Drive Belt Replacement, Complete lack of GF support

I’m not generally one for public complaint, but I need to vent my frustration.

Back on the 3rd of October I contacted the Support email about ordering a replacement horizontal drive belt for under the head gantry. I damaged mine, it failed a couple of days later, I currently have an expensive paperweight.

On the 8th (america)/9th (UK) I got a confirmation that Glowforge could ship me a replacement belt. Could I confirm my address so they can raise a paypal invoice and calculate shipping.
I replied with my address and the suggestion that costs could come out of my store credit as its not like I can spend it on anything.

10th October: Glowforge great suggestion i’ll see it thats posible. your belt is going to cost $20 and $52 to ship it.

($52 to ship a small spare part is pretty ridiculous i think to my self, but surely that means i’ll have my machine back up and running in a couple of days, i cant earn anything on it whilst its idle. Fine.)

I pointed out the shipping seems quite high, can i get two belts on that, to save me being out of action if this happens again?

11 Oct Glowforge: Yes i can ship you 2 belts, it will cost $92, i also have permission to deduct this from your store credit, your balance is $xxx. do you wish to proceed?

me: Yes i wish to proceed. can you also tell me when the catalogue/shop are available to international users?

11th/12th (uk) Glowforge: Ive deducted the money from your store credit account, i’ll update you when i have the tracking information. Also i cant give you a time line on when international sales will be available.

18th october: me: Can you please confirm that the belts have been sent?

Its now the 23rd of October and I’ve heard nothing from the Glowforge team. They have deducted the amount from my store credit, but nothing to say how long its going to take to receive the part, or if its even been shipped.

If anyone has the belt specifications so I can find and source my own replacement it would be greatly appreciated.

As for when the catalogue and store are going to be available, I suppose as a founding owner I shouldn’t be surprised with more empty promises. Its not like digital files even require shipping calculations.


Yeah that shipping charge is really bad. This doesn’t fill me with confidence for when our tubes start to fail.

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Shipping with tracking starts around $50 to the UK. It also can take up to 10 business days to get there. I ship product all over and those are real costs…not everyone is Amazon.


Not everyone has a staff and raises 20+ million dollars in crowdfunding either. Glowforge knows they have significant number of European customers. It just seems like an oversight to not address the crazy shipping cost that leads to 52$ shipping on a $20 part, especially since it’s a commodity product like a belt. This sort of thing is what (clearly) turns customers from happy to dissatisfied.

Ditch tracking and deal with some loss. Drop ship it from whatever supplier. Find a European source for parts that will wear. There’s no way this is insurmountable.

It seems presumptive for me to think GF hasn’t looked at this but it does seem quite solvable so I wonder why it’s still a thing?

When I order parts for my other lasers, or supplies for business, I pay shipping…regular shipping…
Doesn’t matter how big a company you are…you still pay for shipping…and sending out replacement parts are never going to be numerous enough to get any more discounts on shipping services…

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May sound good in theory…but not in real life if you wish to keep a company going…
This is not a warranty replacement…the tube, belt etc are consumable reason to take a loss to ship them…

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It’s interesting that you’re defending the position that high shipping costs should just be accepted no questions asked. A wild guess but I get the feeling you’ve argued with customers on this and dug in on your stance.

I still stand by my theory that there’s a cheaper way to do this without Glowforge closing its doors. I’m sure they’re trying to figure it out, they will want to make the shop more viable for EU customers. There’s just got to be a better way.

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i think the issue is we’re just not talking that much volume here. and no volume = more expensive. not enough shipping to get discounts. and not enough volume to really make it viable as a local supplier item or stocking/drop ship item.

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It’s a belt. A commodity item, maybe not so common as screws or some such, but still readily attainable. There’s no way there isn’t some way to get it shipped from the UK., even if GF cuts itself totally out of the loop.

I understand the need for quality control etc, but I think customer satisfaction is a major component of GF’s business model too. Find a better way, I say – there’s no way it’s not out there.

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it’s a commodity item, but it’s unlikely it’s an “off the shelf” item. and it’s not just the belt. lots of little commodity items would have to be sourced. and again, likely custom pieces.

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Regardless of the high shipping fees (we can ship small parcels to the US with tracking over 5 -10 days from about £12 so $15, next day for £50ish) that is a side issue.

I’ve had no contact from the Glow Forge Team since the 12th of October, I have no Tracking information, I highly doubt anything has been shipped. I sent a follow up email 5 days ago asking for confirmation that the belts have been sent, and so far haven’t received a reply. Payment has been taken but there is no status information, not even a “sorry we don’t have the parts in stock right now, we estimate dispatch in X days.”

I am fully aware that there is a time zone delay in replying to emails, each other reply I’ve have received has been within 24hrs.


These shipping costs are not inflated…they are real costs. I can sometimes give price reductions on products to good customers as a thank you for ordering large quantities…but I as a business owner, I still pay shipping…I don’t over charge, they pay what I pay to ship…its called being in business and running a company.

If I ran my company your way, I wouldn’t have a business…


this is an ongoing issue that GF really needs to resolve. this is a fairly expensive consumer item, they need to up their direct communication game exponentially for service.

especially for issues that render the machine useless. it’s one thing for software support or random file issues (many of which the users here can help troubleshoot). but when there’s a hardware issue that brings the machine down, that needs priority response.


Good thing we’re talking about Glowforge’s business here then. :wink:

We are, right? Right???

Hard reality is that this is not a “drop everything and give this priority issue”. Customer damaged a part…not the fault of the company…not a warranty situation.
Normal real world reality is there are only so many hours in the day…not every customer is a priority…
Companies don’t do this because they don’t care…they just can’t give everyone priority…I have no doubt there are many other orders like this one being dealt with and there are just so many employees and hours in the day. You can’t expect each customer to have their personal person just waiting around to take immediate care of them…
I order parts and supplies for my company all the time…some take longer than others…
I just recently made a small parts order on Oct 1 and just received it yesterday…big company, lots of customer orders going out…I had to wait my turn…this is normal.

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By the comments you are making, I’m jumping out in the limb here and assuming you obviously don’t run a retail business so I’ll let this slide…:wink: ignorance is bliss.
-Edit-…using the word ignorance was not meant as an insult…its used as in not having experience in the subject…

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I fixed it for you.

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But they do require VAT calculations for each country. I agree that this should have been figured out (seems more like a problem resultant of building a custom e-commerce solution)… but, it’s not just as simple as saying, here’s the download, have fun.

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Priority over warranty, maybe not. but when someone is dealing with you on hardware issues, there’s really no excuse for ignoring them for two weeks. and GF has a track record of not being responsive via email or the board and they have no phone support. they need to do better with this. it’s one thing to say, “hey, we’re behind getting orders shipped out” or “warranty work takes precedent”. it’s a completely different thing to not respond at all for 11 days. that needs to be fixed, it’s not acceptable.


And I’ll fix it even better
You obviously don’t run a business like most every other business out there…

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