Discussion of March '17 update

Found this:

“Corrugated tubing creates three times more static-pressure resistance than the same length of smooth pipe.”

(Edit: the “three times” claim depends on how stretched out the flexible duct is. It can be much more or much less. www.mmmfg.com/pdfs/060601_cc-kw_ducttechpaper.pdf)


Thanks for the update. Not being able to replace the tube myself at home is a let down. My question is that you said there were two options. One was the $500 round trip vacation for our GF. And the second was to just buy a tube. If we can’t replace the tube ourselves, then why would we buy a tube? Or am I missing something, like buying a new tube and having someone else replace it? I’m just confused on this part since it really only seems like one option not two.

The other question I would have is on damage that may happen durin shipments. What happens if the GF is damaged when it is sent to you, or back to use? What kind of coverage will there be? It’s one thing when we start getting the new units if something is wrong, but this will be a few years down the line.

Thanks for the information.

The sale of tubes is to allow people who are happy to replace it themselves at their own risk to do so.

Yes return shipping liability would be a nightmare. It is bad enough claiming damage to new items but with items two or more years old I don’t see how you would get a replacement if it went missing or was destroyed.


Indeed - by designing for corrugated, we left ourselves some significant overhead.


You will be able to replace the tube; but it will not be an easy snap-in process like they had initially expected. It will require some tools and some skills; but it can be done.
Currently, they have engineers doing the job in house.
Some owners will prefer to do it themselves, some because they have the skills, and some because they do not want to ship their machine back (various reasons.)

The details are still fairly uncertain. It seems likely that the details will not be clarified for some undetermined time; but from what I have learned about the clever, resourceful people on this forum, I am confident that there will be good reliable step-by-step instructions by the time my machine is out of warranty.

I am a confident DIY individual and in a couple years I will gladly assist neighboring GF owners that (1) don’t want to ship it back (2) don’t want to do it themselves and (3) won’t hold me liable. [I have said that I would become certified to replace tubes if the company wants to go that route, so the topic of liability may be revisited in that event.]
I expect others in other places would do the same.

I don’t know that that answers your concerns; but there are my 2 cents.


We don’t know yet, but with parts availability, many people feel confident that they can figure out a solution. We won’t have recommendations for a while I’m afraid.

Similarly, I don’t have shipping details for tube replacement, but we’ll work to find a solution if your shipment is lost or damaged in transit, as we do for new machines.


I think that there are more ways to support Glowforge than by simply ordering early. Glowforge did not need our money to get where they are now, as they already had fully funded the project. I would suggest that the people that are getting the perk of getting early Glowforges have helped build the community in several ways. The ideas that have been going “into the hopper” have been grown in this community, and it is the most outspoken, sharing, thoughtful members that have cultivated the experience. The end result is a much better product. Early placement in line is a small price to pay the people that have helped so much.


lets not forget that several of the folks who might be eligible were front-of-the-line to begin with… and that they might not be able to accept shipment before the filter is available anyway.


Funny. That was one of the resources I used when I designed our MakerSpace’s dust collection system :slight_smile:

Big smooth piping is the ticket.

And blast gates to block off the piping run (for our purposes best at the window end to prevent air infiltration when not in use).


I’m personally really excited about the Catalog. I’ve been planning some designs which I’d love to offer for sale. Is there any information about how to make my designs? Is there a beta signup for the Catalog?

Thanks for the update!


I have been waiting for an answer to these questions since October '15!


There has been some conversation about that but nothing definitive. However, it would seem to be safe if you do your design work in Inkscape or a package that can export an SVG file. Since the GF is SVG based right now your design would be ready. Depending on the design, if you’re doing tabs/slots/etc you might want to consider some kind of parametric design so it’s easy for someone to adjust it for different material thicknesses but I don’t think that will be required as PD is a pretty advanced concept and skill.


Not yet I’m afraid - we’ll post here when that changes!


I have two big concerns:

  1. Since GF decided they had to have a custom Laser Tube designed and manufactured for them, WHY have we not heard what the MTBF (mean time between failures) for their custom tube is. I mean seriously were it ME I’d have had several machines burning NON-STOP to find out what their actual observed run time is. Sure they say two years expected life. That doesn’t mean a thing without clarification of a specified rate of usage. Even light bulbs come with a life expectancy rating (X number of years @ X hours/day). Sadly I don’t hold out much hope that we’ll receive clarification beyond the already “light/hobby” vs “heavy” use.

  2. I am PARTICULARLY UNIMPRESSED with the whole we’re shipping units first to those who have been most helpful on the forums. While I understand it, and the underlying benefits from shipping to active forum members the incorrect assumption drawn here is that an active forum member will also be a user that has the expertise, skill level, and ability to assist the community on the use of a GF. How am I expected to browse, comment, and somehow help others with a GF that I don’t even have in my possession. (and I happen to have plenty of CNC Laser experience with multi-kilowatt Mitsubishi & Bystronic CNC metal lasers, and personally created the shop documentation for cradle to grave startup, operation and shutdown for both)

At this point I am incredibly close to just cancelling my order and dealing with just about any other laser supplier out there. I could have been leasing a laser and burning for TWO YEARS by the time I finally receive my GF.


Is that your assumption, or are you quoting something I’ve overlooked? Because my assumption is that they want the first ones to go out to people who will be quick and easy to deal and communicate with if something goes wrong. Like making your family and friends try it out first. They’re more likely to be easier going and communicative. Sure, everyone else could, too, but you don’t know everyone else if you’ve never interacted with them, yeah? You can only really work with what you know.

I can understand both sides, but I’d personally rather glowforge send the first ones to someone who will let them know how the process goes, if there are any issues, if there are things that need to be improved. Because then they can sort the issues and send me mine without any problems.

Maybe I’m being daft because while I understand all of those words individually, I’ve no idea what they mean as a sentence. But the latter part seems to answer the former question. Poke around here for a bit and you’ll see loads of helpful posts from people who don’t have glowforges because most people don’t have glowforges. People have been helpful since the beginning of the forum when glowforge didn’t even have a glowforge.


Multi-kilowatt, eg: several, meaning more than one, as in several thousand. In laser power terms this is powerful enough to cut through 3/4" mild steel and 1/2" stainless and aluminum non-stop, other than to vent and re-cycle the gasses in the resonator chamber (laser tube)

Mitsubishi & Bystronic Byspeed 3015 4KW Laser…, eg: two of many available of commercial grade, production level lasers, capable of continuous operation.

Shop Documentation, eg: a user manual documenting in laymans terms step-by-step how and what to do where to turn on, power up, setup and begin the cutting process, as well as troubleshooting and refining the cut quality for improvement of the finished product and reduced cut times to improve overall efficiency.

Cradle to grave, eg; beginning to end, start to finish.


I found this to be helpful and informative. Have a like!

I bet you have lots of other useful things you could contribute to some of the other threads floating around here – there are frequently very technical discussions (not specific to lasers) that might be within your wheelhouse. Or you can start ones of your own if there are topics that interest you that you don’t see being discussed.


I basically have nothing to contribute to the community until I have a GF in my possession. I’m not going to provide new and wonderful insight into the interpretation of Dan’s latest updates. If I wanted to offer that level of suspended disbelief to others I’d have become a preacher.

I’m pretty sure that if anyone had issues with their GF they’d be hopping on the forums and email to try and get the issues resolved ASAP. I don’t think someone who wasn’t easy going and communicative would hesitate to let the manufacturer know of problems they were experiencing with their several thousand dollar laser cutter.

Back on topic I’d still love to see actual MTBF run times for the laser tubes.

I’d also like to see video updates of the two side burn/cutting process showing that it’s successfully working. I’m concerned that this is still an issue this far on (AFAIK - as far as I know).


The tube’s gone through a number of improvements since we launched, and the latest design - while it’s accumulated quite a few hours - hasn’t been failing, so we don’t know how long it will take beyond the manufacturer’s estimate.

Thanks for letting us know. We’ll post it here when it’s ready.


I recall that that estimate is 2,000 10,000 hours. But somebody please correct me if I’m wrong.

Beyond that, let me give you an example… I had a heart attack some years ago. Got 3 stents put in. I asked the cardiologist how long those Teflon™-coated titanium stents will last. He said “We don’t know how long they last inside the human body.” I said “Let me guess, that’s because you usually put them in 80-year olds?” (I was 37 at the time.) He said “Yep! That’s exactly right. They could last 100 years or more. Or you may need yours replaced within your lifetime.”

My point? The data’s just not there yet. And to run something continuously and see when it fails only tells you one small bit of information… “How long can you run the tube continuously before it fails?” And I suggest that that’s completely useless information since there is literally no use case for it. That data will be collected in the real world under real conditions. But we have the manufacturer’s estimate. It’s an estimate based on science. There’s tons of historical data on tubes. Relatively easy, I’d think, to come up with a pretty solid estimate. I can accept that.

I hear that. And I definitely get it. In many ways I even agree with it! But there are a couple of things to consider. Most importantly we’re talking about dozens of users. I don’t even think it’s hundreds. Certainly nothing compared to the thousands of orders placed. Basically, your place in line hasn’t changed. They’re going to be producing thousands of these things in short order. Blink and you’ll miss the shipping to those particular forum members. As far as skill level, etc… That’s the best part. It’s a sampling of several different use cases. From 0 laser experience to lots. All of that feedback is useful to Glowforge, the community as a whole, and will trickle down and be helpful to you specifically in some way. Be it a better manual, better tutorials, or a just better understanding of the magic and pitfalls of using a Glowforge.

My point? You won’t be missing out on anything but you hopefully will gain from it.

Most, if not all, of those things will come from Glowforge directly. Whatever is not included in that list will come from community members, with many of those being written for you by the above-mentioned community members that are “most helpful on the forums.”

That’s a shame. You appear to have a valuable insight into things with your current laser experience. Others, myself included, could certainly benefit from that experience. But, hey… nobody’s forcing you to be helpful. Just seems like a lost resource for us and that’s sad.

Anyway, good luck in whatever you decide to do!

  • Tom