Glowforge stopped working

I’m sending out an SOS. I own the Glowforge Pro and just passed my 1 year warranty period. A month ago my auto focus stopped working but I could still use my machine. I sent inquiries to support and they sent back trouble shooting options that mostly involved cleaning and checking every available part. Then the entire thing stopped working all together. It stays in the scanning mode. I can tell that the lens inside the print head moves around and I told them that which they have not addressed. Instead I’'m supposed to pay the $200 shipping fee to see if it is even fixable. Shouldn’t a technician come check it onsite before all the shipping of a broken machine happens. And it is Christmas season!!! I have open orders! I think a loaner machine is a fair option. I am sick thinking about spending $6,000 on a machine that only lasted 13 months. And since they have the ability to read and review my machine but not give feedback on any of that information, how do I know that they aren’t corrupting my system once the warranty expires. In fact, my machine stopped auto-focusing right after the last update. AND I’ve referred people to purchase these machines. If I can’t fill my holiday orders, it will ruin my business. There won’t even be an arguable reason to re-purchase a Glowforge cause my business reputation will be tainted.

Sorry to hear about the troubles, did they tell you it needed to be sent back in for repair?
(Just to ease your mind…the lens is supposed to move inside the head, that’s how it focuses. It’s attached magnetically and it moves up and down to focus the beam.)

They don’t have technicians, and they don’t have a loaner program, so if you are told that you need to send it in, you’ll want to farm the jobs out if you can, or try to find a local who would be willing to run a few jobs for you to keep the customers appeased. And you’ll want to do that asap. It generally takes about a month turnaround time on machines that have to go in for repair.

Hope you get good news once they’ve inspected it if it has to go in.


Don’t have much use for conspiracy theories.

The two small windows on the bottom of the head are used to determine proper focus and then the laser lens is moved to achieve that. It also moves up and down within the head during a focusing calibration process. Both during normal power up and at the end of every print.


A bit off-topic but when I went to college we still had big books of standard mathematical values - big big book in fact. You want the cosine of an angle it was there. The Log of a number, that was there too. All the mathematical values you’d want because before calculators you used slide rules and pencils to calculate even fundamental values.

We were in the migration era from using the book and calculators which had only recently become affordable for college students. There was a lot of discussion whether the Japanese were playing a long game retribution for our winning WWII - they create the chips the calculator uses and then as we stop using the books to verify the results, they start changing the values ever so slightly. And then one day our bridges fall down because the US-bound calculators are all defective and the Japanese domestic market had the good ones :smiley: We spent way too much time on conspiracies. :stuck_out_tongue:


The CRC Mathematical Tables (Chemical Rubber Company). Couldn’t get through engineering school without it. Have the 1973 version (22nd edition) on my bookshelf next to me. Cost $6.95 new. Somewhere I have a smaller 1958 version.

Still have my college sliderule. And my first calculator that cost 3 months rent.


Me too :slight_smile:

Got the calculator in high school from my grandfather. The fallout back then was incredible about haves vs have nots and unfair advantages, etc. When my kids were growing up it was computers in the home. Now it’s tablets, laptops and augmented reality devices.


I’m sorry you are having troubles with the Glowforge. It must be nerve racking to depend on a machine working for your business to succeed. I work with people in my day job. I know they won’t function right and can’t be fixed. That’s why my hobbies involve machines that can.

I do suggest you focus on solving the problem and giving us information to help you with that rather than up the noise ratio with irrelevant speculation about nefarious intent on Glowforge’s part. Their business depends on working machines and long-term reliability is crucial to that success. I know a few of the early users with original production machines that are working even better than when they first got them because of software and infrastructure upgrades.


As another small business owner, I suggest you start thinking and implementing a backup plan. The Glowforge is a personal/hobby level laser and is supported as such. If your business relies on the Glowforge or any other electro-mechanical system to make money, you MUST expect it to fail at any time. In order to minimize the affect this has on your customers, you need to have a backup plan in place so that when the inevitable failures happen you are able to quickly and easily react. Some examples of backup plans are: Laser cutting services, farming the orders out to other GF users who are willing to help, having a second laser, and having a pre-written policy in place to give the customer their options if they aren’t willing to wait.

I think you will find that with clear communication to your customers and a plan to address their order you will lose less business than you are fearing. You aren’t making something that customers can buy off the shelf in most cases, so if you are able to give your customers an estimated delivery date based on when your machine will be repaired and working again, and to communicate to new orders that you are looking at a longer delay due to the machine being down, you will find that they will still order from you.

If you want to keep pursuing the business, you should really think about this and get something in place. Just also keep in mind that if you get a second machine your business can expand to fill the capacity and if you want a backup you have to manage the duty cycles to make sure that you aren’t expanding to the point that the backup is negated. You are the only person responsible for your business reputation - if you communicate clearly and honestly to your customers, most of them will be understanding. I find though that if you are negative toward your equipment your customers will take that into account in the future. Take responsibility for the delay and let them know you are working on it. I suggest something like “We have experienced an unexpected hardware failure and are working to resolve it as quickly as possible. At this time, the anticipated delivery date of your order is [DATE]. If you are unable to wait, we understand and will provide a full refund of any fees paid on your order. If you would like to wait for your custom order, we will give a [discount or other goody] as a token of our appreciation of your patience.”

GF is not damaging your machine. If they were, mine would have been down a long time ago.


I am not suggesting that glowforge literally corrupted my machine once the warranty had passed. But I am concerned that they have responded that the machine may be completely non-fixable and there’s nothing they can do about it. If customer service only needs to last for the 12 month warranty., Where do customers go for resolution after that time has lapsed. I can’t afford a $6000 piece of equipment to only work for 13 months. Also my machine worked fine until the October upgrade to allow the faster speeds. I let GlowForge know immediately that the upgrade had caused my auto focus to stop working. They advised me to clean the machine which never fixed the problem and finally the entire machine stopped working. I prefer them to revert my machine back to the slower speed. The challenge is that it takes several days for any response to come to an email and no one is willing to talk to you in person. A conversation with a customer service representative would be ideal.

It is much more likely that the timing of your unit pooping out is coincidental.

That’s probably not going to happen. I can’t think of another time in the years I have been here when the company agreed to keep someone on an older version of the software they requested. For better or worse, we are all in the same boat that way.

It is pretty bad luck that your machine died right after the warranty was up. Unfortunately I think all you can do is decide to pursue the company’s offered repair option, or move on. There is no button they can push that will fix your problem.


The firmware update didn’t cause this issue. If it had, we would be seeing many reports of it, not just you. I have been supporting this type of system for about five years and I have never seen a firmware update that was completed successfully cause any issues. If your internet connection failed and corrupted the firmware update in some way that may cause an issue, but that would also likely make the machine completely inoperable.

The more likely explanation is that one of the cables has worn out and Support will be able to diagnose and repair the issue. If you have emailed them and opened a ticket they will have to reconcile the two before responding which will delay your response.


I see you already emailed us about this and we’re working on it there, so I’m going to close this topic.