A laser printer is a machine that is often used for industrial manufacturing applications, such as cutting metals, woods, and other tricky-to-cut materials.
They can also be used in schools and small businesses, as well as by hobbyists who enjoy creating things out of nothing.
Laser printers use a high-powered laser to cut through materials precisely, leaving you with clean results every time.
Laser printers allow you to create multiple pieces of the same shape out of a piece of material without the imperfections that hand-cutting would leave you with.
Today we are looking at the Muse laser printer and pitting it against the Glowforge, as well as determining which is the best when using alongside a 3D printer as well as on its own.
3D printers work by forming shapes from the filament, whereas laser printers create flat shapes much quicker. Laser printers can be used in the manufacturing process of jewelry, home decor, art, and more.
We will be looking into the standout features of the Muse and Glowforge laser printers, specifications, how easy they both are to use, and how they compare to one another.
Finally, we’ll leave you with our recommendation on which one we think is the best on the market.
Before we get started, we’ve included a few specifications that you might find useful if you were considering opting for either the Muse or the Glowforge.
- Software: RetinaEngrave V2 software
- Beam Power: 45 watts
- Cooling: Water cooling system with air pump
- Tech: Sealed CO2 laser tube
- Software: Glowforge native software
- Beam Power: 45 watts
- Cooling: Closed-loop internal cooling system
- Tech: CO2 laser tube
Now let’s take a look into the features of both of these laser printers that you’d need to look at when determining which is right for you.
Perhaps the most important feature to look at with any laser printer is how it actually cuts the material you’re working with. Luckily, both the Muse and Glowforge printers do not disappoint in this area.
Laser printers are much more efficient than 3D printers when you’re working with predominantly flat shapes rather than 3D models. For this reason, laser printers are incredibly handy to have at your home studio.
The Muse laser printer used a laser beam of 45 watts and a resolution of 1000 dpi. It can cut materials such as wood, leather, and acrylic easily without hassle. You can even use it to engrave metal, which is an extremely handy feature.
There is also a rotary attachment that allows you to engrave cursed metal, but this is an additional cost on top of the initial price of the printer.
On the other hand, the Glowforge laser printer also uses a laser of 45 watts, but it offers a more powerful beam than some other laser printers from the same brand. The Glowforge printer gives excellent precision as well as quick results, so this printer might be ideal if you need a fast result.
You can use Glowforge to cut various soft materials such as leather and acrylic, as well as harder materials like wood, glass, and you can engrave metal.
Laser printers need software to be able to cut the material accurately. This is similar to that of 3D printers that also need software to be able to create models. Both Muse and Glowforge printers use different software to achieve your results.
The Muse printer comes equipped with software called RetinaEngrave as well as a touchscreen, although this is pretty normal for laser printers within a similar price range. Muse is easy to use, making it an excellent option for beginners.
It can also be used offline so an internet connection is not essential to use this laser printer. While it might be desirable, you can continue using basic features without one.
You can also take advantage of the camera which can help you to align your materials better for higher-quality results. Overall, the Muse software is simple to use, does not require an internet connection at all times, and is ideal for beginners.
On the other hand, Glowforge uses software that is similar to that of The Cloud, in which an internet connection is always necessary to use this laser printer. You’ll need to sign up for the Glowforge software with a constant internet connection.
As long as your internet connection is good enough, you shouldn’t have any issues using this printer continuously. However, as it runs on a Cloud-like technology, disruptions to the internet connection will prevent you from using the laser cutter.
Aside from that, the Glowforge software comes with lots of presets for you to use to cut back on time-consuming programming and get your project underway much faster. Another reputable software type as long as you have the internet connection to back it up.
Much like with any piece of technology that uses a high-powered laser, laser printers can get very hot rather quickly.
To avoid damaging the machine and causing potential injury to the user and those around them, the printers will come with a cooling system.
Laser printers will come with a warning that they need to be used in a ventilated area for added protection, but the cooling system is the driving force behind keeping you safe.
For this reason, it is incredibly important that the printer has a high-quality and reliable system.
Muse laser printers come with an external cooling system which effectively reduces the temperature of the machine and keeps it at a steady temperature. The cooling system is very effective and reliable at keeping the device cool.
There is the choice to purchase an additional exhaust system on the Muse printer to get rid of the fumes it produces, but this is not necessary if you have a well-ventilated room.
The only issue that we have with the cooling system is that it makes the printer bulkier and takes up more room on your desk. However, that is a small price to pay considering how well the cooling system works.
Moving onto the Glowforge laser printer, the cooling system comes in the form of a closed-loop self-contained internal cooling system. This prevents more space from being taken up by an external water pump as the Muse printer requires.
The internal cooling system of the Glowforge printer draws air into the machine from its surroundings to keep it at a regulated temperature. This cooling system works in temperatures between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
A potential issue is if you were using the laser printer in a room where the air was too warm to cool the device down effectively.
The software that comes with a laser printer needs to be compatible with multiple operating systems and platforms so that you can use your devices together.
A laser printer that only runs on Windows is going to be of little use to you if you only have a Mac.
Thankfully, both Muse and Glowforge use software compatible with multiple different platforms.
RetinaEngrave, used by Muse, is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. Glowforge’s cloud-like software runs on any operating system you have access to.
Comparing the Prices
When they were first introduced to the market, laser printers and 3D printers were incredibly expensive and not many were fortunate enough to get their hands on one.
However, as more machines have been introduced to the market, the price has slowly but surely crept down.
Don’t get us wrong, the price is still not incredibly inexpensive, but it is much more attainable than that of a few years ago.
Many people are now more willing to purchase a laser printer thanks to the lower price than they were when they were first introduced to the market.
The Muse laser printer is much less expensive than the Glowforge alternative. In fact, you can purchase the Muse 2D printer, which comes in a collection with the cooling system, the RetinaEngrave software, and a 1-year warranty, for almost half the price of the Glowforge laser printer.
The Glowforge Pro comes with the laser printer itself, the internal cooling system, and a 1-year warranty for its higher price. Both of these printers come with a choice of add-ons for your purchase, such as exhaust systems and air filters. These are not necessities but are helpful when using laser printers.
There is another choice of Muse printers, which is the Muse 3D Autofocus. This is over double the price of the Muse 2D printer, but it includes the latest 3D vision technology to enhance its usability and your projects.
Much like the cost of laser printers, their usability has also gotten better the longer they’ve been on the market.
Manufacturers are now creating more user-friendly printers which now allow beginners to also enjoy the technology.
When the printers first emerged onto the market they were much more difficult to operate and therefore a lot of people were deterred from spending so much money on something that they might not be able to understand or use successfully.
While cheaper alternatives might still be difficult to use and higher-end products only meant for professionals, the majority of the laser printers on the market are now very user-friendly.
The Muse printer has a seven-inch LCD display which helps you greatly in its usability. The screen also allows you to see and understand more of what’s going on so that you can learn more about the process. With the Muse laser printer, you’ll be a professional in no time!
What’s more, the RetinaEngrave software is also simple to use and many people don’t encounter any issues at all. There is a small camera within the machine that allows it to make accurate cuts continuously.
Many people consider the Muse laser printers ideal for beginners thanks to the usability and advanced features.
The lower price is also a plus as beginners often don’t want to spend too much money on their first laser printer in case they don’t get along with the craft.
Similarly, the Glowforge laser printer is also very simple to use and is recommended for beginners and professionals alike.
While the Glowforge printer does not benefit from an LCD screen, the cloud-based software is incredibly easy to get along with.
Thanks to the cloud-like software, all of the updates for the Glowforge laser printer are completed through the internet connection. This stops you from worrying about updating the software on your own, as the machine does all the hard work for you.
The presets that this laser printer comes with are also handy when it comes to usability as you don’t have to program in your own designs straightaway. Instead, you can get used to the machine using the presets at your disposal.
It’s always helpful to have support on standby should anything ever go wrong with your laser cutter or you simply need someone to answer your questions.
Even if you don’t often use support systems available to you and don’t feel like you need one, a back-up is always a nice touch.
Laser Spectrum is the creator of Muse laser printers. Unfortunately, their support available is nothing to write home about as it is a contact form to get in touch with them.
They will then get back to you at a later date to help out with you. There are also a few video tutorials that you can watch.
On the other hand, Glowforge comes with a great amount of support available. You have the choice to choose between the live chat and messaging them on the website.
Alternatively, you can send them an email or chat with them through one of their social media platforms.
The Glowforge website also has a frequently asked question page that you might be able to find your answer on, and there is also a community page where you can interact with other users and ask them for help.
These forums are also an excellent place to get information on the newest updates, tips from experienced users, and even free laser designs that other users have created.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Below we’ll be summarizing both the benefits and drawbacks of the Muse and Glowforge laser printers.
We’ve mentioned most of these above in the earlier sections, so this is simply a summary of what we have already looked at.
- Can be used to cut lots of different materials
- Engraves metal
- Large LCD screen for better usability
- Option to use the printer offline
- Easy to use software
- Online video tutorials to learn from
- Lower price point
- Powerful laser power
- The external cooling system takes up more space around the printer
- Not the best support available to users
- Usable with a number of soft and hard materials
- Can engrave metal
- Lots of support available from different sources
- Software is easy to learn
- Updates on its own without your input
- Good for beginners
- Doesn’t come with an LCD screen
- Only works with a good internet connection
- Higher price point
You might have been reading our article thinking that these two laser printers are rather similar in many ways, and you wouldn’t be wrong.
Both the Muse and Glowforge laser printers hold up well against one another, but there are a few differences that might sway your decision on which to purchase.
Firstly, the Muse printer has an external cooling system while the Glowforge printer has an internal system. The latter therefore takes up less space on your workstation.
The Muse printer also doesn’t have as good of support as the Glowforge printer, which has many different support options available to you.
However, the Muse printer has an LCD screen where the Glowforge does not. This is a great benefit for usability and beginners just starting out with laser printer technology.
The Muse printer can also be used offline, opposed to the Glowforge that can only work with a strong, continuous internet connection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can these laser printers be used without internet access?
The Muse laser printer can be used both online and offline, but the Glowforge laser printer requires a constant internet connection.
This is due to the cloud-based software that cannot be used without a good enough internet connection.
Do you need a laser printer as well as a 3D printer?
Not necessarily, but a 3D printer is not always the most accurate for creating 2D prints.
You might prefer to use a laser printer for better accuracy if your 3D printer is not the best for sharp and clean edges.
What operating system can you use the Muse printer with?
The software that Muse laser printers use is called RetinaEngrave and can be used seamlessly with Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.
What operating system can you use the Glowforge Pro with?
The cloud-based software that Glowfroge uses is created by the brand and can be used on almost any operating system.
This includes Mac, Windows, Android, and Linux.
What types of materials can you cut with a laser printer?
Different types of laser printers can cut various different materials, and this often depends on the price point.
Cheaper laser printers won’t be able to cut as many materials while high-end printers will be able to cut almost anything.
The two laser printers we looked at today are both middles of the range and therefore can cut a respectable number of materials.
For example, the Muse and Glowforge printers can cut woods, acrylic, and leather. They can also engrave harder materials such as glass and metal.
Can a laser printer overheat?
Yes, a laser printer can absolutely overheat, especially if you’re using it for a long period of time. This is due to the intensity of the laser cutting the materials.
Both the Muse and Glowforge laser printers come with cooling systems to avoid them overheating too much.
Overheating can lead to a shortened lifespan of the machine and also increases the risk of you being burned. An overheating machine also could lead to carbon dioxide bursting, which can be incredibly dangerous.
So, it’s always important to monitor how hot your printer gets to prevent it from overheating.
What support is available for users?
The Muse and Glowforge laser printers both come with support for users, but the Glowforge options are much more comprehensive and useful.
The Muse printer’s support could benefit from being worked upon to make it better.
To conclude our article today, both the Muse and Glowforge laser printers are impressive machines that can aid hobbyists and small businesses alike.
The reasonable prices make these machines much more accessible to people all over the world, rather than just professionals.
Both of these machines are impressive on the market and have their benefits. They both work well with many functions, and there are only a couple of drawbacks for both of the machines in question.
So, how can you decide which is the better laser printer? In our opinion, we think that the Muse laser printer is the better choice out of the two.
It was a tough call, but we think that there are a few more benefits that come with this printer than the alternative.
For starters, you don’t need an internet connection to use the Muse printer, whereas the Glowforge printer will only work online. This can be a pain when you don’t have a stable internet connection all the time.
Secondly, we like that the Muse printer has an LCD screen as it makes the usability even better. There are a few drawbacks, such as the external water pump cooling system and the lack of support.
However, the much lower price for the Muse laser printer makes up for these minor drawbacks. You can use it for ample tasks and its accuracy will never falter.
Plus, the low price is a great benefit to beginners who don’t want to spend too much on their first laser printer.