Our Glowforge has made us quite a bit of money this year, with part time work! I've been reading tons of stories of others having MASSIVE success, and because the ideas are so plentiful… I knew I had to share.
Glowforge: My Best Money-Maker to Date (and How to Afford One of Your Own!)
Are you ready to buy a Glowforge and make your first $10,000? Let's start with paying the machine back – we will talk about prices below. Then, it's to infinity and beyond! 🙂 This laser cutter is powerful and amazing and a blessing to our business!
You'll find my affiliate links in this article. If you want to save money on a Glowforge, use my referral link to save $100-$500 off (depending on model).
Also, bookmark my Glowforge cheat sheet for tons of best-selling ideas to get you started!
What is a Glowforge?
The Glowforge 3D laser printer creates beautiful things at the push of a button. It's a laser cutter with a simple interface.
I chose the Glowforge for my business because I knew I didn't need a big woodworking space, or workshop, to get started. I moved my Cricut over, moved a bigger table in, and we were ready to go within the hour.
Do I need a Glowforge?
The answer to this question is always “YES!!”, but there are a few things to know before jumping in and buying such an expensive piece of equipment!
I make money every time a new customer buys a Glowforge through my link, but that's not why I promote it. I promote the Glowforge because a business like this can – and will – change your life.
Who should buy a Glowforge?
Anyone who wants to start a business from home without having to invest hundreds of hours into planning their business out from scratch. The Glowforge takes you from “newbie business owner” to “omg what am I going to do with all of these orders?!” in no time flat, if that's what you want!
You choose how many orders to accept, but just know that when you set up shop, you will be in high demand. Even with more and more people purchasing a Glowforge, the average person will not be buying one as a hobby machine.
The competition isn't bad at all. The Glowforgers are like a community and we help each other out.
Who shouldn't buy a Glowforge?
If you're looking for a business that's hands-off, a Glowforge isn't the way to go. You're going to be putting your laser cutter to work for several hours a day if you turn it into a business. It's not hands-off at all.
However, it's also not like woodworking where you're in the garage for hours and hours to come up with a product that someone only wants to pay $50 for.
The Glowforge increases your ROI drastically. For example, you can make a box that cost you about $5 in supplies, and sell it for $50. There aren't a lot of products that have that high of a profit margin!
If you have young babies in a studio apartment, the Glowforge may not be a great option for you. You need proper ventilation and space. We bought an in-line fan and there is literally zero smell at all. My husband and daughter both have severe allergies and have not had any issues.
Do I need the air filter?
We didn't buy the air filter – it's $995! We bought an in-line fan for a fraction of the cost and love it.
What can a Glowforge do?
This post would be a million words long if I told you all the things a Glowforge can do. However, I'll share some of the more popular (and profitable) options!
Glowforge accommodates items up to 2″ tall with the tray removed and can focus over a 0.5″ distance. If you have something that will fit inside, like a spice jar or a hip flask-sized bottle, then it can engrave over the curved surface without difficulty.
You can make an endless variety of useful, beautiful, and practical things from a bunch of different materials like wood, leather, felt, fabric, acrylic, paper, and more. You can even engrave on FOOD!!
Want to share Grandma's recipe? You can put her handwriting right onto a cutting board and give it as a gift at the holidays. The possibilities truly are endless.
My best advice on what to create is to decide whether you want to deliver an end-product, or be in the middle. If you're creating end products, you can charge more. You're adding personalized touches, maybe painting, mixing wood and acrylic, etc.
If you're in the middle, you're creating supplies for other makers. I have a “DIY BIZ KIT” where I offer 50 pairs of earrings along with some SEO help and other digital resources for $150. The earrings take less than an hour to make, and are created with scrap wood.
The real value is in the digital resources. Because of this, I'm “in the middle” and helping other makers. This means my products are needed, not just wanted!
How loud is a Glowforge?
This is a common question I get asked. You will definitely know your Glowforge is on when it's working, but it's not deafening and my kids could sleep through it even if it was in the same room. If you have a light sleeper in a room nearby, you can drown the Glowforge out by putting a fan in their room.
The sound level varies because Glowforge changes fan speed based on the operation being performed. It can vary from a low rumble to a loud vacuum. You can also opt for slower cutting rates to keep the fan noise down.
Which Glowforge should I buy?
I highly recommend buying the Plus model, mostly because the Basic is almost always on back-order, and the Pro is more than most people need.
We do have the Pro, but we bought it because we knew we were going to put it to work. We figured we'd get the “top of the line” because it would be the best. The Pro doesn't run any differently than the other two models, and I've seen so many people make $10,000+ in a few months with a Basic, so I won't discount them.
With that being said, if you want to do large projects (like signs over 11×18″ that you don't have to piece together), get the Pro. It will make your life much easier.
If you're not on a budget, the Pro is the way to go. If you are on a budget, stick with the Basic or Plus.
Financing for Glowforge
If you need financing, Glowforge offers this through a third-party company called Affirm. If I were buying a new Glowforge today, I'd use Affirm and treat it like a “90 days same as cash” option where I put EVERYTHING I make back into the payments so it's paid off in just a few months.
How much does a Glowforge cost?
These costs include my COUPON CODE being applied. Be sure to click through my referral link to get the same pricing. It will say “KEVIN” – that is my husband. 😉
Glowforge Basic: $3,995
Glowforge Plus: $4,995
Glowforge Pro: $6,995
Update 1/18/2023 You can now buy a Glowforge on Amazon but the shipping times are longer, and honestly I am not sure I trust it just yet! It is a big machine that needs super careful shipping. If it's the ONLY way you can do it, go for it and hopefully it will work out. <3
Is a Glowforge worth the price?
Yes! 100% yes! 🙂 The Glowforge is simple to set up, easy to use, and capable of cutting and engraving a variety of materials.
I've been reading posts in Facebook groups about people buying the Glowforge and how quickly they are able to pay it off, or get their return on investment. Every single post has talked about how FAST it was to get their money back!
I've seen zero complaints about the cost. Now, there are some who prefer other lasers – and that's totally fine! You'll need to choose the one that is right for you, but overall it seems the vast majority of people do not regret buying a laser cutter. It makes making money simple.
Prepare for your Glowforge delivery.
While you're waiting for your Glowforge to be delivered, order these supplies:
- VinylEase – this is for masking your wood.
- Digital Calipers – for measuring with accuracy
- Wood Pins – make these when you first get your laser cutter
- A sturdy table – the Glowforge is heavy and you don't want it to move while it's cutting
- Dryer vent – to ventilate (also, hose clamps)
- Wood Glue – TiteBond is the brand we use
- Clamps – for securing layered items and boxes
- Wood Stain – optional but we use it on about half of our orders
- Fan – not required but 1000% recommended!
If you're going to be setting up an Etsy shop, you'll also need:
- shipping boxes
- tissue paper, bubble wrap, etc
- label printer (I love this one)
- business cards (you can cut these out of wood!)
Be sure to use a referral link to get 40 free listings for your Etsy shop! I linked mine here but if you have a friend on Etsy, they will GREATLY appreciate it if you ask them for their link! I appreciate it also, but I already have enough free listings to last a lifetime. 🙂
How much space do you need for a Glowforge?
Then, make sure you set up your Glowforge space! This part is important. The Glowforge requires a fairly large workspace, and proper ventilation. While you can cram your laser cutter into a corner (many do), I highly suggest planning it out before the Glowforge arrives.
- 38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″ (965mm x 527mm x 210mm)
- 55 lbs (25 kg)
Glowforge Air Filter
- 16.14” x 10.43″ x 16.92″ (L410 x W265 x H430mm)
- 48.5 lbs (22 kg)
How to make money to afford your Glowforge
You've decided to get a Glowforge but are shrieking at the cost. No worries! I fully believe you can pay the machine back in just a few months, but if you're stressing, here are some of my best money-making ideas.
I want to caution you to be VERY careful with this one, but it's one of the fastest ways to get money up front for your Glowforge.
The Glowforge is a laser cutter and if you aren't familiar with this type of machine, there IS a learning curve. With that being said, I highly recommend learning as much as you can about your Glowforge before it arrives so you can start making money as soon as possible.
Accepting pre-orders can be something as simple as having friends fill out a form and getting half of their payment up front. The goal here is to have your first Glowforge payment covered before it even arrives. The tricky part is timing!
I wouldn't recommend accepting payments until after your Glowforge has shipped and you have an estimated arrival date.
Keep it simple.
When accepting pre-orders, be sure to only offer simple designs. It's going to take you at least a few days to learn your Glowforge software, so you don't want to be rushed and sending out a crappy product. The goal with pre-orders is to pay for your first Glowforge payment but also to create loyal customers that will come back to you again and again.
Simple design ideas
Here are some simple ideas of designs you can print with your Glowforge, and take pre-orders on, without stressing yourself out or having to worry about much of a learning curve (like you do with layered files, boxes, etc)
Find your niche before your Glowforge arrives.
While finding your niche isn't always easy, with a Glowforge, it's super easy to fall into a niche and make a bunch of money. I know that sounds crazy but if you pick just one product and GO FOR IT, you could pay your Glowforge off rather quickly!
Others take the “personalize everything” approach, which I feel like is more work, it's very profitable.
Everything is a best seller if you market it right, but here are a few niche ideas to get you started:
- weddings (wedding signs, save the dates, wedding gifts)
- babies (baby showers, birth announcements, birthday signs,)
- in the middle (make things for realtors, photographers, crafters)
- people (mom, dad, grandma, grandpa)
Any items you can think of (that are safe for the Glowforge to laser on) can be personalized. We've done:
- cutting boards
- and more!
Update August 2022: read Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying My Glowforge
While everything has good and bad, there's one warning I want to share with you before you buy any laser cutter:
Don't leave your Glowforge unattended! There was a mom in one of the groups I'm in who left the house to bring her kids to school when her Glowforge was still cutting. The machine caught fire – it was self-contained, but by the time she got home, the Glowforge was toast.
The thing is, it's a laser cutter. That means it uses a literal laser, which can catch things on fire. If you mask your wood properly (don't get lazy about it), and clean your machine frequently (don't get lazy about it), you are far less likely to have any problems.
Just as you'll see people with Cricut machines say theirs caught on fire, because they do, it's not something that happens every day with proper Glowforge care. I don't feel it's something that should prevent you from buying a Glowforge, but it is worth keeping in mind so you're as safe as possible with any machine. 🙂
What are you waiting for?
If you're excited about buying a Glowforge in the future, bookmark my cheat sheet for ideas – and start adding your own to a notebook. Be sure to use my coupon to save $$, too! When you use my coupon, I get that money in my Glowforge account to buy more supplies… so, thank you!! 🙂
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