Changing the laser tube

Hi everyone, can the Glowforge laser tube and other repairs be done on-site or does the laser need to be shipped back if issues arise?

Welome to the fourm.
Currently, Glowforge laser tubes are not user serviceable.

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Laser tube -no Other repairs- some

Basically, a new laser tube is and has been a very rare need.

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Welcome to the community forum! Did you just order a Glowforge, or just considering it?

Each Glowforge comes with unlimited free technical support. If any issues with your machine arise, Glowforge’s support team will help you troubleshoot and get you back up and running.

Some issues can be repaired at home, like replacing belts, wheels, the print head or the carriage plate. Glowforge will mail you the parts and instructions for how to repair/replace whatever the issue was.

Some things can’t be repaired at home, like the tube, control board, or power supply. If you have a problem with your machine that can’t be fixed at home, they will ask you to mail it to them. So, be sure to keep the original box and all the orange bits that hold things in place for shipping when you unpack yours. You’ll need them in case you ever have to mail the machine back for repair or replacement.

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The support is free - the repairs/parts, after your warranty runs out, are not free.

(Which is what you said @dan84, but it could have been misconstrued considering the question it was in response to!)

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just a plug here, I have a full 40W basic gantry / laser tube / that was a pull – from a working unit if anyone is interested in buying the monster.

Jonathan

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Might make a fun science experiment, but I’d bet against anyone being able to use that to repair their machine.

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… but who doesn’t like a challenge?

So would I, but I think that’s going to depend on perseverance. I predict someone is going to accomplish it eventually.

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So I finally used an Epilog Fusion that we got at my office, and I must say, in terms of usability and output quality, I think the Glowforge wins without a doubt. I live outside the US so shipping a 100lb piece of equipment back and forth isn’t feasible. Clearing it the first time through Customs was around $1500 - almost half the cost of the Plus model. To ship for repairs and return would be twice that. So when my laser died that was it. I do miss my Glowforge and was thinking about replacing it. I was just hoping that maybe their business model changed to facilitate in-situ repairs.

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I also used my laser for my business, so I think the use might have been more than the machine was intended for. My laser tube died after 5 months.

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The laser quality and ease of use were excellent. Like a dream. My Glowforge spoiled me. That Epilog is definetly not as easy to use comparatively speaking.

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I think from what I have seen unless there has been a break in the tube, it would more likely be the power source rather than the tube. The tube would slowly lose power over time where the power thing would be sudden as I think was what happened to my last one and several more telling the tale here.

If you fund someone else with a dead machine you might be able to make one good one from two if you have the skillset and bravery to try it.

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So, are we not allowed to change it, or it is just the assumption that it is a difficult task?

I changed the laser tube on my old cutter, an FSL Hobby G5, the mother of the Muse.
The procedure is not a big deal, and was inexpensive: the 40W tune costs $179 in Amazon.(here)

Unless Glowforge made it impossible to change the tunbe on purpose (e.g. non standard measure, special shape, proprietary connectors, some kind of lock), replacing a laser tube is not a big deal.

Of course, you may not want to do it, then you can pay for the service.

But since the tube is a consumable, we should be able to decide if we want to service it by ourselves or by a third party.

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So, in another post you share that you had your machine replaced. I assumed it was broken. But as per your comment, it wasn’t broken, it just that the tube died.

If that is the case, then it Was indeed a painful bite … the worst thing is that it will not end, the tubes are just consumables.

And, that painful bite to pay for a consumable as if it were a broken machine, it is not only you, it is for all of us.

But the tube was not dead. There are many points and steps that make up the process. Like “how long does it take to change a flat tire?” the first thought is a couple of minutes, but from stop to driving off, everything from digging stuff out, finding everything, getting the jack working, and afterward putting everything back, actually changing the tire is the least of it.

So it is when there is an unknown failure in a complex mechanism. If you can see a crack in the tube with the water dripping out you can know it is at least “also the tube” but in most cases even when it is something you can repair at home it takes a lot of figuring to narrow down the cause.

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So far the company has not offered up a replacement tube which is supposedly a custom size. The disassembly process to get to the tube is quite extensive. Should you be able to physically replace the tube there is no easy way to align the mirrors. In most lasers a laser pulse could be sent to determine where the beam is hitting the final mirror. No such ability exists without the company enabling that function. I guess you might be able to cover the head window with a masking, send a brief low power dot as a project. But the GF still needs to go through all of it’s homing, and calibrations each time you turn it on. The whole process would be messy. Tube replacement is one area where I’m not at all happy with the company’s truth telling. They originally claimed the tube would be user replaceable, but the design has so many things to stop that from occurring. That would have been clear to anyone long before the first prototype was put to paper.

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Ok, well, at least in your case it wasn’t just a flat tire, but something else.

But, however, the tube will die (i.e. will have no power to cut anymore) , eventually. And at that moment, I will not be happy paying for an overprice tube + labour+shipping. I won’t be happy at all … thanks God that is in the far away future.

I see, then are locks in place to make it difficult for the user to do it.

As I wrote, for an equivalent laser cutter (made in US, similar quality and size) it costs me less than $180 and 1 hour to change the tube. Not because I’m good at it, but because the machine was designed to make it easy for the user.

The original expected life expectancy was 2 years, although many of us have more than double that now.

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