2 Broken Wheels after 1 week of use!

I’ve researched this and find that apparently these wheels are faulty which leads me to wonder why I just received a brand new machine with the very wheels that YOU ALREADY KNOW ARE FAULTY AND WILL BREAK AND BREAK QUICKLY!!! For the price that is paid for a pro machine one would think that these parts were built to last NOT BUILT TO BREAK IMMEDIATELY.
Then to see that these aren’t even on the parts list is even more frustrating!
I need 2 new front wheels and I want back up wheels for future breakings to avoid the down time that I now have.

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It’s a known issue and does not effect every machine, they will send out replacement ones as soon as they can and they will be kind an courteous while they do it. Hope you get back up and printing shortly. Opening up a topic here creates a support ticket so help is on the way.


Thanks for your reply. It would appear that the machines that have the black plastic wheels are those with the issue. The image in the manual shows a metal wheel or it seems to be such. I certainly would have liked to have received a machine with metal parts vs. plastic parts that they are aware are breaking at an alarming level.

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Plastic parts are there to wear out before the machine does imo. I would rather have a wheel break or wear out before the gantry does and destroys the machine. I have had my unit for a year and bit now and it also has the black wheels with no issue. So I don’t think that is the problem, I think they just got a bad batch of the wheels and are trying to deal with it during the current situation with supply chains that are disrupted.

If you could take some pictures of the broken wheels and post them here (if you have not already emailed them to support) it would help speed things up a bit as odds are they are going to ask for them.


This is the broken piece

Suggestion: A redesign of this piece is absolutely necessary or this will be an ongoing issue. This part should be one piece rather than these two separate pieces and should simply have a bearing pressed inside it. Whomever designed this certainly did not think through the constant movement of this part against metal.
Another suggestion is that this unit should be supported at both top and bottom of this rail to support the weight of this plate and the camera head housing. So a wheel on top and wheel on bottom. That would have distributed the weight and made the part less likely to fail.

thanks for heads up regarding photo!

It is one piece. This is an incredibly common part used in all kinds of motion controlled machines.

Many of us with machines three years old have had no issue. The color makes no difference, They simply had a bad batch of parts that made it into recent machines.

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Im not sure what your referring to that is one piece… this is two pieces - top and bottom that represent as a wheel of sorts.
Regardless I will await support and possibly return this unit given its poor design.

The V-groove wheel is manufactured as one piece. Yours has split. That’s the flaw that’s causing them to break.


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Have had three Nissan Xterras. 2005, 2007, 2010. There was a problem starting in the 2005 model with a radiator failure that would leak water into the integral transmission lines guaranteeing a many thousand dollar repair. I knew about the problem very early but Nissan decided not to redesign the radiator until 2011. Usually the failures occurred just outside of warranty. So it was cheaper than a redesign. I was able to backyard bypass the radiator so my Xterras were not at risk. Otherwise would never have bought one after the first.

Now I suspect the fact that GF has not changed the wheels has to do with the availability of the old wheels. But there is a risk of folks losing faith in the quality as this problem drags on.


your absolutely right. I am no engineer by any means but I can very clearly see why this part failed and why it will continue to fail. I certainly did not just spend $7,000 to have a 2 cent part halt production. 7 grand given the filter I purchased as well.
Given that I am new (one week!) to this unit I am very hesitant to keep it. I am doing my research now to see if there is a higher quality made option out there.
I’d also like to add in that anyone with a 3D printer could easily provide and print a redesign of this! I have my brother working on that for me BUT… I don’t feel that after spending the money I spent I should be redesigning things to have it work properly. I have to consider that if GF cut corners on the design and assembly of this simple rail system then what else did they cut corners on that I have yet to experience??? I’m certainly not in the market for a $7,000 paper weight.

The first production run had metal wheels that were affixed in place and not user serviceable. That means that any time something goes wrong with one of those machines, the whole machine has to be sent back to Glowforge to have it fixed.

Instead of those customers being without the machine for a few days or a weekend, they are without their machines for a month or more, with round trip shipping, packing and repair time.

So there’s a major benefit to you to have the plastic wheels in there. You will only be down for a few days at worst.

They might be able to sell you a spare set of the plastic wheels in addition to the ones that they will replace for you if you want to keep a set on hand in case the replacement set also craters down the road. Just ask them if they have any extras available. :slightly_smiling_face:

(But no, they don’t make the ones with metal wheels any more.)


I can see that you’ve also submitted an email support request, and that we’ve responded. I’m going to close this forum topic to avoid duplicate communication and any confusion.