Discussion of March '17 update

@dan I’m with the majority here Dan, tacking the announcement onto the end of the post wasn’t good planning.

I’m trying to see things from your perspective and I’m guessing that:

  1. Your FNL dropped this bombshell pretty recently and was immovable on it.
  2. You can’t divert resources to engineer the issue out as the design is finalised and cancellations would be a landslide if you delayed again, plus…
  3. …You now have Flex on a timeline for production and time is most definitely money now. It’s non-negotiable, you can’t stop the engine now.
  4. You’d love to sell the tube directly to folks as promised but FNL says that if you put instructions in and someone sets their dog on fire doing the job you’re on the hook. Selling it without instructions is just a million times worse. Waivers hold no weight.
  5. You’d consider opening the manufacturer of the custom tube up to customers in order to sidestep this issue and make it right, but FNL thinks this is still thin ice and anyway the VC’s see this as being part of your IP and what they paid for - there’s no way they’ll let you do this.
  6. You have no service infrastructure with which to promise local service or service centres.

It’s quite the pickle.

A few questions then:

  1. You say you can’t support user-replaceable tubes but can / will Glowforge sell customers the tube? a yes / no on this would answer a LOT of people’s questions here.

You say you have ‘trained’ engineers doing this job internally.
2) Who trains them?
3) How long is this training?
4) Can it not be formalised for the community? (I could help here)
5) Can the FNL not be placated by a waiver?

A couple of counterpoints to the problems outlined above:

  1. The longer you wait to tell us you’re not going to just let this slide the longer it’s going to rip the community apart. Just drop us a note to let us know you’re reading and thinking and soul searching. It’s what we need right now, and it will certainly slow the heamorage of pre-orders which is likely just starting.

  2. You don’t need an engineering / logistics fix to this issue so you don’t need to divert resources from those teams. I think this is a customer service issue / legal issue, so perhaps divert (or hire!) resources in these areas and let logistics and manufacturing do their thing?

  3. Selling the tube to customers without instructions is obviously a mistake and not what you’d want to do. My guess is that sticking to your guns and forcing people to ship back for a repair is going to tank the business. Perhaps selling the tube with a waiver (however weak that might be legally) is the lesser of two evils?

  4. Allowing us access to the tube manufacturer might seem like an insane decision but if it does side-step the legal issues then perhaps the VC (or whomever might be saying it’s a ‘no’) might consider the alternative?


All great points. Concerns have been circulating for some time over Proofgrade being inaccessible to overseas owners, and now this tube replacement issue strains things even more. If we can find ways to put our community members as active participants in the business model, other than simple owners, we can enhance everyone’s value, and to the company as well. Bringing sales of Proofgrade to overseas would not only improve user experience, but boost the company bottom line and fund the development of overseas Proofgrade sources of supply.

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Sure! But let’s say that’s optional. I’m trying to anticipate barebones Cost Of Ownership here.

I know my inkjet printer is going to use $90/year of ink. I know that up front. So once I get below 50% left I can order new ink from Amazon. My downtime is 0 (save the seconds it takes to replace a cartridge), and there are no additional costs involved with this at all. I expected to do the same with my Glowforge. When the tube reaches 50% life, I’d order a new one and have it waiting when needed.

But, Jesus! To know up front that this thing is going to cost me $500/year in up-keep?! Wow! At that point it almost becomes disposable! I mean, who knows how much it will cost in 2-3 years to replace the entire machine? Will that machine be even better? Maybe I should just set aside $500/year until the tube dies and then decide.

Problem is, will I get >$500/year ROI?


I cirtanly had a similar thought when I saw customer made polls saying they would be willing to wait longer in order to solve the issue.

Yep, this too. The whole “We have the first factory-produced Pro units in the office” set me back and then I saw the tube replacement info and flipped onto that.

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Not an entirely unreasonable possibility. I would accept a delay to fix this problem (that I agree should not be a problem - especially after multiple posts by Dan about the magic being used to create an easy user replaceable tube). Just another “taking longer than we planned again” delay would be a serious WTF are you serious moment. So you could be right. It’s coldly calculating but possible.


Certainly not saying I think this is as much of a response as should be given in this situation, but in case others didn’t see it, Dan sort of commented on the community response over on another thread by saying

“Indeed, it’s very likely that we’ll do a lot of work to make this easier, cheaper, and less expensive before it’s a problem for anyone in >12 months. But I don’t want to tell you we’re going to do something unless we have a clear plan to successfully do that, and it is, unfortunately, far too complicated for us to put together that plan now.”

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I understand tube replacement under the warranty will be at no charge and this should include shipping. As far as tube replacement after warranty has expired, what difference would it make if a customer did not replace the tube correctly since it is out of warranty. I believe then while under warranty we do what is required by Glowforge and after warranty we are given the option. I also think Glowforge can set up a You Tube video on how to replace a tube safely & properly.

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They are potentially allowing grandma to work around dangerous voltage even after the plug is disconnected. Great videos aren’t going to make the lawyers any happier.


Maybe this will help get the point across :slight_smile:

I certainly wasn’t intending to jump down your throat, and I’m sorry if it came off that way.

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Another possible scenario is that the logistics of delivering the promised amount of units on time, at the presale price vs cost of production and potential cost if there are a high number of defective units in initial shipments that need to be returned for service under warranty means that it makes better business sense to discourage a large number of of pre order purchasers, preferably international, from following through with their purchase and instead focus on getting the product solid in the US market before aiming for further international sales. Maybe this idea is totally left field but unfortunately I can’t help thinking things like this when receiving an update that essentially states that unless you are rich, international customers ought cancel their orders…


Oh, I was hoping the hot dog was going to explode. In the 80s I worked at a company that made equipment that connected to telephone lines (small businesses, so inside the building.) Every spring, especially from the SE United States, we’d see a bunch of repairs for lightning strikes. Sometimes parts would be blown out of the PCB and other times parts would be blown in half. The little bits rattling around inside the case.

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So based on this message I received this evening, on this forum. Competitors are already moving in to the cloud of chum left by todays announcement. @dan,.Say something mate, anything!

Greetings other possible UK GF owners.
Given today’s announcement I’m not sure I can even be bothered to wait for the end of the queue only to get a machine that will cost me a fortune when the tube runs out. 2 years of light use means 1 year of normal use so it’s very disappointing to hear it won’t be user servicable.

I’m not trying to capitalise on our collective misfortunes but I just wanted to say that we’re going to be making an announcement about the vanillabox laser cutter in the next few weeks and you might like to hear what we have to say… http://www.justaddsharks.co.uk/vanillabox

We hate the salesman aspect of the job but sometimes it pays to make people aware that there are other options.
Sorry if this message bothers you, please feel free to ignore me.


Here’s the plan then lads:

  1. Order a GF.
  2. Partially cancel - everything except the tube (get partial refund).
  3. Order another GF (don’t cancel (even partially))

Result: Have 1x GF + 1x extra tube. Bliss.

Repeat steps 1-2 every 1-2 years…


Agreed. Working on a microwave even unplugged could kill you. If changing the ink in my printer could kill me or I had to send the whole printer back for more ink I would not be buying that printer. This is and issue they really need to have sorted out before they claim to have a “desktop laser” vs. a commercial machine


Compared to previous comments , this abrupt change from easy to replace to not user serviceable sounds like a major design failure. I didn’t mind the delays (wouldn’t have had time to play with it anyways), but such a fundamental change with no clear thought out strategy (haven’t read to end of this thread yet), is very disappointing. All design/engineering items around the tube (mounting, electrical and coolant connections) should have had tube replacement as part of the requirements (not optional, but requirement ).
I guess if the tube last 10 years, this may be an OK strategy but not for a 2 year consumable cycle)


Possible solution. It’s only half-baked so even I’m not sure if I like it yet. But I think I do.

Tube on the verge of failure.
Send me a loaner Glowforge. This provides me a Glowforge to work with as well as a box to ship with.
Bi-directional shipping and labor costs are on Glowforge.
I get my Glowforge back with a new tube installed.
I pack up my loaner in that box and send it on its way.

Yeah… The more I think about it, the more it’s the answer for me IF we absolutely will not be able to replace the tube ourselves.

  • Tom

sounds great for the end user, but GF has four way shipping costs to absorb. if those are “free shipping” to the end user, GF isn’t just replacing your tube for free at $500, it’s also paying UPS for the ability to do so.

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These glass tubes have a shelf life, we’ve discovered that using them actually prolongs the life and if you leave them sat doing nothing for 6 months you might find they don’t fire up at all.

If you do a lot of engraving it will also shorten the tube life compared to just cutting normally. Also cutting light materials is a lot less use of the tube than heavy materials so good news for people cutting card and paper bad news for people cutting 6mm perspex.


Can and probably will… (though i never thought i would cancel before you!)
The funny thing is, this is not even about the money. TBH the costs involved are negligible from our households POV.
The problem for me is the doubt this raises:
If they have gone 2 years without noticing a phenomenally important design flaw then that is almost as concerning to me as if they HAD noticed a phenomenally important design flaw and only now chosen to tell us. Either way this causes a significant crisis of trust

Ha ha… water off a duck’s back.
We talk straight in Australia. If pointing out ‘a major design flaw’ is not ‘a feature’ is a bannable offense then that says volumes about Glowforge’s position on this.