Cuts Like a Knife - Not anymore!

I got my GF in 2018 - since then ive used it less than 25 times because i travel for work - Now with the Pandemic I figured - its GF Time! I cut 2 projects then the GF wouldn’t cut thru material any more! I cleaned it - it cut again - then it stoped - i worked with Support and they think it may be the laser tube - they want me to ship it back $800 for a round trip assuming i can pack it right - and then $1000+ to fix it. My questions are these - given it hasn’t been moved in 2 years (on a level work bench) is this amount of maintenance reasonable and expected? how do folks @Jules and others manage to do so much? im desperate please help GF friends!

As you’ve opened another support ticket by posting here, but are already communicating by email, they will likely just close this.

The cost of shipping is what it is, it’s a heavy and bulky item. The cost to have it repaired will vary based on what is actually wrong. Whether it’s worth it to you depends on how much you value the machine.

Where do you live that they’re quoting you that amount for shipping? I’m no expert on lasers, so I can’t tell you the shelf life of an unused one, but mine that has been used an average amount for nearly 2 years only struggles to cut through Draftboard without settings being modified. That’s true so long as my optics are clean, and if my machine is used, then goes unused for a couple of weeks, it needs to be cleaned otherwise it has buildup from the environment I’m in.

I’ve had my share of problems, and have been quoted the 800-1000 repair price, and from what I understand, it’s because they’ll fix everything they deem in need of repair. I was also told that the those process were “the average” but not a direct quote. If your tube is the only thing in need of replacement, then they’re quoted as this “Out of warranty, we’ll replace it and realign it for you for $499, including roundtrip shipping within the US.” Maybe you’ve misread the email and took it as a direct quote instead of an average.

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thanks for taking the time to reply - what will you do - will you pay a 1-2K every year? is that reasonable? if it is reasonable then i might be better off using commercial print by the piece laser sites - i cant say ill break even at 1500 a year in maintenance

Like I said, I’ve had this particular machine for around 2 years. In all that time I’ve been aware that there was going to at least be a $499 cost to me when my tube was in need of replacement, but I hadn’t known that it could potentially be much more than that when other parts were broken. I’ve personally replaced 3 separate components in my machine, and just recently fixed my lid which had come apart. In total, it cost me something like $90 to order the parts that I needed from Glowforge. There are ways around their repair center prices, but even with my knowledge of these machines, I’m not certain that I’d attempt to repair the tube, especially since they still do not openly sell the replacement.

With that said, no, I wouldn’t continually pour over 1k into this machine yearly, but I also haven’t had to do so, and many others also have not had to. As I mentioned, they quoted me the same numbers as they did to you, but as an average, not as a bill. I’m not sure what their repair technicians do, but I know the majority of that cost must go to their hourly rate that goes into testing and evaluating. I know this because when I was quoted that average, I diagnosed the problem myself before sending in my machine, and was able to purchase the part for around $30. I also can’t tell you what they actually would have charged me, because they never had the chance to physically overlook my machine.

As far as I’m aware, the shipping is the only absolute that support can give you when it comes to cost before receiving the machine, since there’s no way of knowing what the repair company, that is hired by Glowforge but a separate entity, is going to charge before they have it in front of them.

I’d also mention that this machine is a hobby laser, that can be supplemental to a business, but shouldn’t be entirely relied upon as the only means of getting the product made. Hobby wise, it’s certainly cheaper to have one off prints done by online websites and local maker spaces, so the Glowforge sits in a weird niche where its main strength is its convenience, under the pretense that it’s running smoothly.

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For what it’s worth mine is working on 3 years and I haven’t spent a dime on it besides the lens cleaning wipes.

@raymondking32, may I ask what adhesive you used?

I used this:

I scuffed up the paint and metal and did enough epoxy that would cover everything, with minimal excess. Let it sit with some clamps for a few days, and kept the extra that had dried on a piece of cardboard to be sure the hardness was where I’d like it. Prayed to the heavens and threw everything back together, and it works great. Made sure to do the camera recalibrator to be sure my alignment was going to be up to date.


Nice! glad you were able to accomplish it with success. The thought of boxing it up and handing it over to the delivery gorillas makes me nausious.

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Thanks again for the reply - If they use a 3rd party to make repairs maybe i might explore that option.

thanks again!

yes the thought of getting it boxed correctly is way too much for me

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Glowforge uses a third party for repairs. I did all of my repairs myself, but ordered the parts from Glowforge. They’re simple enough to do, but do require confidence and a steady hand. Again, if it’s the laser tube, I’d try to request that they specifically only repair the tube, and deny any other work to save on cost, but of course, I can only speak from a United States perspective, so if you’re in another country, I’m not sure what the costs and procedures are.


Thanks for the discussion! Since we’re communicating by email and this thread appears to have quieted, I’m going to close it.