Discussion thread for Update #8: Latest Update on Shipping

Pasted here for your convenience:

Subject: Latest update on shipping

One month ago today, you helped us make history. Glowforge became the biggest 30-day crowdfunding campaign in history. We always knew what we were building was a big idea, but we had no idea that you, and so many people like you, would see the potential so quickly. It’s been an inspiration and a motivation. Every day we come to work we think about the teachers, the parents, the artists, the architects. The backers who sold cars, took out loans, and spent their savings. The people who are counting on us to deliver something amazing.
In just a few days, I’m going to send an email about our first shipments - our first beta units, coming out in December - and how you can volunteer to get one. Before we start shipping units, though, we want to be sure that everyone involved knows what’s ahead. We’ve been sharing information through the FAQ, update emails, and most of all through daily posts on the forum at http://community.glowforge.com. But we’ve had a few emails from people who are concerned. They missed some of the details. For example, some thought we were shipping everything in December, or didn’t realize that you had to have internet access to use a Glowforge. That makes us feel terrible, because it means we didn’t communicate as well or as clearly as we should have. So we pulled together this email with all of the most important information about your order, and a few of the misconceptions we’ve heard along the way.
For most of you, nothing here will be a surprise. But we want to make sure Glowforge is right for you, so please read through all the details here. Should you decide that you’re going to do without your Glowforge, you can reach us at support@glowforge.com. We’ll cancel your order, reverse the payment, and give your place in line to someone else.
But we hope you don’t want that. :slight_smile:
With no further ado, then:
Most backers will get their machines in the first half of 2016.
When we launched, we said “First units shipping December 2015”, and then went on to say that units purchased before October 23 would ship in the first half of 2016. Now the first shipments are about to happen! (Stay tuned for an email in a few days on how you can apply to get one of the first few beta units). However, we’ve heard from a few people who thought that all the shipments would happen in December. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To make sure your final Glowforge is as good as it can possibly be, we’re going to start by shipping a small number of beta units starting in two weeks. We’ll build the next set of units on a small test line over the course of the month. Then, the majority of units will roll out in the first half of next year. The date that we ramp up our production and start shipping thousands of units will depend on your feedback and our quality testing, but we’re on schedule to have all units that were purchased before Oct 23 shipped in the first half of 2016. Units ordered after Oct 23 will ship in the summer of 2016.
We’re on time, but delays are still possible.
Every day when I come into work I think about the Glowforge backers who are betting on us. Everyone at the company knows you’re counting on us, and that weighs on us and inspires us every day in equal measure. We will spare no effort to deliver every Glowforge on time. There is one thing we won’t do, though, and that’s compromise on the quality of what we’re building.
Our team has many years of experience shipping hardware, so we know how to minimize risk and stay on schedule. We’re buying parts months before they’re needed, flying around the world to inspect component manufacturers and ensure that they have the supplies and quality that we need, and sparing no efforts to accelerate production. (Do you know how much it costs to air freight a 10 ton injection mold? I do now!)
We are right on schedule, and have built buffers and redundancy into our plan. But even with all our efforts, we could experience delays. What we aren’t going to do is ship our production units until they are awesome.
Glowforge uses wifi.
Glowforge requires a wifi connection. It will work with a wired-to-wifi converter, and with cellular internet adapters like the MiFi device and cell phone hotspots. It’s also resistant to internet outages and works with slow bandwidth (if the connection drops, it finishes what it’s doing and then pauses). But if you’re completely offline, then Glowforge won’t work for you.
We don’t have a showroom yet.
We’ve been doing public demonstrations of Glowforge since launch, and will be doing many more in the upcoming months (we post them on community.glowforge.com). Unfortunately we have people dropping by our office at all hours. They want to see what we’re building, sometimes after driving hundreds of miles. We’re flattered! But we’re also working like mad to get your Glowforges ready, so we can’t interrupt the day to take people on tours.
However, if you’re really itching to see behind the scenes, though, you might consider submitting your resume to glowforge.com/jobs … candidates who come in for interviews get a tour and a printing demonstration as part of the visit!
We don’t know what future pricing will be.
We know how much it costs us to make a Glowforge. After accounting for warranty, service, and support, we’re selling it at the lowest price we can. In the future, we will sell it to retailers, who can charge whatever they want. We expect that the price will be much higher, and the MSRP - recommended retailer price - is on our homepage. But we have no idea what retailers will charge, and we can’t control their pricing.
If you cancel your order now and decide to purchase later on, you may end up with a much higher price. On the other hand, retailers can do whatever they want, even price below wholesale. We don’t think that’s likely, but we don’t have any control over that if it happens.
You must comply with your local laws.
Use of your Glowforge may be subject to local laws, regulations, and ordinances in your jurisdiction. We cannot guarantee that the device or its use is permissible in your country and jurisdiction. You are also responsible for all tariff, import, customs, tax, and other charges applicable in your country and jurisdiction (except sales tax in Washington state). We can’t advise you on what laws or costs may apply.
So what should you do?
Of course, up until we ship your Glowforge, you can tell us you don’t want it. If you do, we will reverse your order, cancel your shipment, and give someone else your place in line. If have to do that, we understand. We really want you to have a Glowforge, but it’s more important to us that you be happy.
But if you don’t mind sticking with us through the adventure while we communicate with you every step along the way - we can’t wait to get you your Glowforge!


I wanna chime in with a call to arms for the forum regulars:

Let us not be “that community”

We are about to see a flood of people coming to the forums for the first time because of this email. They will ask the exact same questions over and over.

If you don’t want to answer, just don’t read it, or close it and move on once you see it is the same old question with lack of search. Leave the negativity out, and we will surely curtail a few new people into being forum regulars, and granting us whatever knowledge they have (which apparently is not how to use a search button… but hey, we already know that skill, so it’s cool if they didn’t, right?)


Cant wait!!! I have so many ideas on what I want to create!


Man I am so hyped I can’t wait. Send me one of those beta units!!!

dan is right i think this first batch should be sent to people already making things and have knowledge of how at least basic laser engraving cutting works so they can give feedback etc, even cnc machine owners are great candidates for this trial period if thats the case of course. but im 100% sure it will be people in local market where glowforge is located . my opinion of course i might be wrong it might even be discussed before if so sorry in advance

1 Like

I believe they previously said that they would be giving the first units to local maker spaces, schools, and other high volume users. They wanted to stress them as much as possible to fix any bugs that might come up.
BUT, this is the first time @dan said people can volunteer for the beta units! So they might be willing to send them out to people outside the Seattle area as well! :smile:


Good call. I try to read every post as if the person is truly asking a question that I might have asked 2 months ago. And pretend everyone is in a relatively decent mood. Should never read someone’s attitude based on our mood.


Thanks for the info Dan!! So grateful to you and everyone at Glowforge for being so communicative and present. I’m drooling at the mention of beta tester applications- one can only hope!
@jacobturner well said!

so how do we volunteer? i call shot gun :slight_smile:

1 Like

Dan mentioned sending an email out in the next few days with news on how to apply- fingers crossed! :grin:

I don’t know, they may want to send a few out to people like myself that are novices but are willing to spend time putting it through its paces. Between my daughter and I can promise we’d get a lot of hours on it in the first month.:innocent: I work 3 12hr shifts a week and have a lot of spare time.

1 Like

I agree but believe there should be a handful of little to zero experienced users with lasers, for the beta machines as that is kind-of what they are marketing for…


So if a user gets the “beta” batch and there is a problem found in them, will they get a newer version too?

1 Like

I guess that’s a question for when we see the invite. One would assume so…

I’m glad here all is progressing well and test units will begin shipping in December. Thanks for keep all of us informed on your progress and keep up the great work.

1 Like

My uninformed guess would be: That is the price you pay for getting it early.

Though I would assume if there is a major issue, you would get warranty covered repairs/upgrades as needed to have a functional machine.

But if it is a matter of “Tweak this as a QOL enhancement” then likely those first users just live without it.

As for getting the machine out to some inexperienced users: On the one hand, that gives them some valuable experience feedback. On the other hand… they have no way to verify that you will indeed put the machine to heavy use and provide feedback (unless you have already been rather heavily active here to make them comfortable with the idea). Also, you are likely to break something due to you instead of due to the machine. Sure… that is something to know about, but not something they can do much about for the other shipments.

Also, giving to a school or makerspace automatically gives to a bunch of people with no clue, but with the added benefit of someone who does know something looking over their shoulder to prevent PEBKAC.

1 Like

I didn’t even know there was a forum until this E-mail sent. Not that I have anything to really write without having a product yet… once I do though… then I’ll have more to say :smile:


Well… since it seems (to me at any rate) that the idea behind glowforge was to make Laser “Printing” more accessible to the masses… giving it to just uber-laser dorks will not yield information on just how user friendly it is. The best way to test a product that you are attempting to “idiot proof” is to give it to a noob and see just how far they get with it.


Possibly so. Still, I keep getting the impression that although they have basic S/W functionality, a lot is still in the works. If their project schedules are anything like those I’ve managed, there would be two tracks. Operation by experienced users, independent of the design build team on units with just enough S/W to evaluate functionality, stress test the H/W and determine failure points. Then full up “bring in the noobs” maturity tests on the entire package with production level S/W.