Growing up


By virtue of its connectivity, I have watched this machine mature across 10 months now, from the pre-release to my precious - and still evolving. I feel for all of those international customers who are still twisting in the wind, and all I can say is I’ll bet you will be pleased when your investment pays off.

Jocky the settings and there are surprises around every corner. So much fun. So many materials - so little time.


You said a shelf full right there!


Yes, and it’s everywhere. I took my daughter to target and Walmart this evening. I bought laserable stuff in both places. I just can’t help it.


The forum is so big now I only read the problems section in its entirety. That probably gives me a biased view but from where I am looking this is a very unreliable machine. There are warranty returns every day from a population of, who knows, perhaps 6000 ish. Far too unreliable for me to accept delivery when it is $1000 to return it under warranty if it goes wrong.

And then there are the missing features. The big improvement in camera accuracy was supposed to be when they started using the factory calibration data, but that has happened and seemed to make no difference, still 1/4" tolerance. Very hard to believe it will ever work now. No way will I accept a machine with the current list of incomplete features. Once all the pre-order customers have accepted their machines I expect the spec will be downgraded and nobody will have any comeback because they agreed to accept something less than they ordered.


Without a doubt.

And this (since so much is in MoaGF & Everything Else) belies everything that follows in your post.

It’s like saying “there’s simply too much good stuff to read through so I’m going to focus on the smaller fails and consider that the true representation of reality”.

It’s not dark in the world because the sun is too bright to see clearly so you look through sunglasses.


Reliability is fails over total population per unit time, so the number of MaoGF posts don’t have a bearing on it. Yes there are a lot of people successfully making things but can you deny that seeing warranty replacements every day isn’t an indication the hardware is not reliable when there are substantially less than 10000 machines in the field and the vast majority have not been out there very long?

On top of that there are always people saying their machine will not print designs they have printed before, so the cloud software is unreliable as well.

The GF seems to have many new failure modes that require factory recall compared to a basic laser cutter.


I can understand the skepticism from your perspective, but from my personal experience of having used two different machines over 10 months, my assessment is the opposite.

All of which are new to the desktop laser platform, and don’t diminish basic laser cutter functionality. Since the software is still under development you do have that prerogative.

Not surprising I think for a new design still under development introducing innovative features that set it apart from a basic laser cutter. A skewed comparison I think. The glowforge is in a class by itself IMO.

I don’t dispute issues others have reported with placement accuracy, but they don’t exist for me. When I open an existing file from the dashboard or upload a prepared file, it is executed exactly where I place it regardless of where I put it on the bed - as long as my caliper measurements are accurate. Subsequent file placement to an already accomplished design using the camera for placement is more problematic at this point, so I don’t rely on that workflow.

Being a neophyte in the technology I was very excited about the trace feature incorporating camera vision, thinking I needn’t learn or rely on design software to use this machine. Although that’s true to a degree, as my experience and understanding grew l learned there is no alternative for the precision of design software.
Because of that I rarely use the trace feature anymore. For me, where it shines is the ability to allow a quick rendering of a scanned image like demoed at the maker fairs. It does offer that avenue in contrast to a basic laser cutter.

Your expertise and experience go miles deeper than mine and I respect that, but what this machine has enabled me to do, and my faith in the company’s vision leave our perspectives at opposite ends of the spectrum.

I was prepared to purchase the pre-release for a fair price, and would probably already have it eviscerated to extend the Z axis and perhaps cooling capacity. I think if I had your ability I would be a lot less apprehensive about what this machine could be made to do.
And then there is the price. What the glowforge offers for what we paid can’t be touched elsewhere.
I am also very pleased that my machine was manufactured in the U.S. :sunglasses:

Just my perspective.


if you only look at the negative, that is all you will see and your version of “reality” will be sorely skewed in that direction. If all I looked at were the problems and support areas on my car make and model, I would be riding a horse (and only that if I didn’t look at the problems and support areas for that breed of horse:) ).

Since you are only looking for the negative in the GF, I’m actually surprised you are still interested at all. Out of curiosity, do you actually have data to support this claim about returned units – number of days since units started shipping, number of those days when actual units were advised to be returned, number of returning units on each of those days, number of units actually shipped versus number of units actually returned. It seems when you make such a blanket claim then it would be important to actually have the data to back it up. That way folks could look at it with and objective eye and make informed decisions about what they want to do.


Sure, but knowing that the Glowforge is still useful as a basic laser cutter isn’t reassuring. It was advertised as significantly more than that.

The Glowforge is in a class by itself, but that’s orthogonal to the issue of performance problems requiring a return to the factory.

Glowforge could have chosen to offer a product with a bunch of great features and designed it to be fully user-serviceable, but instead they have chosen to make it a managed product.

That’s their prerogative, and many customers will prefer it that way. Many other customers won’t. Particularly the ones for which a “we’re really sorry, but it looks like we need to replace your unit” is a $1000+ expense that would probably brick their device.

See Prusa as an example. They offer really good 3D printers with innovative new features, while keeping them completely open source and user serviceable.


I think that is an excellent point to consider when buying a GF – or any piece of equipment. Look at all the pros and cons and decide, given everything, what is the best piece of equipment for you and your entire situation. It is what it is, as it is, and decide if that is right for you. If not, go another direction that better suits.


I agree, that’s the most reasonable thing to do for any purchase.

What’s unfortunate is that Glowforge has created a new product, potentially much better than anything else in it’s class, and made it inaccessible to many potential customers simply because they prefer to offer it in a locked down and managed package.

It just feels like such an artificial limitation!

In any case, we won’t really know what their approach to international service is going to be until a few of them have been shipped.


I would guess the potential audience for a managed package, one that allows totally inexperienced users like me to participate (their target market) probably far exceeds that of users skilled enough to manage it themselves. Just my speculation.

I can’t argue that international customers could find themselves at a distinct disadvantage regarding shipping costs.

Yes, I’m sure most international customers are understandably anxious to know how that is going to play out.
What about you Sam? Have you taken delivery on your unit yet? I’d like to hear your impression of the machine.


I live in New Zealand so no Glowforge for me yet!

Offering it as a managed product certainly does make it more accessible to less technical users, and I really do think that’s a good thing. None the less, they could still offer the same managed experience for those who want it without locking out those who don’t. Maybe in the future they will.


From the pictures I have seen, That is a beautiful country!

I agree! I would be surprised if their model didn’t eventually evolve to accommodate both. I don’t see the sense in purposely excluding a potential market segment.
Personally, since I have my fundamental indoctrination (and I’m a pretty hand guy) I would be much more likely to purchase replacement parts for the $1,000+ rather than ship the whole thing back.


We’ll find out soon. I live in the USVI ie: a US Territory and a USPS destination. However unlike Puerto Rico (less than 60 miles away) UPS, FEDEX, DHL consider us International. As a result we drop-ship to Miami and take delivery in St. Croix/St. Thomas/St. John. This still is cheaper than using UPS, etc. However its not covered when it leaves the drop-shipper and if its broken its on me… The same applies if it fails during the warranty period.

And mines on its way, Pro…


Yes just back from a month there, which was great. Also spent a month there in 2004 and that was probably our best holiday.

I am no longer exited to receive one. Its isn’t the wonder machine advertised, it is a basic laser cutter in a nice box with a lot of bugs. I will probably opt to wait for the software to be finished, which I don’t think will ever happen. If by some miracle they get it working as advertised and it becomes reliable I would accept it but I don’t think that will ever happen.

I don’t have any numbers but I know for sure less that 10000 have shipped and I see warranty returns every day. I designed products of similar value that were produced in much larger numbers and if they had to be shipped back to the factory every day I would probably have been sacked.


So, this sounds like a great business opportunity for you then! Congrats!


Thanks. Can you tell me how you arrived at that number? Can you tell me how many less than 10,000 that is?

When you say the number about warranty returns, is that one a day since they began shipping?

If that is what you have recorded from the forum reports (the only way I know of arriving at those figures), then that must be somewhere around 240 units you have recorded or noted or observed as being returned.

If that is the case, and your research/data states that about 10.000 units have been shipped to date, then there has been a warranty return rate of about 2.4% – or a delivery rate of successful units at 97.6%. Is that what you have gathered from your research and observation of the Problems and Support forum category?


The original sales figure was widely assumed to be around 10,000. Of those 20% were overseas, so that drops it to 8000 and I think a signifiant number have cancelled, so say 7000 domestic orders left . Of those not all have been delivered yet even if GF call them “shipped”. So yes I can confidently say a lot less than 10000 have been delivered. A guess would be more like 5000. Happy to be corrected with real figures but we will probably never see those.

So I think more like 5% failure rate . Although that is just a wild guess it is all I have to base my decision to accept it on. That is about 10 times more than I would expect to see for something like this.


You need to modify one of those assumptions. There is at least one person who ordered a Pro in 2017 who has already received it. So we can assume that all of the original pros have been delivered and then some. And ‘the spreadsheet’ shows they are very close on closing out the basics. People past the original campaign have started to get emails.