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Production has started, and we have a heck of an update for you about your Glowforge.
Note: our customers always ask about providing more detail, so this has a lot of detail. All the crucial information is in this summary if you don't have time to read it through.
We last updated our schedule in December, when we told you to expect your Glowforge by July 31 (for orders placed by October 26, 2015) or August 31 (for all other orders).
We're now shipping production units. We're incredibly proud of how they turned out. Some of you have yours already. Some of you will get yours ahead of our latest schedule - and, I'm so frustrated to say, some of you will receive yours up to three months later. Our updated schedule for final, production units is:
Now: Glowforge Basic deliveries underway.
June 30: Glowforge Pro shipments start.
September 30: Air Filter shipments start.
October 31: All Basic and Pro orders placed by 10/26/2015 shipped.
November 30: All Basic and Pro orders shipped.
December 29: All Air Filters shipped.
I'm excited to tell you we're shipping, but pained to tell you about the schedule change because I know you're counting on receiving your Glowforge. I apologize.
Our company spent 2016 torn between the desire to ship your Glowforge right away, and the desire to ship you the incredible product you expect and deserve. Now we need to do both.
While we post Community Forum updates every month, we only send email updates when we've got big news - so there's a lot to cover here:
Schedule update: We're shipping now; timeline for the rest of the year
Shipping and manufacturing details: Air Filter late but underway; international on schedule with some variability per-country
Reviews: Links to Amazon & 3rd party video reviews
Pro News: Adding training materials, adding Pro Glasses, adding Pro Shields, adding Pro Speed upgrade, and Pro software status
News: We've upgraded all units to a jet black crumb tray
News: Software updates upgrade your engraving quality
News: Release of final Basic, Pro, and Air Filter warranties
News: Adding a warranty to all Proofgradeâ„¢ materials
Update: Air Filter progress
Update: Design Catalog information & sample screen
How To: Make sure your shipment notification doesn't get spam filtered
News: Shipment list, shipping details, setup process
News: Learning resources that are available right away
Update: Projects made on pre-release and production Glowforge units
Let's get started with the schedule.
Our factory in Milpitas, CA, is operated by our manufacturing partner Flex. As a Fortune Global 500 manufacturer responsible for products like the Google Chromecast and Microsoft Xbox, we knew there was nobody better to deliver the more than 10,000 Glowforge units that you and so many others have been waiting for.
The factory is running long shifts assembling, testing, and shipping Glowforge units. In the past few weeks, we've spent countless hours in California with Flex's team of manufacturing experts. We've worked through the assembly line process together to calculate the maximum rate at which we can scale production without compromising on quality. At the same time, our logistics team has been flying around the world, visiting suppliers and verifying component quality and availability.
Based on this analysis, we've decided we need to update our completion date. Delivery of our production units will continue through November, three months longer than our previous schedule. Here's a visual look at the full schedule since our launch:
We are shipping production units now, but we can't do it fast enough to hit our previous schedule without sacrificing quality. Some of you received your Glowforge already. Many more of you will have it in July or August, on track with our schedule from December. But not everyone. We're almost to the end, but our updated schedule means that we'll have to ask some people to wait a few more months. That makes us feel terrible.
We're pretty excited about what you're getting, though. Keep reading to find out why.
Shipping and Manufacturing Details
We get a lot of questions about your place in line. All things being equal, we determine our shipments based on order date. If you're one of the 70% of Glowforge customers who ordered an Air Filter, when your printer is ready to ship, we'll give you the choice of receiving your Glowforge as soon as possible, or having us hold your shipment until your Air Filter is ready. (More Air Filter details below.)
We've received orders from more than 80 countries, and are hard at work on the logistics and the compliance standards to be able to reliably and legally deliver to every country. International shipments will start later but are scheduled to be completed at the same time as US shipments. However, there's a risk of delays: we've been going through the process of investigating individual countries one by one. So far we haven't found any problems we can't solve, but if we do, we will reach out to you individually.
The production process is remarkably involved. We're proud that we get to build your Glowforge near our homes in Seattle - just a short flight to Milpitas, CA. We're particularly proud of the incredible people who come together to make each Glowforge unit for you, and they're just as excited about what they're doing. In fact, some of the factory team are Glowforge owners themselves. (No, they don't get first pick!) Here's a photo at Flex that we took after shipping the first production units last month.
While the factory process is mostly confidential and we can't show too much, we did get Flex to agree to share a few video clips of a Glowforge Basic coming together that we thought you might enjoy.
Reviews: How your Glowforge turned out
I know you're concerned about this product you've been waiting for - will it turn out like you hoped? Rather than giving you my opinion, I'm going to point you to what customers like you have said.
You can read all about it on these Amazon reviews. We don't sell there, so we were surprised to discover they have a review page for us. Since they put it up, though, it's filled with thoughtful feedback from people who have experienced a Glowforge in their home.
For a full video experience, you can also see an in-depth review from Glowforge customer Bob Clagett of the "Makin' It" podcast and "I Like to Make Stuff".
The Glowforge Pro has shaped up into an amazing product and it's almost ready for shipment.
To validate the Pro systems, we've been building pre-release units with key Pro components for months. Because the Pro has passthrough slots, however, it is a Class 4 laser device, and requires additional safety precautions. For that reason, we've been especially careful about letting Pro units out of the building. So I'm happy to announce that we've been able to slip in some significant upgrades to the Pro package.
The Glowforge Basic is a Class 1 laser - the same classification as a DVD player. It's fully enclosed and automatically shuts off as soon as you lift the lid.The Pro, however, is classified as a Class 4 laser because, with the passthrough slots, it is not completely sealed. Many states and countries provide training information for Class 4 lasers in the workplace, but to date, there has never been a set of training materials for using them at home.
Because of that, we originally said that we couldn't offer any advice on Pro safety. We heard from you, our customers, that you needed it. So based on your feedback, we've decided to make a change. We've hired laser safety experts to create something that's never existed before, just for you: professional advice on the safe operation of a Class 4 laser device in the home.
The Pro Training materials are scheduled for completion at the end of the month.
Bonus Addition: Pro Glasses
Because the Pro is a Class 4 device, you'll need to wear safety glasses when operating it. Laser safety glasses like the Noir EC2-53W glasses are usually $90 per pair, but we've decided to include them, at no extra charge, in every Pro shipment. These are premium safety glasses which can be used alone or worn over prescription glasses. We'll also sell extra pairs in case you want to have them on hand for visiting friends or family (or fashionable everyday wear).
Bonus Addition: Pro Shields
We heard from Pro customers that it would make the product better if there was an option to use the Pro without the passthrough slots. To meet that need, we've developed a set of Pro Shields that finger-screw right into the passthrough slot of your Glowforge Pro to ensure that nothing - material or laser light - comes in or out.
Note that since it is not possible to change a laser product's class once it's manufactured, these do not reclassify the Pro into a Class 1 laser device like the Basic. We're not going to delay shipping your Pro to wait for these to be finished, so we'll ship them to every Pro owner separately later this year at no charge.
Glowforge Pro units can already cut about 15% faster than Basic units, thanks to the more powerful laser tube and improved optics. As we sourced parts for production, we made another improvement: we upgraded key components of the linear system of the Pro model. In the future, we'll update the software to unlock even faster movements. You'll see the head move more quickly during startup, scores, and engraves, resulting in even speedier prints.
We're also hard at work on many Pro-specific parts of the app. We're improving the lid and head camera operation so that the passthrough feature automatically aligns your extra-long designs for you. That software will roll out later this year, but we won't hold up shipping Pro units as a result - in the meantime, you'll be able to manually align your designs. You'll also have faster Pro cuts with both Proofgrade and manual settings.
Once Pro production starts at the end of the month, we'll be producing Pro units at a higher rate to make up for the slower start. We expect to complete Pro shipments at the same time as Basic shipments, if not sooner.
If you have a Basic on order and haven't received it yet, you can still upgrade - just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The support team will credit the full value of your Basic towards the Pro. In fact, if you purchased early, you'll get a bonus: instead of crediting the amount that you paid, we'll credit you the current price of the Basic towards your upgrade. Upgrades are unfortunately not possible after your Basic has been shipped.
Jet Black Crumb Tray
I think the Glowforge unit looks amazing. But often people point at the crumb tray and say, "What happened there?!" As you use a laser, sap and soot from wood make it look like a small campfire was built right in the middle of your beautiful machine. It's a shame because the crumb tray is an extremely expensive part - it's ferrous steel instead of the typical aluminum grid. Even though the marks don't impact your projects in any way, the design called for it to be jet black from the beginning. We just found the right supplier to make the switch.
Here's a look at the difference. The new crumb tray is on top and the old crumb tray is on the bottom:
Our software and design teams are always thinking of ways to squeeze more out of your Glowforge. We've been making improvements to our engraving quality and we thought the best way to demonstrate that was to find the 3D engrave that we shared in December and re-print it. You'll see the original on the left, and the new version on the right - smoother, more accurate, and with better detail.
Now most people wouldn't notice - they both look great from a few feet away. But we're excited about the level of detail, precision, and beauty you'll have available to you! And the software is constantly getting better.
Glowforge Basic, Pro, and Air Filter warranty
We've posted the final Glowforge limited warranty for the Glowforge Basic, Pro, and Air Filter. The details are at: glowforge.com/warranty
You can review it now to see how your Glowforge unit is covered from from tip to tail starting the moment it leaves our factory. We fully insure your shipment, so if something happens on the way to your doorstep, we'll send you a new one. In the unlikely event that you have a problem, we'll take care of it. We don't charge any additional fees, and if you're in the US, the warranty even pays for shipping to our repair center and back again.
Finally and most importantly, as the original pre-order purchaser of the product, you get an EXTRA six months of warranty coverage at no charge, beyond what's described on the warranty page. That brings you to 12 months of coverage for the Basic and Air Filter and 18 months of coverage for the Pro -- a level of coverage unavailable to anyone else.
New: Proofgrade(TM) warranty
We have another new announcement: Proofgrade materials are covered under a Glowforge limited warranty as well. This means that your $150 bonus pack of Proofgrade and any other Proofgrade materials you buy (for example, with you gift certificates) are covered too.
We've sourced the highest quality materials for our Proofgrade line, so we feel confident backing your materials up with this additional guarantee. You can read the details at glowforge.com/warranty.
As you can imagine, a device responsible for removing smoke and odors from the air needs to be meticulously tested, and we've spared no expense in testing our Air Filter exhaustively. Unfortunately, that's taken longer than originally slated, and our Air Filter production is running behind schedule.
While our Air Filters have been in development, we've been using these enormous, $3,000 industrial ventilators made of folded sheet metal in the office. I can't tell you how excited we are to be getting rid of them. They take up floor space, make a ton of noise, and they stay on constantly. And if you do turn them off and then forget to turn them on before you print, your print will fail when the Glowforge detects that something's wrong. We're so happy to be making you something that just works.
And it's not like it's complicated to use, either. Your Glowforge has only one button, but the Air Filter doesn't have any. It talks to your Glowforge to know the perfect fan speeds, runtimes, filter status, and more. It automatically powers itself down when it's not needed. If you use Proofgrade material, the Air Filter can measure its airflow precisely to match the needs of your print. In fact, if your filter should ever be accidentally disconnected or unplugged, it coordinates with your Glowforge to pause the print while you set it right.
If you watched our latest videos you might have caught a sneak peek of our soon-to-launch Design Catalog. We can't wait to take it out of beta so you can try it.
We created Glowforge with the idea that it could be easier, faster, and better to make things than it is to go shopping. The catalog really brings that to life. You get one-click access to useful and customizable projects for you to print at a moment's notice. These range from quick giftable items like jewelry and photo frames to practical pieces for your home, like desk organizers and bookends. Each design comes with easy to follow assembly instructions and links to how-to videos so that anyone can put them together successfully, regardless of artistic skill or handy-ness.
We'll be sure to let you know when the Design Catalog, and (subsequently) the option to submit your own designs, is available.
Don't Spam Filter Your Glowforge
We want to make absolutely sure that when your Glowforge is ready, you find out about it immediately. It's easy to do this: just create a contact with the name "Glowforge" and the email address email@example.com. (For extra credit, you could add firstname.lastname@example.org too.) Here's how you can do it:
Once you've done that, you can feel confident your shipping process will go smoothly. Here's what happens when your Glowforge is ready to ship:
You'll get an email from email@example.com with the subject "Would you like your Glowforge now?"
You'll read a detailed description of the product - one more time - to make absolutely sure it meets your needs and you're ready to receive it. You'll also read about any short-term delivery issues - for example, that deliveries of Pro and Basic units will arrive ahead of any Air Filter orders.
You'll finish the process by telling us whether you'd like your Glowforge delivered now or whether you'd prefer to postpone the shipment - for example, if you're travelling, moving, or want to wait for your Air Filter to be ready.
If you proceed, you'll get a second email from firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Your Glowforge is on its way (Glowforge Shipment Notification)", which contains your tracking information so you can follow your Glowforge packages on their voyage to you.
You'll spend a few days refreshing your tracking info until the moment those packages arrive on your doorstep!
What We're Sending You
We get questions all the time about how your Glowforge shipment will arrive. For US customers, it will be delivered by UPS. It's going to show up on your doorstep in three separate boxes:
Package 1: Your Glowforge
The first package is a large, suspiciously Glowforge-shaped box that will contain (surprise!) your Glowforge Basic or Pro, the laser head, and a power cord. You'll need two people to move the box, as it weighs nearly 70 lbs. We've designed the packaging to make it easy to get the Glowforge out: with your friend, lift out the foam, lift out the Glowforge unit itself, and put it in place.
The box is specially designed to protect your Glowforge through all shipments, domestic and international. Be sure to keep the box and packing materials, as you'll need them if you want to transport your Glowforge again or for any warranty repair.
Package 2: Accessories
The second, significantly smaller and shorter box will contain all your Glowforge accessories: the crumb tray, exhaust hose and lens magnet.
You'll slide the crumb tray into your Glowforge and, if your Air Filter hasn't arrived yet, you'll put your 4" exhaust hose out a window. Store the lens magnet somewhere safe; you'll use it to wipe off the laser focusing lens after every 40 hours of printing time.
Package 3: Proofgrade
Since you're a pre-order customer, you'll receive a third box containing $150 worth of premium Proofgrade materials to use with your Glowforge. Your shipment will come with a selection of materials like the following:
Four pieces of 6" x 12" medium hard maple boards (approx. 1/8" thick)
Five sheets of 12" x 20" prefinished medium hard maple plywood (approx. 1/8" thick)
One sheet of 12" x 20" maple hardwood veneer, with 3M tape adhesive (approx. 0.02" thick)
One sheet of 12" x 20" walnut veneer, with 3M tape adhesive (approx. 0.02" thick)
Two sheets of 12" x 20" medium clear acrylic (cast, transparent, glossy) (approx. 1/8" thick)
Two pieces of 5" x 10" standard natural vegetable tanned leather (2-3 oz)
Proofgrade materials come with a white protective layer that preserves the surface finish during the printing process. When you're done, it peels right off to reveal your design. Each piece of material also comes coded so that your Glowforge recognizes it automatically and offers you easy Proofgrade settings for cuts or engraves.
We're pretty sure you're going to love using them, but don't take our word for it. Here's what one of our customers had to say:
"When I first read about Proofgrade, I laughed. Thought it was the stupidest idea I've ever heard. But after using it I am going to have to eat those words. I've said this before and I'll say this again: Fire and forget. Load web page. Upload vector/raster. Pick what you want to do. Cut, Engrave or Score. Load Proofgrade. Click print. Press button. Madness. Absolute madness. This is my wife's favorite feature. Hands down."
While it doesn't make up for our delay, please know that for your incredible patience, we will be gifting you with:
$150 of premium Proofgrade materials. We think this is the very best way to get started with your Glowforge, and we're confident you're going to love what they can do.
A $20 gift certificate per month of delay, which we'll calculate and credit to your account at the time your Glowforge Basic or Pro is ready. This money can be used towards purchases in the Proofgrade store or the Glowforge design catalog.
On top of that, you'll get a $50 gift certificate for the Glowforge design catalog.
As a Glowforge Founder, you'll also get a 10% discount on Proofgrade materials and in the Design catalog.
We're extending that 10% Founder discount for another full year, until the end of 2018.
A $50 gift certificate from Inventables, so you can try out their unusual materials like glitter acrylic and veneer inlays.
Access to every design for every product we showed in our video, free, as we add them to the catalog and...
An extra 6 months on your warranty - extending your Glowforge Basic and Air Filter coverage to 12 months and your Glowforge Pro to 18 months warranty.
Getting Started Learning
As soon as you get your tracking information, you can go to app.glowforge.com and read the setup instructions so you're ready to go. We try to make it as quick and easy as possible to go from the moment you open your box to when you're finished with your first print - and some customers have reported spending 30 minutes or less.
In the meantime, as a Glowforge customer, you are in good company - helpful, educated, inventive, and resourceful company, in fact! On our Community Forum "Tips & Tutorials" section, Glowforge customers like you have begun creating incredibly useful, easy-to-read instructions to teach you how to create your own original designs using a huge variety of software packages.
There are over one hundred tutorials already - here are a few to get you started learning:
What You're Waiting For
We know it's been a long time in coming, and the wait is almost over. Here are a few things to give you a sense of how awesome it's going to be when your Glowforge arrives in the next few months.
This wall planter, made from Proofgrade cherry plywood and transparent gloss acrylic, would look right at home in an HGTV home makeover special. (read more)
This engraving, created from a friend's artwork, was a Day 1 project for a Glowforge owner. It was part of his exhibit that was honored with an Editor's Choice award at Maker Faire in the 3D Printing category. (read more)
Our beta program's resident cosplay connoisseur works fulltime as a props and costume mistress with the aid of her Glowforge. Her one-of-a-kind prop weapons also earned her an Editor's Choice award at Maker Faire Bay Area in May. (read more)
And finally, some of our most competitive customers decided to see just how far they could stretch our precision camera and engrave ability claims. And well...yup. That's a grain of rice. (read more)
The Last Mile
This is a strange email to write. In the past, it was simple: we failed everyone because we just weren't done yet. Today, we're shipping customers Basic units, which makes us delighted. But we're not shipping fast enough, which means we're still not living up to our commitments, and that makes us feel terrible.
We're almost there. Stretching the last deliveries out over another few months breaks my heart. I want you to have your Glowforge right now. If you need to cancel before the end, I apologize and we'll take care of it right away - just email us at email@example.com. If not, know that we're dedicated every day to making right on our commitments to every customer: Basic, Pro, Air Filter, International and Domestic.
You're going to make amazing things. Production lines are rolling, units are shipping, and the product is everything we'd hoped it would be.
It's been a long wait (and a long email), but you're almost at the end of both.
Thank you for seeing this through. I can't wait to send you your Glowforge.
Based on past feedback, we've set up a separate thread for comments here.