I made this cool desktop video game arcade machine with the help of a Glowforge laser cutter

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/07/i-made-this-cool-desktop-video.html


The Glowforge is a great piece of tech, wish i could afford one. Though the only way i could justify it would be to get some kind of design/product side-hustle going… which wouldn’t be necessarily a bad thing but its not something i’m currently in the market for.


Even by only using the word “print” once in this article, it’s still in error.

The Glowforge is a great tool. But it’s NOT a printer.

Printers use an ADDITIVE processes, as in "…I’m adding this ink to this surface in the shape of letters thereby PRINTING.

The Glowforge, being a Laser Cutter uses a SUBTRACTIVE process - the laser REMOVES material leaving : an engraved surface, a deep cut, or passing completely though material leaving the shape you want behind. I’ve heard SO many people getting this incorrect by actually listening to Glowforge’s ad copy…Which from the Very Start was Very misleading by telling people it was a 3D printer…


If the menu option says “Print to Glowforge” then it’s printing.


I used to use the Lazer cutter at makerspace all the time, and they really are miraculous.

That said I don’t really have $2,500 to blow on a hobby tool right now or the space to keep it.

I wish there were a sort of shared shop culture where I could buy a quarter of one of these

That’s one of those words that’s constantly evolving in meaning and somewhat open to interpretation. Show a 19th-Century press operator a modern 3-D printer and a thermal paper printer and ask which machine more closely relates to his craft.

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The SVG file for the arcade top (arcade top 12-27-18.svg) seems to be empty. Opening it gives me a blank page. (The arcade side file is OK.)


I literally work next door to them. I wish I could afford one too


I really need to make a MAME thing one day… I should finish my trooper costume first.

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Synergy man. Combine both projects into one.

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I’d love to have this running Asteroids!!!

I checked “arcade top 12-27-18.svg.” The model is there, but the line weight was only 0.028 points so image was very faint. I went ahead and boosted the line weight so you can see it:


I agree with you. I think “cut” is the right word to use. I often say “laser printer” when I think “laser cutter.”

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Cool! Thanks. Could I ask some details? I assume the acrylic top and wood sides are all glued together with clear adhesive and the bottom is comes on/off, but just how is the bottom attached? Or wait: is there no bottom at all?

(Love the living hinge, btw. Those soft corners are very Jobs-compliant.)

I admit I have a different laser cutter (MUSE), and while firing a 40W laser at 3mm of wood definitely subtracts some wood it ADDS a bunch of char and soot to the wood & the air.

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Here’s my beef with Glowforge:

They don’t allow for a resale market (aside from selling to a “close, trusted” friend) and they can and do brick machines from afar using the cloud service as a brickbat.



Hmm…so then what is a thermal printer? :thinking:


From reading the linked thread, the buyer unknowingly bought a stolen Glowforge Pro with cash for cheap, but followed a Glowforge FAQ that he thought confirmed the SN was clear before completing the sale. The device would not print once he bought it and is prevented from working by Glowforge’s stolen property blacklist, but Glowforge won’t share the police reports with the buyer.

Sounds like a mess, but not Glowforge using DRM to kill off secondary market sales.

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I would consider printing more of general process. Of course printing would typically be additive, but the end user doesn’t really care. They’re sending something to a device to “materialize” it, if it cuts or prints i think doesn’t necessarily matters as much.

I am very much pedantic so i wouldn’t consider a laser cutter a printer, but if someone refers to the process of getting something sent to it as “printing” i would understand what they meant.

But the Glowforge also prints by laser engraving. Subtractive or not I do think that counts as “printing”. The cutting, maybe not, even if it uses printer drivers. Maybe we need a different word.