Don't Buy a Glowforge! SAVE YOUR MONEY!

I am writing to you because I think it is important others to know about my experience with our Glowforge Pro. I am a Digital Design and Fabrication Teacher at High Tech High in San Diego, California. I was fortunate enough to see the launch of Glowforge at MakerCon in September 2015. My teaching partner and I pooled two years of our classroom budgets in order to purchase a Glowforge Pro during the Kickstarter campaign. On October 22nd, 2015 we submitted our order and paid $4170.00.

We waited more than two years for our printer to arrive. All that time, we remained loyal to your company. Instead of becoming frustrated with the repeated shipping promises and delays, we channeled our energy into positive expectations and plans for all the wonderful projects we were going to do with our students.

Our first Glowforge did everything we were hoping it would do, until suddenly it didn’t. Approximately six months after it arrived, it stopped working. We sent it back and received a replacement. Our second machine lived a little bit longer…about 8 months. It was replaced in April of 2019. About a month ago, this machine also stopped working. Just to summarize, we have had three Glowgforge Pro machines in less than two years. The machine didn’t even last long enough for us to receive the filter. It is scheduled to be shipped to us in January 2020.

After spending $200 to send the printer back to Glowforge, we have been informed that it is not fixable, nor will it be replaced. I was offered a discount on a refurbished unit, but at this point, I have lost confidence in your product. I work in a Title 1 school, and have a yearly budget of $1200 to purchase materials for 116 students. The $3800 price for a refurbished unit that has a lifespan of less than one year does not sound like a good deal to me.

I also want to give you a little bit of background on our school and how our projects have helped to market your product. As I mentioned earlier, I teach at High Tech High in San Diego, California. High Tech is the subject of the documentary “Most Likely To Succeed”. The films focus is on education in America and has inspired school communities to re-imagine what students and teachers are capable of doing. We are Project Based School that is looked at as a model for educators looking for innovative ways to teach students. We have over 7000 visitors a year and host a Deeper Learning Conference each spring that brings an additional 2000 educators from around the world to our amazing school. For the past two years, the projects I have made with our Glowforge, have been featured in numerous newspaper articles, highlighted at two professional conferences and was the most popular session at our Deeper Learning Conference Makerspace last spring. I have been a very vocal supporter of this printer and all the amazing opportunities it has opened up for my students. I have recommended it to hundreds of educators and school district administrators. I love so many things about this laser cutter and really wanted it to be a solution to the prototyping needs of our classroom.

In closing, I appreciate you taking the time to read this letter and hopefully you understand why we will not be moving forward with the purchase of the $3800.00 refurbished unit. I will contact the sales department later today to ask for a refund for the filter unit we have yet to receive.

Sincerely,

1 Like

Just a suggestion - if you paid for the Pro wit a credit card, I’d suggest checking with them to see if the extend the warranty,

Amex (most cards in most states) doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to two additional years, up from one additional year which was the policy until a year or two ago.

I know that many other cards have a similar plan that they provide. That might mean that the credit card company MIGHT cover a replacement. It’s certainly worth a phone call to your credit card company, if one was used.

3 Likes

Best of luck with whatever you do purchase.

There aren’t many things that would render a Glowforge unfixable. I only know of two—fire and vinyl (PVC). Fire damage would be pretty obvious, but the damage from vinyl is insidious. Cutting even one small bit of vinyl releases chloride gas into the machine that coats every metal surface and begins eating it away. Is it possible that may have been what happened to your machine?

3 Likes

I can understand your frustration. I’m on my 3rd GF. After 2 years of waiting, the first one kept bumping the head into the walls. The second one wouldn’t cut on PG material. The third one worked great.

After working fine for 2 years, GF #3 first slowed down and then stopped working. (The dreaded “Stuck on Centering” issue.) Support says that I need a replacement black cable. They asked for my mailing address, I sent it shortly after receiving their email, but they still haven’t sent me the invoice and they won’t mail the part until after I pay the invoice. (Where’s the invoice??? I’m ready to pay!)

Will this replacement black cable fix the problem? I don’t know. GF Support loves to close out these Problems and Support threads without any resolutions. I see a lot of closed threads with people ordering replacement cables, and zero followups from people saying that it solved their problems. (So I give it a 50/50, assuming that they ever send me the invoice and item.)

When GF works, it is really good and the best thing out there. But where there are problems, well, I feel your pain. If I were in your situation, I’d probably feel the exact same way.

1 Like

We were so excited to have this machine, and we made some incredible projects with it, but to spend 4k for something with a life expectancy of 6 to 8 months is not something we can finacially do. Hopefully they find the flaw and can fix it for future owners. Good luck with your machine.

1 Like

Hi - just wondering how long it took to receive the invoice? Same has happened to me. I was excited that they got right back to me, but now I can’t seem to get the invoice. Thank you!

1 Like

Still waiting. When it finally arrives, I’ll let you know.

Thank you for the clear letter – I’m reviewing all of our communication history and researching your Glowforge units and will reply to your email shortly.