Discussion of March '17 update

Geez :thumbsdown:
I had a stomach bug last night and barely slept. Was feeling better, but as I read this I thought I might puke again.
I have been among the most staunch supporters of this project since the beginning, but my sails just went slack.

I’m left wondering how the detail of user replacement only now has come into focus…? In the initial brainstorming that issue was anticipated, crossed, and solved based on praise for the solution of easy user replacement. What changed?
The Lawyers just got around to assessing the potential liability? What has your legal team been up to for 17 months?
That should have been established and communicated at the initial offering. I can’t help but feel deceived. From the flavor of the posts here I’m in good company.

To drop that on our heads this far in as a ‘side note’ of an update doesn’t reflect well on Glowforge… even though it seems likely a result of inept legal advice/performance.
I expect the cancellations experienced since the update exceed the total from the last delays combined.
In light of that perhaps you are well positioned to renegotiate their fees.

The multiple delays were understandable, new product coming out of the hole. To totally back up on an advertised maintenance feature - one that effectively doubles the expense of owning it isn’t just a let down, it’s a slap in the face.
If I were an international customer I wouldn’t even be writing this. Yes, that means I will probably still take delivery, but Im not as thrilled about it as I was yesterday.

There has to be a solution to this @dan. Just reading through this thread has tied my gut in a knot, I can imagine how it makes you feel.


When have you ever had enough information from @dan? He never provides enough information - he lets the more wishful of us to fantasize the most positive of scenarios, and go from there.

I am in agreement with others - there is another delay coming, this might just be the excuse being made to make it happen given the outrage from almost every customer.


Honestly, I sometimes feel like there is too much info on what is going on, and it just invites Monday-morning-quarterbacking from folks on the outside looking in. I sometimes think that they should reply to all inquiries outside of the web-published specs with:

“Please see our web site for all specifications. We will take into consideration this feature (capability, issue, etc.) as we continue to refine and complete the Glowforge for the production line, and announce any additions or enhancements to the stated specifications as we begin shipping the Glowforge to customers. Thank you for your patience. We truly appreciate your interest in the Glowforge.”

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Well, this is pretty significant for me. The Glowforge has always been more of a “cheaper commercial CO2 laser” than it has been a “better Chinese clone” laser, but removing the option for a waiver and self-replacement is probably going to kill it for me. And coupled with the 2-year replacement cycle. Even with the “things could change” aspect, not having a proper answer from Dan is getting too risky.

I’ll wait until I get the shipping email to see if the service plan circumstances change, but this doesn’t bode well at all.


I am happy you feel you have been informed adequately by a year and a half of delays.
Since shipping promises are July/August, we have to wait till June/July for the next slip announcement, so lets just wait and see.


You are as welcome to put that speculation out there as I hope I was to put my ‘if’ out there.

I do hope they improve this situation somehow. I assume it will be a while before we learn what comes out of all the feedback they are getting from the forum. So I wait. Been practicing that.


@scatterbrains - those of us still here, we are certainly good at waiting. That I agree with!


At the end of the day they have to have a sustainable business or it will be all of our problem when support goes dark.


Earlier today I took a visit to a couple other laser company websites to see how they handle tube replacements, and Universal in fact does state user replaceable, no tools required, simple process.

If they can have this feature and have figured out how to get around liability and difficulty with the High Voltage connections and water cooling, GF could certainly figure it out too… So I have to wonder if something else is going on.

Then something else on Universal’s site caught my eye, and that is in their maintenance section, involving adjusting and potentially replacing gantry drive components ANNUALLY.

Hmm. I hadnt thought of that in regards to the GF, and now that I see it, really adds some credence to the idea of having service centers or authorized users able to perform these functions on GF units without needing to send the whole box back to Seattle!

Back on the tube issue though, just tell us that GF will sell the tubes to us even if they won’t support it, and I think much of the problem goes away.

In two years, the warranty will be run out and the machine will have depreciated in value so much that a $1,000 ($500 tube + round trip shipping) bill to service a consumable item simply will no longer be worth the cost of upkeep even for US customers, especially hobbyists who are not earning income from the machine.


My guess would be that lawyers only recently reviewed it in the context of a recently written manual.


I’m pretty sure if I can;
Remove the laser tube in my K40
Create custom 5mm thick shims on the 3D printer to raise the tube to the correct location
Realign the flying laser cutter head

Installing a tube in the GF shouldn’t be an issue. Did they use Carbon Tetrachloride as a cooling liquid?

There are manufacturers of custom laser tubes here in the US. I know someone who builds very high quality tubes to exacting specs. Perhaps someone will pick up on the opportunity to do short runs once the warranty period has expired.


Yah, we can share the NE repair zone. :smile:
I’m up in Maine, I think there are a whole 4 users in my state.

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A lot of us here are makers. I mean who else would need a laser in their home? A part of the maker spirit is making, creating and using your own tools. There are people here that have built there own cars, airplanes, computers, lasers cutters, 3d printers, etc…

That’s why it is so difficult for us to understand why we can’t fix it ourselves.

I ordered garage door spring on ebay and replaced them (that was scary). Replaced glass on iPads and iPhones. So maybe there will be a third-party laser replacement clone. Unless we get some sorta of DRM on tubes, but someone will figure out a way around that too.

In a year or two we can start a kickstarter to make our own tubes!


If the tube replacement issue is liability, not engineering, I would rather have a $500 tube replacement process where I’m liable if I screw up than have a riskier process involve packing and shipping both ways at extra cost on top of the $500, because that’s much more expensive, takes more time, and is likely actually riskier because it involves actually shipping the whole device twice. I’d rather buy spare tubes now, to have them ready to swap in as needed with no shipping time. Since I know I have to buy them eventually, it’s not really an added cost to buy them before they’re needed, just spending money earlier to avoid waiting for shipping.

It the issue is that the tube is that it’s engineered so that it cannot be field replaced (contradicting earlier posts) then we’ve got bigger problems, and so does GlowForge - it means higher cost and no way to avoid down-time.


At the very least I think GF will have to provide tubes for sale, I mean, they use a custom tube right? Even if you are technically capable of making the swap, you would need their custom piece.

Beyond that I think it’s good news and the tube not being supported as replaceable is a blip among otherwise good news. Looking forward to seeing some creations using the pass through slot.

Nothing like glimpsing your mortality while on a ladder winding up a spring with enough potential energy in it to drive that tool through your skull.


You’re right, lots of good news. But raising operational cost and down-time isn’t thrilling, particularly for people far from GlowForge HQ. For international buyers, in particular, this is a huge increase in cost and hassle.

Potentially a huge increase, all they are saying is that for launch time it won’t be GF backed. Lots can change in nearly 2 years.

Or not change and today’s unacceptable solution becomes tomorrow’s unacceptable solution but then you’ve got a brick and no one is going to offer you a refund then.


If their hardware doesn’t support users replacing the laser tubes in the field, they can’t fix that later - those units will have to be shipped to GF (or a hypothetical future service center) every year or two forever. For the tube to be field replaceable, it needs to be designed that way, it can’t be added later, because it’s a physical issue, not software. That means that GF owners, have the added cost of shipping both ways, plus storing the GF boxes, on top of the $500/tube we were told to expect. If you live in Seattle that’s fine. If you live cross-country it’s another $100 or so, plus the risk of the unit breaking in shipping. If you’re outside the US, the costs and risks of breakage and hassles goes up.

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