Snapmark feature


#1

The September update from Dan is out. He mentions two alignment-related features that will use the camera on the laser head. One of these is a pro-only thing, that’s useful for aligning cuts of large material that goes through the passthrough.

But the other feature is just a simple alignment using a fiducial that is useful for multi-part cuts. This feature would useful for non-pro owners as well. I find it interesting that they’re saying they haven’t decided whether or not to make it available to non-pro owners. Seems like given all the promised features they haven’t delivered on. making this feature available is the last they could do.


#2

Giving Snapmarks to everyone is the decent thing to do. I can’t believe they even opened such a can of worms by announcing that they haven’t decided what they are doing.


#3

They’ve been letting ‘privileged’ owners test this feature for many months.

It seems to have a few remaining bugs and a bit of a learning curve. While more advanced users will have little trouble, advanced users are not their target market. So, it certainly seems odd that they are opening up a far from completed feature to general users. (They’re going to need to start paying the community members who provide all that free tech support. This feature is going to require a ton of it.)

I’m guessing the only reason is to try and offset the inevitable comparisons with the Dremel DigiLab, which is being released in 2 weeks. Helps explain the whole bunch of vague updates Dan just let loose, and the odd choice to release a 3rd party filter now (Dremel has the option to buy one now).

It does seem that, as a company, Glowforge is defined by their indecisiveness.


#4

It will be interesting to see if this machine is going to have non-bespoke replaceable tubes and whether Dremel will employ someone who knows how to get international certificates (thus putting themselves miles ahead of the competition)


#5

FWIW i did a quick bit of sniffing around. The Dremel has some excellent advatages over the ‘forge, such as user replacable tube & in-machine software.
These are 2 of the biggest issues for me with the GF apart from the fact that as an Aussie i dont even have it

It appears the dremel is not available outside of the USA (certainly not to Oz it seems) and is nearly double the GF cost.


#6

I keep hoping they will “snap out of it” and start enhancing the software at a reasonable rate, but this talk of limiting features to Pro users has me thinking I should unload my Glowforge before it’s too late.


#7

Ha ha…sounds like a smart move.

I am just watching the US$ exchange rate whilst hoping Dan accepts they failed and refunds me with the bonus i deserve


#8

That’s a gross exaggeration of what Dan said.

He said maybe no one will get the new feature. :wink:


#9

Go back and read again. And read the larger announcement too, not just the Snapmark thing. He definitely said limiting to pro users is one of the options they are considering. So my statement is 100% accurate. He also said this Snapmark thing is not one of the features originally promised, which IMHO is completely disingenuous considering the product still does not deliver the promised alignment accuracy, as well as other promised features like work area. The fact that they are even considering limiting access to features like this I think is a bellwether of things to come, namely a generation 2 glowforge and screw all you schmucks who bought generation 1.

Anyway, any suggestions on selling my GF? I am in the Seattle area.


#10

Yes, and he also said that they are considering cancelling the feature and giving it to no one, which would be much worse. That is the part I quoted because I was being sarcastic about Glowforge’s bizarre release strategy, not arguing with you.


#11

I misunderstood, sorry. Yes, it is bizarre.


#12

Didn’t Dan also say that they were considering making it available as an added-cost feature? Maybe he was running that idea up the flag post to see who saluted and “took a knee”.


#13

I am OK with added cost for features, but not for features that in my opinion are part of the core promised feature set. Every other laser out there has a way to align precisely, and I expect them to implement this for the GF. I don’t see how they get there without using the head camera. This feature looks like a step in that direction.


#14

Yes. He listed every possibility as a possibility including Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute.

I was watching Snapmark develop in the VIP forum, and they were very clear that we should have no expectations about how the feature might develop. But when Dan said they might just cancel the “magical” feature while unveiling it, I felt like I was having a stroke.

This is just bananas.

I got into the beta and Snapmarks are available to me… but I haven’t even bothered to play with them since I don’t know if I can keep them.


#15

Sounds like maybe support costs are a problem for them already. Not surprising at all.


#16

Surely not that difficult a feature to learn to use?

It also seems it could have great potential as a longer term fix for general alignment, with having the fiducials fixed on the cutting tray and always included in your image…


#17

Their business model gives me nightmares


#18

That such a basic feature would only be available to Pro owners, as a paid premium feature, or not available at all boggles the mind.

I personally like how they trademarked Snapmark® and incorporated their trademarked logo into the fiduciary symbol. You know, because this is a super original idea that they thought of all by themselves and warrants all kinds of IP protections… (Oh, wait, that’s right… They own any idea you post in their forum - sorry about that @takitus).

What it does do, however, is severely restrict 3rd party integrations with their software and give them the ability to threaten little people with a sueball.

I think I’ll go and come up with a cool name for making a PB&J sandwich, and trademark it.

They have one?


#19

Well they can trademark Snapmark but nothing to stop anyone using the real name fiducial, which have been used for optical alignment on pick and place machines for decades at least.

I don’t understand why they only get 1mm accuracy, It should be an order or two magnitudes better that that.


#20

Given that they claim .001" accuracy on the focus, which is achieved with a blurry looking laser spot, they should certainly be able to get that with a sharp image of their fiducial mark.

It may just be what they are promising, since many people have reported it being much more accurate than that. Under-promising and over-delivering is a departure for them.