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Glowforge Pro vs. Thunder Laser Nova 24

by | Oct 19, 2021

You know that I’ve been using the Glowforge Pro for a while and that I recently purchased a Thunder Laser Nova 24 cutting machine. Don’t forget that I have affiliate links to both of these machines that will be attached in this blog post. When you purchase through those links it helps me to earn money on your purchases. Let’s dive right in and learn which is right for you.

Glowforge Pro – Features and Specifications

The Glowforge Pro is available for $6,000 on their website. It features a passthrough slot as well as a 45W laser tube. The maximum printable area is 19.5” wide x 11” long, however you can make a longer item if using the pass through feature. The Glowforge Pro can cut up to 1/4” thick. Weighing in at fifty-five pounds and having external dimensions of 38”x20.75”x8.25” this machine can easily fit inside of a craft room. The Glowforge Pro does need to be vented, I purchased an optional air filter but you can also vent it out the window of your craft room.

Tamara Bennett using the Glowforge Pro

What’s So Great About the Glowforge Pro?

The Glowforge Pro has many pros, especially for the beginner door hanger artist. The software used to operate the machine is extremely user friendly. In addition to the user friendly software, the initial set up is very simple and the machine is easy to use. The machine features a built in camera with autofocus so you can be sure your design is being cut correctly on the wood.

Due to its small design, the machine is great for small workspaces and indoor use. While the machine is small, it is still mighty! The Passthrough slot on the machine works flawlessly with the software so that you can cut door hangers up to 19”x19”.

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, the Glowforge company has a great referral program. This program allows members to share a discount link and earn a commission on any purchases.

What Are the Cons of the Glowforge Pro?

If you’re considering purchasing a Glowforge Pro, I want to be honest with you about the cons as well. If you live in an area where your internet is spotty, this might not be the machine for you. The cloys based software requires internet connection for use. The software also has limited capabilities, with some features that are only available with the Glowforge Premium membership which is $24.99 monthly.

If you will be cutting items in bulk, the Glowforge Pro might not be the best option to get the job done quickly. It is a bit slow to engrave and cut. If you’re only using it for individual door hangers, this might not be a big deal for you. It’s also important to note that you have to use masking material to prevent scorching on full power. This is because the machine doesn’t have air assist. While the lightweight machine might be convenient, it also may not be as durable over time due to the lightweight materials.

While you may not even need assistance, it’s important to note that customer service for the Glowforge Pro might not be very helpful.

Thunder Laser Nova 24 – Features and Specifications

Let’s dive right into the basics of the Thunder Laser Nova 24. It is comparable in price as it has a price tag of $6900. The Thunder Laser Nova 24 features a passthrough slot, as well as a 60W laser tube. The camera system on the machine is optional to visually render the laser bed in the software.

The Thunder Laser Nova 24 machine itself is much larger than the Glowforge Pro. It is 57.1” x 31.9” x 26” and weighs 500 pounds. While it may not fit in an average sized craft room, it’s necessary to have some space to house this powerful cutting machine. It has an engraving/working area of 23.6” x 15.7” x 6.1”

The software LightBurn is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux and is included for two computers with the purchase. You can easily import any graphics file. An one hour remote setup training is included with your purchase, as this will guide you through set up and the basics of your machine. You can also opt for a four hour training that the company has available.

Tamara putting wood in the Thunder Laser machine.

What’s So Great About the Thunder Laser Nova 24?

The Thunder Laser Nova 24 features a durable machine with high quality parts. There’s no denying that the Thunder Laser Nova 24 has some advantages over the Glowforge Pro. For starters, it allows for faster engraving and cutting on a larger cutting area. The Air Assist included in the Thunder Laser Nova 24 creates clean laser marks with almost zero scorching.

The Thunder Laser’s software is very robust which allows for flexibility in how it is used. It’s also important to note that if you have any issues with your machine or the software, the customer service provided by the Thunder Laser team is great!

What Are the Cons of the Thunder Laser Nova 24?

Of course we can’t discuss the pros of the Thunder Laser without discussing some of the cons. Since it is a larger machine, it does require a larger workspace. This is something to keep in mind if you’re limited on the space you have available.

While the cutting is faster on this machine, you still have to use the passthrough slot to cut a 20” x 20” door hanger so this takes extra steps. The camera system that shows the cutting bed in your software to be sure your wood is aligned correctly is not included either. While not required, it is $400 extra and can help with the learning curve of adjusting to the Thunder Laser.

Finally, the software for the Thunder Laser Nova 24 is complex. There is a learning curve associated with it as it takes a bit of time to learn. It’s important to take these into consideration if you’re contemplating which machine is right for you as well as how and where you operate your business.

Which Laser Cutting Machine is Right for Your Business?

When it comes to choosing between the Glowfore Pro and the Thunder Laser Nova 24, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each machine. Review the price points of each and decide which machine best fits your needs based on what you’ll be making and the frequency of which you’ll be using the machines.

Just remember, this is not a one size fits all. The machine that is right for Sally, might not be right for Susie and that’s totally okay. If you are a small crafter who is cutting a few things a day, you are very tech challenged, you have a small workspace or you’d prefer a machine in your craft room then the Glowforge Pro would be the right machine for you.

If you are a growing business who is cutting many pieces daily and you’re in need of a machine that can do that for you quickly, then the Thunder Laser Nova 24 would be a good investment for you. If considering the Thunder Laser, I would also advise that you be someone who can learn new things and has a larger workspace or garage that you can house the machine.

Both of these machines are on the smaller end when it comes to laser machines. The Glowforge doesn’t offer a larger machine, but   I hope that this information will help you make an informed decision of which machine you would like to add to your business.  As always, I encourage you to do additional research on your own before you make your decision.


Door Hangers for Beginners

A 5-part video series that will teach you how to create your own door hangers, step-by-step. Perfect for beginners and newbies alike!


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