Glowforge Basic Vs 60w eBay laser

yeah there are a couple of upgrades you can do to replace the controller now. unfortunately the boards are usually about the same price as a k40. worth it but.


Thank you for all of your input. I’m getting closer and closer to hitting the “proceed to cancellation” button.

if you think the other features are more important (of note: those lasers also don’t require cloud connectivity), you probably should cancel, since you’d probably be happier.

but i wanted to ask if you’d used a laser before? you glossed over ‘easier to use’ but i think this is more important than you’re giving it credit for. i can tell just from the posts here that the gf is much easier to use. calibration is such a pain on some of those units (and this was on a full spectrum, let alone one of the ebay clones).

before you cancel i’d try and find someone who owns one of these and have them walk you through the necessary cleaning and calibration, as well as talk about eventually having to replace lenses and mirrors (and subsequent re-calibrations)…and then remember that you don’t really have to do any of that with a glowforge and that multiple users have been cutting literally fifteen minutes or so after the ups guy left.

i mean, i’m not trying to convince you one way or the other; i have no skin in this game. but ime workflow ultimately ends up being the major contributor to how much i enjoy using something, and i expect this to be no different.

if you’re a seasoned laser veteran, feel free to ignore everything i posted.


It is the biggest disappointment I have sitting in my garage. The 60w laser doesn’t come ready to go. The chiller it came with isn’t very good, and the thing has improperly working safety features… There is a kill switch when the lid opens that doesn’t kill. And though I’ve tried reinforcing the bed, the bed isn’t level in all the spots, and truth be told, it won’t stay in alignment after about 20 hours of use, having to get belts tightened and mirrors adjusted.

I have seen a gallery of those lasers melting their stop buttons.

It can cut, sure, but it takes a lot of maintenance and I will always worry on its safety. Plus it’s a lot louder.


True. Very very true. If someone is a newbie to lasers and is not a technical geek (e.g. ready to rewire the controller, switches, power supply, etc) they are not likely to be happy in the short term with one of these. They may be able to push their way through over time but it is not an unpack, plug-in and go purchase. The larger ones tend to need less of this than the smaller ones but they’re still not plug & play.

Russ’ sarbarmultimedia videos are good ones to show the journey a very technically competent user went through getting a not-cheap laser doing what he wanted - and looking at his upload dates will show how long it takes to reach where he got for someone who is retired and has no other work responsibilities so he could work on it full-time vs nights & weekends.

I like my K40 but it’s not a GF competitor - it’s a toy for me now. I’m going to play with the new Gerbil when that Kickstarter comes through but it’s not going to ever be anything I plan to use on projects. The Redsail has some very specific advantages over the GF but many more disadvantages and is not my laser of choice anymore.


No other laser…not even my $16k Universals do this…
They are just the end printer…everything is done in the design software.

Big difference between the Glowforge and all other laser cutters is the software interface… the gui.
So if you just want a laser you can design for and just cut and etch…you can get by with a cheap chinese. Mind you…the quality will be subpar but usable. You also need to realize the extra baggage these chinese machines require as well…chillers, compressors. Many need reworking of componants too so if you are not electrically or mechanically inclined, you may have a large learning curve in upgrading and repair…

Glowforge is sleek, intuative (proofgrade) and will work right out of the box…
Just depends on what your needs are, that will help you make the best decision…


The fact that you had been using large expensive lasers for many years, but we’re in the line for a glowforge was a deciding factor in my continued participation in this project.
I probably would have anyway, but your presence here was a solid affirmation that my intuition was correct.

Although I am a skilled tinkerer, this machine was built for people like me who had no experience with computer numeric control or lasers. The timespan it took me to begin working with a laser was measured in minutes. :sunglasses:


I have only tried a Universal laser. It is true I was not given much in the way of instruction besides what I could find online, but I wasted a lot of material not getting things to cut through and or line up the way I expected. I called the help line at Universal and the guy was down right snarky. Not helpful at all. I have not used a Glowforge yet, but from what I have read, the proof grade material, ease of set up, and ease of alignment, are reasons I am glad I invested in Glowforge and not Universal.


I have not used laser cutters before, but I’m willing to learn, be it a steep learning curve. I am an electrician so rewiring and fitting an amp meter should not be a problem. Being in the UK I don’t know when I will get my glowforge and for a similar price I can get a bigger and more capable laser. I think once I get my head round the janky software and tinkered with the calibration, it should be a better laser.


Yes if it is really true that gf are only building small batches with a six week lead time then I see no prospect of getting one so I will probably have to resort to getting a k40 and rebuilding it into something resembling a gf.

I just can’t believe they are batch building instead of going flat out with continuous production when they have 10000 to make.

There is zero evidence that the “Do you want” emails have any link to a particular unit’s production. There is also zero evidence that the 6 week delivery has anything to do with production batches. But it would be smart for any company to ensure that a majority of its product arrives in working order before going to maximum production.


Jules said they are only built after you confirm and Dan said that was correct. Why else is there a six week lead time? If they were mass produced at the rate needed to meet the schedule they would be making 100 per day and therefore dispatch the next day or two, not in a six week window.

Yeah, not buying that. You have 10,000 people waiting for a unit and the factory doesn’t make them until a hand full of people confirm that they want one? Doesn’t make sense in any universe.

I personally believe Dan was saying “That is correct” to Jules’ other statement in the same paragraph… “If you are asking if you can have the unit that someone else rejected, at the price they paid, or take their place in line, sadly the answer to both is no.”

But everyone can choose to believe what they want.


I find it very hard to believe but I can’t think of another explaination for the six week window. We see a small group of people get the email and then a few weeks later we see they get a dispatch email.

I am looking for another explaination.

Why don’t they build machines and then email? Then we would see next day dispatch.

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Believe it more likely that production and/or shipping QA issues, or some other logistics problems had caused start/stop production runs. Sometime before production was to restart they send out the email. Maybe weeks before a restart. They give themselves 6 weeks to be conservative.

I have zero evidence to back up my simpler theory (I can think of many more possibilities), but the build to order model when you only have two choices ended long before Henry Ford. Doesn’t matter to me if I’m wrong. Won’t be the last time.


I can see why you might think that but you’re not correct. You may (probably) end up with a serviceable laser and having never seen or used a GF you could decide it was as good or even as you say, better. But you won’t find a single current Chinese laser owner who has used or received their Glowforge who would agree. Best of luck though because if you can there’s a proven market for a European option.

@m_raynsford (sharkswithlasers) builds lasers in the UK and would be a good guy to connect with. BTW, he had a Kickstarter (I think, but might have been another crowdfunding venue) to build a nice laser that didn’t get funded. But he wasn’t trying to build a better GF so maybe you’d be more successful. Give him a shout. I’ll keep an eye out for your venture because I know a few folks who can’t afford a GF who would love something similar. A couple of local libraries are creating small MakerSpaces in the library who would love a laser.


What rpegg said, safety net. I recall a post where someone said there was a US consumer liability law that might be driving it (no idea if that is true or not.) A cynic would add so they can say it has shipped five weeks before it leaves the factory on a truck.

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I think the e-mail also stops the counter on your Proofgrade goodies too. By using the term “Shipping” 6 weeks early, they will save a ton on Proofgrade goodies.


These are my opinions based on observations on my delivery and on the forum:

I believe that Glowforge is sending out the email when a unit goes to QC for final inspection. The 6 week window is a conservative estimate. It was 2 weeks for me from getting my email to getting my unit; my guess is it took a week to do the final QC, pack, and ship. Shipping took a week.


this seems reasonable, but logistics and manufacturing aren’t my strong suit, so.

well, sometimes. the first pro took every last day but i’m hoping that’s an aberration.