These days, elaborate designs and precise engineering are generally done with industrial laser cutters and engravers. That’s usually out of the price range of most of us, but if you really want to engineer something on your counter, you’ll need a Glowforge, the laser engraver designed for the rest of us. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone that loves new tech, you’ll want to read our DNA capsule review as well. Or, you may want to head over to our trip glasses review.


The Glowforge comes in two forms. The first, the basic model, is essentially a Blu-ray laser in a container that lets you etch and cut small items. The one downside is that it’ll need to be near a window; you need to vent it, much like a dryer, or you’re going to regret it as you smell burning… well, burning whatever it is you put in there. For another interesting piece of tech, read our Gragraph a home earthquake seismograph review. You might also be interested in our Digital Bathtub Thermometer RetroFits any faucet with no installation review.

The Pro, however, is what it sounds like; a professional grade laser, specifically a Class IV. This is a beefy guy and you’ll have some legal requirements here, like safety googles and warning signs, that you’ll need to abide by. You’ll also be able to feeder larger objects through it, so you can engineer stuff like furniture, and you’ll have the capacity to have multiple people working on projects.  Speaking of things that glow, you might also want to take a look at this gravel that naturally glows when the sun goes down (video). Or, you could use our review of Flyte’s floating bulb, makes you feel like a Tesla… for a price, to give your whole home a glow.

Also, if you’re not near a window, and you probably should consider finding a place that is, you can buy an air filter to keep out the nastier particulate matter. For another interesting piece of tech for your home, you should also read the Winscape virtual window gives your home a real time view of the San Francisco bay from any perspective (video).


Glowforge set up in an office.
Keep the Glowforge near a window to properly vent.

Granted, buying an industrial laser is in no way a cheap proposition; you’ll be spending $2400 or so to pre-order the basic model, admittedly a savings from the $4000 MSRP, and $4800 for the Pro, which is actually a pretty good deal since it’ll be $8000 when it ships. But if you need laser power to finish a project, or have just always wondered what a laser could do with your art and some leather, it’s well worth the money.

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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