A note for folks thinking about disassembling or modifying your Glowforge

First and foremost, I’m delighted that you’re inspired by what we’ve built and honored that you’d consider it worth your time to explore what we’ve engineered. If you’re reading this, you can probably appreciate in a different way than most the love and energy we’ve poured into building this product for you.

That said, I want to share a few notes of caution, with an eye towards avoiding an unpleasant surprise.

First, each unit is factory calibrated for many tiny variations in assembly, like the precise amount various assemblies are tightened, twisted, or torqued. A unit that’s dis-assembled and re-assembled may (or may not) show a host of problems, small or large, immediately or much later: out of focus, image alignment errors, etc. Even if a machine has been properly re-assembled, it’s possible that the calibration may no longer be correct. There’s no way to re-calibrate these without the factory fixtures and factory software.

Second, should a machine that had been disassembled or modified be shipped to us for warranty service, we would have to charge for repairs and shipment since this activity voids the warranty. I say that not to finger-wag, but to avoid the unpleasant surprise that could occur if someone took their machine apart, discovered a problem, and sent it back. I’d hate for them to only then discover too late that they had to pay to have it repaired.

Finally, I would be remiss (and scolded by my friendly neighborhood lawyers) if I did not point out that you could seriously injure and/or kill yourself or others by disassembling it, by modifying it, or by operating it after it is re-assembled should it be re-assembled in a manner that created a hazard.


Not a lawyer, but I am pretty sure this applies to anything you have bought.
Once you start poking around inside, the factory should always have the right to say you voided any warranty.
In fact, peeking into the guts of a lot of products will require you to break a seal. Once that is done, any problems are yours.
Just the way things are.

You shouldn’t have to feel bad for pointing this out.


I feel a squeeze here. Unfortunate that you are the one who finds himself in the press. But that’s why you make the big bucks. :grin:



The FNL would rather I not say anything. :slight_smile: I just want to give a friendly heads up, because if the situation was reversed, I’d want one.



He doesn’t. Just his eloquent way of pointing out that if you disassemble your glowforge the warranty turns into a pumpkin. That keeps the lawyers out of his arse.


One thing that I did when i got mine that I’d suggest everyone do when they first get their machines… take the time to shoot about a hundred pictures of the interior, from every angle that you can think of. It gives you a base line for checking on problems that might crop up later. Belts. Cables. Boards. Rails. Everything.

If support later asks you to take a picture of a certain area, you’ll likely have a clean one off the bat, and if anything has changed, you’ll have a better chance of catching it.

(And you can see it better before you cover everything with residue.) :slightly_smiling_face:


I am curious how you will solve the alignment issue for those that opt to replace the tube without sending it back to the factory.

It does not appear that the tube can easily be removed without taking the left and right glass tops off.


Too late


Makes total sense, @dan.

I’m just happily using my glowforge to make stuff, but I’m also waiting for the open source firmware release. Maybe then I could use some software that has basic stuff like saving layouts, saving custom settings, entering precise numbers for scale, rotation, and offsets. You know the stuff that I am baffled wasn’t put in first thing…

Or are you guys just making us use this software now, kind of like the teachers back in school would make us do things the long/hard way, instead of the modern better ways. Just so we know it? Right, any day now you’ll give us an update with all those basic features to make our lives glorious!


This should be obvious, but thanks for putting this out there. I was thrilled when you announced that the factory was keeping a “snapshot” of my machine’s metrics for the purpose of enabling “mothership” adjustments to true up accuracy.

I’m shocked that some people buy a new iPhone and disassemble it right away, but happy to have the ability to replace my own cracked screen because they did. I only do this because they charge so ridiculously much to do it for me. So I can see both sides.

From the company’s perspective, there’s no question. Open your device to a level not documented by Glowforge and your warranty is likely invalidated.


As geeky and techy as I tend to be, I much prefer having the manufacturer support of a good warranty over trying to fix it myself in that time period.


I’m curious, now, but where would we end up sending our machines back to in the event of a warranty issue? Back to the Flex factory, I’m assuming? Also, I’m sure this has already been answered, but would we receive a prepaid stamp in order to turn it in?

Not asking because I want to send mine back for any reason, but I’m just curious is all :stuck_out_tongue:

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I am as well, but at least in the case of the iPhone, all the optics are more or less encapsulated and would be hard to get out of alignment. Disassembling a GF would be more like tearing down a $4000 pair of binoculars – sure, a competent optical engineer might be able to eventually get all the elements back into perfect alignment, but they would have to assume the risk. As an astronomer, I’ve aligned &collimated telescope optics ranging from amateur 4" scopes up to 24" research-grade cameras and sweated every minute they weren’t locked down. Other owners’ risk-tolerance will vary, of course, but I’m keeping my warranty!


Words to live by.


Well put!

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Once you start poking around inside, the factory should always have the right to say you voided any warranty.

This is, in fact, wrong.

If you do something that screws the device up, then the factory should have the right to say you voided the warranty.

If you open something, then some completely unrelated part of it goes bad because of a factory defect, then the factory should not have the right to say you voided the warranty.

And, yes, I know that the factory incurs a cost in telling the difference. Doesn’t matter.

Just the way things are.

Actually, for many products in many markets, that is not the way things are and that is a matter of Law™.

I think the real news here is that the Glowforge is very easy to bork. It’s disappointing to hear that the product is so sensitve to dissassembly and so reliant on finicky software calibration, but it’s understandable at the price point.



No user serviceable parts inside ^^^ there is the Law.
You are mistaken in your statements @jbash , but it is your right to believe what you said and it is the manufacturers right to deny you free repairs for negligence.

I will stand with the Glowforge disclaimer made above.

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Might be wrong, but my understanding when I purchased was that all lasers require calibration and tuning. (Of varying degrees of difficulty if performed by the user.) The nice thing about a Glowforge is that we don’t have to do it.

It was a big selling point for me since I didn’t want to have to waste time with it.