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Glowforge 3D Laser Cutter/Engraver

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Larry Mortimer, AIA lmort@kmort.com

Do you still like to make cardboard models, but find them too time consuming? Would you like to take your latest design and turn it into a laser cut holiday card or a sign? Well with Glowforge you can easily do that.

What Does It Do: Glowforge is a laser cutting machine that will cut or engrave just about any material including: wood, acrylic, cardboard, paper, fabric, leather, even food. It will also engrave, but not cut, metal, tile, stone, and glass.
System Requirements: You can use a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, iOS, or Android device to upload images and control the machine. It works with any hard copy, photo, or computer generated image in formats such as: JPG, PNG, PDF, EPS, and others.

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What does it cost: $1,995 (Basic model), $3,995 (Pro model), add air filter upgrade to either model for$500.

How Does it Work: Upload an image from your computer or smart device into the machine (Glowforge can also scan a hard copy image in). Next place the material you want to cut or engrave in the machine. Glowforge will determine the material type and send an image to your computer or smart device so you can position it correctly on the material. Then press the button and you’re good to go. The basic model can handle material up to 12” x 20”, while the Pro model can work with material 20” x any length, and both models can cut material up to 1/2” thick.
Pros: It’s faster than a 3D printer, can use recycled materials, is very precise (to 0.001”), and the cut is about the width of human hair. It has a built in scanner/camera, and auto focus so it can work on objects that are not perfectly flat.
Cons: It’s still a bit pricy, requires an outside exhaust (unless the air filter upgrade is added), and it’s not shipping yet (shipping December 2015).
Conclusion: Laser cutters have been around for a while, but have been far too expensive and difficult to use. This machine is so cool I couldn’t pass it up, so I had to order one. Take a look at the three minute video on the site below, and you’ll be amazed too.
More Information and Purchase at: http://glowforge.com

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Box with parts cut on Glowforge

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