An open letter to my $4,070 on Day 1004 of its captivity

I doubt anyone but a US customer could do that. and only a US customer who doesn’t need a filter to make it work.

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At this point Dan saying he is sorry for the continued delays and lack of transparency is like the skit southpark did with BP saying sorry.


Man, i thought i was the only one who visualised them like that!


There was a time when I felt that way, but in retrospect it seems like the level of apology is actually inverse to the length of the delay and the level of frustration.

Let’s recap:

April 2016:

Due to schedule delays, we plan to ship your Glowforge by December 2016 instead of the original date of June 2016. New orders will ship after yours, in 2017.

I apologize. I worked very hard to deliver your Glowforge on time, and I am sorry that I failed you. Our team has been amazing and done everything possible. This is on me.

When we launched six months ago, we scheduled our production with room for delays, but we’ve just made the painful decision not to ship crowdfunding campaign units by June.

I know that it’s important to you to get your Glowforge order on time. It’s important to us too. In fact, it’s what we think of every day when we come into work. It’s what we obsess over when we’re building schedules and running tests. We think about the trust you placed in us, and how to best pay it back.

We feel terrible about this delay, and by way of apology, we are
including $200 of extras.

Delayed until December 2016! Can you imagine? I don’t really believe I’ll see mine before December 2018.

But when December 2016 rolls around:

You should have your Glowforge already, but we let you down. Depending on your order date, your Glowforge will arrive between March and July.

You deserve better. We are heartbroken to disappoint you.

As hard as we’ve tried to make our schedule, we failed, and that’s entirely on me. Our team has done work that’s nothing short of heroic to get the job done for you. I’m the one who came up short, and I am responsible for this delay.

We’re paying you for waiting

[Y]ou’ve waited a long time for your Glowforge, and we told you it was going to arrive in December. Since it won’t, we’re going to issue you a gift certificate good for either Proofgrade materials or designs in the store. The gift certificate will increase $20 for each month you have to wait, so if your Glowforge is ready in April, it’ll be a $80 gift certificate. If you have to wait longer, it’ll be even bigger.

At the time I felt this was a nice gesture. In the meantime, though, they’ve dropped the retail price of the Pro for brand new buyers by $1,000 cash. By contrast, they’re “paying me for waiting” with a retail value of $360 in barcoded plywood.

I hate that I let you down. I hate that you don’t get your Glowforge this month. You deserve better, and you deserve not to have to wait.

I am truly sorry.

I made my first post on the forums in response to this update, and this is where I was at as a customer in this time of elaborate apology-making:

Hardware is hard, and a lot of stuff in the Glowforge design is unusual. The serial delays are disappointing, but not surprising, and they don’t get my ire up. Crowdfunding hardware kind of always goes like this. But I will say that the fact that pre-release units are just now appearing does leave me with the impression that it must have been clear for a while that production units were unlikely to ship in December, which doesn’t bolster my confidence in communications going forward.

Suffice it to say that my ire is now well and truly up, and my lack of confidence has been more than vindicated. The fact that Dan won’t answer simple questions about the filter makes me very nervous in light of this history.

From June 2017, apologies are starting to get fewer and a lot less effusive:

We’re now shipping production units. We’re incredibly proud of how they turned out. Some of you have yours already. Some of you will get yours ahead of our latest schedule - and, I’m so frustrated to say, some of you will receive yours up to three months later. Our updated schedule for final, production units is:

Now: Glowforge Basic deliveries underway.

June 30: Glowforge Pro shipments start.

September 30: Air Filter shipments start.

October 31: All Basic and Pro orders placed by 10/26/2015 shipped.

November 30: All Basic and Pro orders shipped.

December 29: All Air Filters shipped.

I’m excited to tell you we’re shipping, but pained to tell you about the schedule change because I know you’re counting on receiving your Glowforge. I apologize.

Our company spent 2016 torn between the desire to ship your Glowforge right away, and the desire to ship you the incredible product you expect and deserve. Now we need to do both.

We are shipping production units now, but we can’t do it fast enough to hit our previous schedule without sacrificing quality. Some of you received your Glowforge already. Many more of you will have it in July or August, on track with our schedule from December. But not everyone. We’re almost to the end, but our updated schedule means that we’ll have to ask some people to wait a few more months. That makes us feel terrible.

October 2017:

You’ve waited a really long time

I know it’s been a long, long wait. For some of you it’s over. For others, it’s not, and for that I am so very sorry. Next week we’ll get you an update so you know when you’ll have it.

April 2018:

Air Filter

We’re hard at work getting air filters ready to ship - we know many of you are waiting on these, and apologize for the time it’s taken.

You kind of have to hunt through the latest update to find something resembling an apology: “We hate letting you down on this, and understand how frustrating this is.” You’ll find it after the announcement that the JoAnn Fabrics in Columbus, Ohio now stocks Proofgrade, and the exciting news that if you had a laser cutter, you could now use its iOS app to cut at full power.

I get that there are diminishing returns from two and a half years of apologies, because they really do seem pretty hollow after a while. But given that we’ve gone from “we’re heartbroken” to “we don’t owe you an explanation”, I don’t really feel over-apologized to.


Yea, I still hold that Health Canada had their heart broken by a laser.

HC, not every laser is bad… Glowette Forge is a good girl from a good familly, she’s in a safe enclosure, she won’t start burning anything till someone is in the room.

She doesn’t deserve to be punished for that dirty Extrema Lasors’ mistakes. Forgive Extrema and move on, it’s good for your soul.


Let’s not.

Why? Your frustration has been noted. Your frustration is absolutely warranted. We all get it. Does beating this horse to death over and over really help? Is there something forum members can do here? Is there something GF can do at this point? (That answer is yes, refund you. So you can order a Dremel. I’m only a little bit curious as to why you haven’t done that yet.) NO, GF cannot ship your unit yet, for whatever reason. Doesn’t REALLY matter as to why at this point, if it showed up on your doorstep tomorrow, you wouldn’t be happy, you’d say, “FINALLY!” and save all of this “recap” for the next complaint thread when you run into even a simple problem (that will also be a well documented issue no doubt). The letter was funny. But we all apparently missed the true intent.

Seriously. Contact support. Get your money back. There is clearly nothing you can create with the GF that will make-up for your personal level of frustration. Order a Dremel. Please. I guarantee you’ll be happier. (Or a Muse, or any other machine that you can get right away. I can point you in the right direction for some forums with tons of recommendations and user support. No lie.)


Be quiet or get a refund is at the core be quiet here or be quiet somewhere else. It’s an answer that missing, they could tell us what is going on and there’s nothing to be loud about. It’s fact and I can make a decision with that.

I understand this is uncomfortable but GF kills another horse every time they miss a deadline. Tell us why it died and what you’re doing about it, we hit it with a stick to draw attention to it.


No one here believes that for a second. If they explained each and every minute detail of each and every minute (and major) set-back, the arm-chair CEOs would be loud and proud with all of their solutions.

Why you think GF isn’t paying attention to the horse(s) is beyond me. Why people think they just don’t want to deliver every unit as soon as possible makes zero sense. They aren’t doing enough for you and your money. Totally understood. Yet, you let them keep it. The level of frustration is absolutely understandable. Choosing to remain at that level, with a company you clearly distrust, makes no sense.


Well one thing’s for sure, @public2 did a nice job on the letter to his $4070. It’s fair to say that probably the vast majority of backers are unhappy with GF’s level of service and repeated broken promises. But at the same time, I will say that for me it was worth the wait even if I didn’t get the promised discount. Sincere good luck to you international backers that are choosing to hang in there; also, thumbs up and “good choice” to you backers who are requesting refunds.


I won’t – indeed, can’t – argue with the logic of that. Canceling would be the rational thing to do.

I kept faith with Glowforge without much hesitation for two years. That was when Dan finally admitted after months of red flags that there were problems with delivering the air filter. He flat refused to answer any questions about it. That attitude – we want your money and support, but when we don’t deliver anything close to what we promised, we don’t owe you an explanation – felt, and still feels, like a giant middle finger raised to me as a “customer”.

If I cancel today, Glowforge gets literally everything they wanted out of me without having to be accountable for delivering anything. My money was a nice prop to show to investors to demonstrate demand, and they got a little profit out of the deal, since that money was held in an interest-bearing account. I get less than nothing; inflation alone means my 2015 dollars are worth $233 less if they hand them back to me in 2018. Being a Glowforge “customer” feels bad. But the idea of walking away with less than zero while Dan strolls to the bank flipping me the bird feels even worse.

The only leverage I have is that I am still owed what I paid for, and I don’t really want to let Dan off that hook.

Does that make sense? No, you’re right: it doesn’t. Is it healthy, or a good way to make decisions? No. But at this stage of my journey as a Glowforge “customer”, the only choice I have is how I am going to lose, and at least as of right now this is the way that feels least disempowering. You can shake your head at that and write me off as a nut, and I can’t really blame you. But I am not just going to shut up and play happy.

Yes, we certainly can’t have Glowforge giving explanations; someone might be critical of them.

I’m afraid that the very large red herring you’ve turned over there quite overpowers the smell of dead horse. The idea, much promoted by Dan, that the only alternative to offering zero information on a two-and-a-half year delay is to provide minutely detailed technical details is ludicrous.

I don’t see any evidence that delivering the filters is a priority at all. They were crowing about the new laser cutter model they released a few weeks ago, but the notice of the latest three month filter delay was given less billing in the latest update than the availability of Proofgrade at the JoAnn Fabrics in Columbus, Ohio.

The hole is pretty deep, but showing a modicum of good faith would be a start. They’d have to lower the middle finger and take some time to build confidence that the delivery estimates are based on something other than a guess as to what customers will tolerate this time around. And if they can cut prices for brand new customers by $1,000 a unit, I think they can refund a few hundred bucks to people whose money they have held for going on three years.

I can’t speak for international customers, who have a different/additional set of frustrations, but that could get me back to a place where I am merely very irritated.


raises hand I knew clearly that selling my previous machine to have a GF made was a tricky situation, but I, a business owner, had backups in place and backups to my backups (which turned out to be necessary since TechShop filed for Bankruptcy literally a week before I received my shipment notice).

However, I was also familiar with manufacturing and walking into my order knowing full well that it could take 3 - 5 years. I understand this is not common among users in the forum, and I have witnessed some terrible things said about this situation. But, you paid for a new machine to be manufactured from the ground up, knowing that the company was located in the US and that said machine did not exist at the time, would need to be created, then manufactured on a larger scale, then shipped, and then go through customs.

It’s been a ride, but know your rollercoaster car is still moving.


Perhaps you should have told Glowforge, because at the time they were representing that they would start shipping by the end of 2015.

Which is convenient, because so am I.

That’s not accurate. Glowforge was showing off units to the public on September 26 and 27, 2015 at World Maker Faire.

I do understand that manufacturing is not easy, but if you want me to front you money for two and a half years longer than you said I would have to, I expect you to explain to me why, and why that is a reasonable bet on my part.

I am glad that your expectations were met.


They showed off prototypes. Prototypes are very different than real working and replicate-able machines.

Also, they have explained why insofar as they are allowed by their lawyers. I’m sorry that answer isn’t “enough” for you, but it’s still an answer.

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I personally wouldn’t have ponied up the money in 2015 if I knew I could keep it for 2 years and only pay $500 more and still get the machine less than 6 months after I got it from pre-ordering.

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You are absolutely wrong. Read the “I hate to go” posts.

No, I’m not. The rest of the quote is… “If they explained each and every minute detail of each and every minute (and major) set-back, the arm-chair CEOs would be loud and proud with all of their solutions.” Because you know how to build a laser cutting machine and filter and software to run them from the ground up, and get it manufactured for thousands of people in every country. But ya didn’t. Perspective. Get some.

You can disagree, you can claim I lack perspective but you’ve not been following along if you claim no one believes GF should be sharing more information. One of the following had an answer last I checked and it wasn’t great. This doesn’t even include the goodbye posts.


That’s not at all what I said(twice). But you know that.

My Glowforge arrived today, 41 months and one day after I ordered it. I was given no tracking number or advice that it had shipped; it just showed up. Information-free to the end.


Thats awesome! Looking forward to see what you’ll create!

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