We get the opportunity to work with different brands and test a bunch of different machines and products.  If you are setting up a shop or workspace or getting into a new medium this is a list of the tools and machines that made an impression on us.  Placement on this page can not be purchased and we genuinely recommend everything that appears here.  This page includes an assortment of affiliate and non-affiliate links so if you click through we may earn a percentage of the sale and we truly appreciate your support in this way.

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  • xTool D1 Diode Laser

    We tested the 10 watt pro version and for a beginner laser or a small shop this is a great tool. It has optional air assist and a rotary attachment for engraving rounded items like tumblers. In fact, we liked this tool so much that it has earned a permanent place in the Makerspace.

    It provides an affordable entry point for laser cutting and engraving and has a small footprint so it can be broken down and tucked away when it is not in use to free up bench space.

    As an added bonus it comes with an easy to use free software to run it that we found fairly intuitive and when your designs outgrow the native software it is fully compatible with LightBurn which we consider to be the industry standard for laser cutting. All in all this machine is a great value.​

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  • Glowforge Plus (45 Watt CO2 Laser)​

    We have mixed feelings on the glowforge. We have the pro model and if I was buying it again I would go with the plus model instead. The only real difference is that the Pro model includes a passthrough slot for larger materials, but it is problematic to line up multiple cuts when using and I have personally had very little success using the passthrough slot.

    That being said, it has a small footprint and looks like a home printer from the outside so it can sit on a desk or in an office type space and not look out of place. It is also an all in one solution with built in cooling closed mirrors so they never need to be aligned and the cleaning is fairly simple.

    The biggest downside in our opinion is that it is a closed unit and if anything major goes wrong with it you need to send it back to glowforge for repairs, this means extra shipping costs and longer down time if something happens to your machine. I personally prefer a machine that I can fix myself, but understand that that aspect might be a plus for some people.

    As an added bonus if you decide glowforge is the right machine for you by clicking through here you can save up to $500 on your machine.​

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