almost put us off from buying it. There are a lot of people out there who have no idea what they’re doing (with business and technology) and that got into our heads a bit and made us have a little bit of doubt. There’s a lot of negativity on Facebook and it’s hard to keep that from sneaking into your subconscious.
It’s expensive. We got the Pro, which is just shy of $6,000. Luckily we got our hands on a coupon code and saved $500.
Hopefully, this shines some light on what it’s really like owning one of these big boys. And if you’re not looking to buy but now you have an idea for a cool custom order, holla at ya’ girls! It took us a solid 3 months to decide to purchase the GlowForge Pro, and now we can’t stop coming up with ideas for things to cut on it!
Save up to $500 on yours by using this link to purchase a GlowForge! Have more questions? We’d love to chat with you on Instagram and answer them – shoot us a message!
Nov 30, 2021