Are you feeling overwhelmed with learning to everything about lasers? For many people, there is a lot to learn, and you are not alone if you are feeling this way. I felt overwhelmed in the beginning, too!
This might sound silly, but the best thing to do is to start at the beginning! Just remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! If you have a Glowforge, I recommend starting with the “first prints” from Glowforge?
Don’t expect to learn how to do everything within a week or so. There is a learning curve, and there is such a huge variety of materials and types of projects you can make, it’s going to take some time to master everything. I personally prefer to work my way through different types of projects or making various items from certain materials, taking my time to learn and get comfortable. Then I move on the next thing and work on mastering that.
Overwhelmed with getting designs to use with your CO2 laser?
If you are not yet familiar with creating designs of your own, the best thing to do would be to either:
Learn to make your own designs:
- Look into the various software options
- Take a course to learn how to design vector files
- Search YouTube videos and learn how to create vector files with the software of your choice
- Some purchased designs allow you to customize the design or make alterations
- Sites online that help you design a box, a puzzle, convert a picture or drawing to file for the lasers
- Learn while you create
Get designs from others:
- Files purchased from Glowforge catalog
- Glowforge forum (free designs)
- Etsy or other similar sites that sell designs
- Sites like Forging My Way that offer free files
- Sites like Thingaverse
Feeling overwhelmed looking for software to use?
What software is needed to design files for Glowforge? Some of the more popular ones are:
I personally use Adobe Illustrator most of the time, so that is what I am most familiar with. I do have Inkscape and Silhouette Studio, but once I started using Illustrator, it was what I was most comfortable with. If you are not sure what you want to use, check into each one (some have free trials) and to see what you are most comfortable with and what you can afford before making a decision!
Are you overwhelmed with all of the various options to choose from for materials? I get this. I have SO many ideas for amazing things to make that I start getting torn between trying a new material I haven’t used yet or trying to make all of the designs out of one material.
Here are some suggestions that might help:
- If there are multiple items you want to make that you could make all at once, try combining them into one “print.” For example, I made a cut that included a large circle cut out of something. Then I was able to fit a pair of earrings within that circle. This maximized my use of the material. (You can also just keep your scraps and use them later, but it was nice to get it all done with one print.)
- If you have different materials available, create a design using various materials. For example, you could make a keychain out of wood, one out of acrylic, and one out of leather, and see which you prefer. Maybe they all make awesome keychains and some would work better than others for various designs. Or try something more complex like creating an item that uses different materials, like a wooden sign that has acrylic words.
- Don’t forget to check out more about what materials can be used. You may be surprised at things that you can Glowforge!
Need ideas to get you started creating?
- Create your test prints with things you can use yourself or things you can give as a gift. This allows you to practice without wasting materials. Have a special birthday coming up? I have seen some ideas great party favors that would be very cute! Are you unable to have a party due to the current pandemic? Maybe there is something you can create to make your party at home even more special! Perhaps you could make a special box to hold cards, and have everyone send birthday cards which are kept in the special box and then opened up on the big day? Or have everyone send you a photo of a handwritten birthday message, or email a message and you can engrave these on a photo frame or a special birthday sign!
- Use a magazine or your favorite store for inspiration! Need an idea for something to make? What about that cute shelf you saw on your favorite store’s website? Or that cute family name sign you saw on Facebook?
- Check out the Glowforge Community Forum, especially the “Made with A Glowforge” and “Free Laser Designs” sections!
- Facebook crafting groups are always sharing awesome ideas, many of which could be adapted for the Glowforge!
- How about something practical? What about a pretty lamp made from wood? Or a phone stand? Sometimes great ideas are born out of necessity! Maybe your kid is afraid of the dark and needs a night light. Or your husband keeps losing his keys and needs a place to hang them by the door. Maybe something broke around your house and there’s a small piece that needs to be replaced that you can easily make.
- Pinterest. Instagram. Need I say more? 😀
- Are you stuck inside right now and need to keep your kids busy? How about making a wooden puzzle that they can color or paint? Or an acrylic board they can practice writing or spelling words on, with lines scored or engraved underneath? Or a checkerboard or chess board with custom pieces!
What are your favorite sources of inspiration? Please share below!
Stay tuned for more projects!
Until then, have a great day!