Help Please. I can't afford repairs

Hi All. I’ve never posted to the Glowforge Community before, but I’ve learned a lot from what others have posted, so thanks for that! When I bought my Glowforge Pro I did a lot of reading and research. I’d never had anything like it before, so I thought a lot about maintenance costs. The big one seemed to be replacing the CO2 tube. At the time of my purchase this was a $500 expenditure, which I felt seemed fair. So I bought my Glowforge and, to be clear, I fell in love with it. I loved making the pretty things. Fast forward until I need a tube and I’m told it’ll be over $1700 dollars, which I quite frankly did not have. I’ve been saving for quite a while now when I had a thought: I have to pay over $1700 (if it hasn’t gone up again) for this maintenance and guess what…it’s going to need the same maintenance again and I probably won’t want to pay for it then either. I paid $6,566 for the initial purchase of the Glowforge Pro and the air filter, now I have a very expensive brick taking up a lot of room in my office. I really feel cheated and like I did not get my money’s worth. What should I do? I need ideas and I also really miss making things. Thanks in advance.

Sorry this has happened. There was a time when Glowforge stated that tubes could be replaced, but at some point that “promise” was modified. Now, Glowforge offers to replace machines that are out of warranty with refurbished machines for a flat fee. The refurbished machine carries a 90 day warranty. There are many things that can need replacing in the machine besides the tube, so even if you could replace the tube for $500 there is not guarantee that the power source or mother board would not fail soon after.


We were all left in the same position when Glowforge reneged on Dan’s promise of a $500 laser tube replacement program. You’re not alone in relying on that assurance in making your purchase decision. Although their model is to just replace broken machines with refurbished models regardless of the underlying problem, perhaps they might still be open to replacing just the tube. They pushed back on that a couple of years ago because they had changed to a different maintenance & repair partner and couldn’t service machines in a reasonable timeframe. It may be that they will now fix your machine (but expect protracted delays - not that’s any worse than having the brick in your office). I don’t know if escalating that request to just have the tube fixed is an option you could pursue.

If they insist the refurb is the only route open to you, I’d think a long time before spending another $2K on a GF refurb. As you noted you’ll likely need a new tube again and that’ll be another several thousand dollar cost (based on the steady uptick from near a thousand to almost two thousand for the refurb “repair” program already, I would expect that the next tube would likely cost 3-4K). I don’t think that those folks who say “I can’t get another as capable machine for the price of a refurb” are considering that they’re likely to need to do it again when their tube goes (or power supply or other parts).

By buying a refurb you’re really signing up for a potential 5K cost over the next several years. That puts you in the ballpark of other more robust CO2 lasers from a variety of manufacturers. With a refurb you’re invested already to the tune of $9K knowing another couple/few thousand dollars is likely on the horizon. Is the GF a 9K machine? Or a $12K one? Those other lasers will not be locked down like the GF in terms of ability to repair yourself using stock parts. The downside is that you would lose the GF software ecosystem - that may be important to you or not as you would most likely be able to take advantage of the resources of the entire Lightburn community as that’s the predominant application now. If you’re a catalog design buyer or dependent on the Premium design tools, then you’re stuck in the GF ecosystem and the closed hardware.


Considering the many people who are pushing year 7 on their first machine, jumping to the conclusion that spending 1.7k now could lead to 5k over the next several years seems like a big leap.

That being said if the 1.7k is out of your reach @Wildhare, it doesn’t really matter either way. The thing is, with the Glowforge tube, there’s no off-market tube you can buy to replace it, and replacing it yourself requires quite a bit of electrics and engineering knowledge. There are certainly people selling :glowforge:s, often for quite a bit below market, but I don’t know that there 's anyone selling Pros for less than 1.7k.

Are you 100% sure it’s the tube, and not the power supply? If it suddenly couldn’t cut, that’s not a tube issue (unless it shattered or something), it’s more likely power.

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It may not be what you are wanting to do, but there are those who will purchase the entire pro from you for parts or you could scavenge the parts and sell them yourself. It could earn you some funds. Of course it won’t help that you miss creating things with your :glowforge:


I am 100% it’s the tube. I sent all the photos, etc and went through the whole process w/Glowforge, also did a lot of reading on the forum and I am confident that’s the issue. I’ve been very careful and taken good care of it. I even have all the original packing and everything.


I’m positive it’s the tube. It wasn’t sudden, it was a gradual reduction in power.

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The price has almost doubled in the three(?) years since mine took a dive. But the refurb was indistinguishable from new, and the price of many things have doubled as well (not including Social Security :cry:). Counting only from then and what I have been able to do, It has much more than paid its way, making up for the real net drop in SS income. If you have been making income from your machine the new one may pay its way as well, and perhaps they will let you pay it off over time as with newer machines.

I don’t think so. The 7 year machines may be a reflection of the Kitchen-Aid effect discussed in a different post. Regardless though, the likelihood that you’ll need another refurb 2 or 3 years down the road is based simply on the claim that the tube is designed for a 2 yr lifespan (not something I necessarily ascribe to, but it is oft-stated here as gospel and even Dan said that - although he also said we’d get replacements for $499 :smiley: )

If you’re going to need a new tube in 2-3 years than today’s 2K refurb might well be 3 or 4K based on how much the cost has risen over the past couple of years. Add that to the 2K needed to get a refurb to start the cycle (since the OP has a dead machine now) and it would not be unreasonable to posit that spending 2K today for the refurb has the potential for another 3K in a few years based on GF claims of tube lifespan. Personal experience to the contrary is anecdotal. Planning should be done based on manufacturer’s engineering and if one’s experience is different that’s good (or bad depending on which side of the performance curve you find yourself). But planning on achieving the results of others contrary to the company’s assertion of engineering limits is not statistically supported (by definition the OP has already had a contrary experience and because of that is more likely to do so again - similar to Dan’s comments some time ago about people who experienced 3 or 4 failed machines and the likelihood of having another).

It’s very similar to another of our flock who had a ULS with 14,000 hours on her tube - well above the design lifespan. No one would reasonably buy a ULS expecting the same outlier behavior.