Cost per minute

I am trying to figure out what the machine hour cost is for the pro. You have the machine itself, the replacement tube, frequent cleaning and maintenance., shipping for the replacement parts and I’m sure I’m missing some things related to the machine. There seems to be many different opinions on this. Can someone give an algorithm that the numbers can be changed as costs fluctuate? Any help would be greatly appreciated

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Welcome to the forum.
You have detailed too many variables and unknowns to come to any accurate conclusion, in my opinion. Your time and material are the major factors that you can assign a cost factor to. Everything else is absolute conjecture.


I agree that it is difficult to develop an algorithm as there is not enough data on the lifetime of replaceable parts. If you are trying to get a handle on costs and pricing for jobs, you might try searching “operating costs” in the forum, you will find several discussions of pricing use of the machine and materials and your design time. Welcome to the forum, I know you will find it a treasure trove of information on anything :glowforge:

I’ve had two machines for some time now and had to run assorted repairs and replacements on them.

I’ve concluded that budgeting $3,000 a year for machines should cover me for most eventualities. I am in the UK and to get a refurb machine replacement costs about $1500. So, for US users I would think around $1,500 a year is a good guestimate.

Another way of looking at it is that it will last 3 years (in the UK that is the standard figure for all capital expenses like machinery).

There are a lot of people running businesses here who are assuming their GF will last forever and cost them nothing.

Electric etc is very tiny. Time and materials is the other factor.


This has been discussed a few times before, you might be interested in the older threads. Let’s see:

… and so on. Just search the forum for “pricing”, like this:

Like everyone’s saying here, it’s complex and depends a lot on your specific situation.


Considering the lack of data and how variable this can be your guestimate sounds very reasonable. Probably a bit high but that is far better than low.

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The GF was designed as an occasional-use hobby machine with a 2-yr lifespan. If you’re using it for business then you could possibly guess at halving that, so over a year, 40-hrs per week if you keep it running all-day, that’s 2000 hrs or $3/hr for a pro.

I asked at my local JoAnn and IIRC they wanted $20/hr to rent theirs, but it seemed like nobody in the store was certain.


When a commercial business buys a manufacturing machine a per hour or per minute cost is included in the information. This is just a rough estimate of general use, not breakage. Then the business adds in the additional costs of labor, materials, utilities, shipping, advertising, etc, to come up with their cost. I have read through many posts and there does not seem to be anything like that with the glowforge machines.

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Okay that’s the closest to a professional answer I have seen. Thank you so much

Assuming a 2,000 hour lifespan on the tube, $500 replacement cost, and electricity costs in my market (Northern Colorado), my cost accountant determined that the cost per hour was just $2.00 (3 1/3 cents per minute). 4+ years in and I’ve yet to need the tube replacement, so I’ve stopped factoring in the operating cost (I’ve got maint $$$ banked, just in case) – materials and time are the basis of my pricing. YMMV of course.


Since I haven’t seen this generic number posted up yet, $45 an hour is what I calculate with = $0.75/minute

This is because many maker spaces charge this amount, so I use it when calculating out the occasional cutting job. Note that I don’t use this number to price my artisan puzzles!

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