In this Dremel Laser Cutter vs Glowforge comparison, we’re going to explore the features of these two fantastic laser cutters to help you decide which one is best for you, either to use alongside your 3D printer or by itself.
These are both high quality, powerful laser cutters that can be used for a wide range of projects for home or small business use, hobbies, and crafting.
We will look at both of these popular laser cutters, describing the features of each device, how user friendly they are, what they cost, and finally our recommendation for you.
The main differences between Dremel vs Glowforge are:
We’re focusing here on the features of the Dremel LC40 and the Glowforge Plus laser cutters.
A laser cutter can be used for both cutting and engraving or etching. If you have a 3D printeralready, you’ll most likely be using your laser cutter to cut out flat shapes from various materials to use with the pieces you build with your 3D printer.
The Dremel LC40 laser cutter uses a 40W laser tube to cut a variety of materials. It works really well to cut a range of materials cleanly, such as wood cardboard, and acrylic. The result is a clean and very accurate cut.
The Glowforge Plus also uses a 40w laser to cut into objects. The Glowforge is able to engrave with 1000 DPI resolution, with a kerf size (the width of material removed in the cut) of 0.008” – 0.025”.
Both have excellent feedback on their cutting, providing clear, accurate, and very detailed cuts. The Dremel outperforms the Glowforge in cutting speed, though they are both pretty good at this. A basic design can take as little as two to three minutes to engrave, while a detailed full-sheet engraving or cutting might take a couple of hours.
It’s no surprise that a cutter using a laser beam to burn through materials will get very hot, which is why they come with cooling systems.
You’ll also need to keep them in a well-ventilated space as the material being burned can give off smoke or fumes too, so this is something to think about when you’re deciding where to put your cutter.
The Dremel LC40 has something called the HexBox, an external box that will sit on the shelf below or above your laser cutter and recirculates cool water around the unit and through the laser tube, significantly reducing overheating and allowing the laser cutter to be used for longer periods.
The Glowforge Plus uses an internal closed-loop liquid cooling system using the ambient air drawn in from the room to remove the heat. While this does help save space, on a warm day or in a hotter climate, this can mean that cutting is paused to allow the unit to cool down. The system is designed for function between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The software that your laser cutter uses turns images or designs into cutting or engraving. There are a few different types of software being used for this in different laser cutters and Dremel and Glowforge both use different ones.
The Dremel LC40 accesses the software through a web browser but runs from the laser cutter. This means that you don’t need an internet connection to work the machine. The software interface is incredibly intuitive and also includes a library of materials with suggested cutting and engraving settings.
A really popular feature of this software is the grids, rulers, and snaps which help with placing designs easily and accurately. The Auto-Array function also automatically duplicates designs on the material. In addition, the LC40 keeps the last 30 jobs you did in its onboard memory so you can run them again from the touchscreen on the machine.
The Glowforge Plus software comes as a free app. The software is web-based so you do need an internet connection to start your print off, but it does work fine with slow connections and once you’ve started your print, you can continue offline. The software has a lot of preset functions and projects, and especially if you are using their Proofgrade™ materials which are tested and specially formulated for their machines.
Dremel is just a better system for extended use. UL approved, modular components (easy replacement), full color touch controls and offline printing capability make it the clear choice.
You’ll want your laser cutter software to be compatible with all the different platforms and operating systems that you use. You would be disappointed if you bought a laser cutter and then found that it didn’t work with your Mac!
Fortunately, both Dremel and Glowforge software is compatible with almost any operating system from Windows, iOS, and Android.
|Dremel Laser Cutter||Glowforge Laser Cutter|
|Cooling: external water cooling system||Cooling: Built-in closed-loop water cooling|
|Software: Dremel software||Software: Glowforge cloud-based software|
|Beam Power: 40w||Beam Power: 45w|
|Tech: CO2 Laser tube||Tech: CO2 Laser tube|
As laser printer technology advances and becomes more accessible for small business and hobby users, the prices are gradually reducing.
The Dremel LC40 is slightly more expensive for the standard package. This includes the Hexbox, an external cooling system, and a one year warranty. You can purchase additional fans or ventilation units depending on your use and where it will be positioned.
The GlowforgePlus (the model being reviewed here is a little cheaper. Other models available are the slightly cheaper Glowforge Basic and the more expensive Glowforge Pro. For that price, you get the laser cutter, inbuilt cooling system, and one year of warranty. You can also purchase an additional air filter if you are unable to have the cutter next to an open window.
Over the last decade, laser cutters have moved from industrial machines to be accessible by students in schools and crafters in their homes.
As a result, it’s become very important that you don’t need a degree in engineering to work on them, they have to be user-friendly so that anybody can use them on an occasional basis. So how do these two machines measure up?
The Dremel Digilab LC40 has a large, color touchscreen on board the machine. It takes you intuitively through common tasks and troubleshooting and means that you can run projects from right there on the machine. Its intuitive ease of use is one of the major advantages of the Dremel and has made it very popular with users. In particular, school users have found that students can confidently use the Dremel even with no experience at all.
The Glowforge, while not benefiting from any sort of screen on the machine itself, is still user-friendly and easy to get the hang of. The cloud-based software makes a lot of sense and has a lot of easy to use features. It is also regularly updated within the cloud.
Customer service and technical support is a really good indicator of how important the customer is for a company. Even if you’re an experienced user, there may be times when you have a technical question that you need help with.
So how helpful are they at Dremel and Glowforge?
Dremel’s support page gives options for Phone, e-mail, and live chat support, and a good selection of articles and trouble-shooting guides to choose from. Reviews suggest that technical support is generally very quick, friendly, and helpful.
Glowforge also has a great support page on their website. They have great step-by-step guides on the page for everything from getting set up and using the laser cutter to maintenance and moving. In addition, they have email and live chat options on the website, social media channels, and a great search function for their extensive selection of support and troubleshooting articles.
Not only that, but there is also an active Community Forum where you can interact with other Glowforge users for advice, tips, technical questions, and inspiration.