Here's something I would pay $50-$300 monthly for AKA: GLOW:OTC

There’s nothing on the $50 a month package that seems even remotely worth it to me.

I’m willing to pay monthly for my Adobe subscription, and I also pay monthly for a ton of stock credits (but that’s because I’m a web developer who also does video work)

that said here’s the type of demographic I am:

If Glowforge wanted to turn it’s user base into a monthly revenue stream, here’s what I would say “take my money!” to…

$50 mo - You get a glowforge basic.
$150 mo - You get an upgraded model
$300 mo - You get the pro model.
(give or take let’s say 15-30% on each)

every membership includes full software access and the ability to send your Glowforge back to upgrade or downgrade to another model after, oh, let’s say 18-24 months. split the shipping with us 50/50. full warranty. lifetime.

Simple contract, probably some type of fee for people who just order for one month and send it right back (but there won’t be too many of those shenanigans)

If you want to get a little gimmicky with those monthly fees tack on X number of 'proof grade material credits" every month for $X + where someone can get some materials or save up their credits (pretty much the same way stock works). set up those credits so they expire after one year.

give people an option to ‘buy out’ or ‘lease’
If I’ve been leasing a Glowforge for over 22 months give me a buyout price.

now there is a never-ending revenue stream from the user base and an incentive to continually improve the hardware and software.

probably makes it a little bit easier to set up your corporate P&L statement or calculate your OPEX vs Revenue… should also help to smooth out payroll with a more reliable income stream…

there are way more people in the world who are willing to pay $50 a month then there are who can shell out $5,000… (I’d be willing to bet most people are probably paying off their Glowforge on a credit card)

That’s a model that might let you take your company public with a $1 billion dollar valuation after a few years and some product revolutions… that might even let you make 3D printers or your own desktop CNC machine

on top of all that you’ll be continually getting your quality hardware back in your hands so you can reuse it, repurpose it or resell it.

PS: The software shouldn’t be in the cloud. The software should be installed on our computers. Then you wouldn’t have to pay for servers… and people could use the machine without an internet connection (which would give you a bigger user base)

but in closing you shouldn’t do any of that unless you want a successful company with a never-ending revenue stream that might go public one day on OTC …or maybe… just maybe… the NYSE under a SPAC deal with the ticker: GLOW


Thanks for sharing your ideas. I will give some more time to the points you propose.

The premium subscription is not $50 per month. I believe it is $239 per year.

Glowforge is based on cloud computing and there is very little chance the software will ever reside on our computers/phones/tablets.


Yeah I understand that, but I think it’s tragic…

mostly because the Glowforge I have seems to be made with really high quality materials, and there’s only two downsides that I see to this company:

1- software stuck in the cloud that doesn’t work if my internet cuts out… (and probably shouldn’t be in the cloud in the first place) Just seems like a totally unnecessary landmine to put into a company? (and one that I really don’t like in my workflow, I don’t have that problem with my X-Carve or my MarkForged Onyx… and when it comes to X-Carve I got off of Easel ASAP solely because it was a cloud-based system)

2- no ability to upgrade my glowforge. (That’s the little part of me that really likes the Epilog business model)

and I think it would be great if this company decided to make 3D printers or their own version of X-Carve…

from a business perspective one of the things that’s always been in the back of my mind is “How are these guys going to survive they’re going to reach a threshold where no one else is going to buy a glowforge, and what’s going to happen to that software then?”

now I know that on GitHub there’s a version of the software I could potentially go try to work with… but that just brings me back to the main question here: If glowforge is not a software company how is it going to survive let alone thrive?

My conclusion was: Glowforge is a hardware company and it should sell a hardware subscription…

but the software being in a cloud I just see as a really poor decision… that sure makes sense if you’re a software company. but Glowforge isn’t a software company It’s a hardware company

I mean go ahead and try it out but I don’t think that’s going to provide a really nice residual income stream for the company.

I hate to sound like I’m trolling here but the software ‘kind of sucks’… It’s buggy and it only has one use in my mind, which is to set the power and the speed of the laser.

so that software could be as elegant and as simple as “set your X/Y, coordinates set your power and speed” -done.

I have never used the cloud software to do anything other than simply process designs that I made in Adobe illustrator…

maybe doing a survey amongst all the users and asking them what they use to make their designs might be prudent?

in closing, separating the glowforge hardware from the cloud software layer let’s the company build other hardware components like 3D printers and CNC machines, maybe even a water jet like Wazer… that can all just connect to whatever software the users want…

that allows the company to do one thing very well: Make super badass hardware and charge a subscription for it.

That’s the type of move that would allow a company like Glowforge to get on the OTC market with residual income and scoop up a colossal segment of the home hobbyist market that want all of those tools…

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I think it is pretty well known that the users use Inkscape, Adobe, Affinity, Silhouette, Procreate and a few others. Glowforge makes it possible to use whatever you want to create your designs - including just the interface.

Glowforge investors and executives probably have their own long term plans, and I doubt they haven’t considered most of the ideas that their users could come up with. They sell their hardware worldwide, so I doubt the market is saturated yet and for a product that has only been available for less than 4 years, they have already encouraged copycat products.

In short, Glowforge is probably not ever going to drop the cloud computing model. It has been discussed ad nauseam here in the forum as you probably know.


I think you missed your calling —-mergers and acquisitions. You should send your resume to @dan he might bring you to the team for the IPO.

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This maybe a decent idea, but it’s wasted to have it here or discuss it any further.

If you want glowforge staff to see it, repost it in problems and support. Better yet, if you don’t care what other people have to say, just email support@glowforge, no fuss no muss. They will not see it here, and everyone who is commenting is spinning their wheels.

Moving it to support won’t work either, you have to create the thread there to create a ticket.

While you’re at it you could lecture them about that too, it’s a silly way to do support.


If the internet cuts out mid-cut your Glowforge will usually finish the cut as the cut is stored on your machine for the duration of the cut, unless it is huge and cannot be done in one upload.

One point of using the cloud is that it is being upgraded all the time. After 3 years mine works way better than it did when I got it in terms of accuracy and what it can accomplish. The only downside is that hardware cannot be upgraded so easily.

That is the other side of having the calculations in the cloud, it would be very expensive to have that computer capability in every machine. I don’t run my Glowforge from my android phone but some folks do.

Ultimately It was a decision that could go either way and they decided on that particular way, and made it well known that they favor it, hardly making it a secret. I would like my car to double as a boat but it was clear at the start that it would not do that.


To be fair, this could be the same with offline software as well. Updates are updates. Cloud-connected is different than cloud-dependent.

Is it though? I don’t think it’s that CPU intensive to calculate. I can run an estimate on the Universal Control Panel and the Trotec job estimator in seconds, that’s pretty darn accurate. To do that, it’s calculating out motion paths, factoring in accel/decel, and so on.

That said, it doesn’t seem like the cloud-based software is going anywhere. At least, that anyone here knows of. One thing is definitely true: the browser-based model allows for a lot more than running through a print driver, like what is traditional for cutters. Being able to work with raw data rather than something that has been processed via a print driver allows for a lot more to be done in the cutter interface.

FWIW, the new Trotec software is browser-based, but not internet-dependent. It runs on a local server. In the future, from what I understand, it will have some cloud-based functions but not be dependent. However, at this point in time, the machine can only be controlled via PC; I can access the interface from my Mac on the same local network to set up jobs and even queue them, but the job has to be ran from the PC, which has a direct connection to the machine.


Yes, but can you run it from your Android tablet? Not that such would be the only reason for going to the cloud, but it is the extreme example. I have seen much discussion that folks could have really minimum computer power on a very cheap small laptop and the entire thing runs on the cloud. I would not like that so much but every person could afford one who is currently unconnected to most of what is going on which like it or not is defaulting to the web.

I am sad to say… but


I really don’t see why not. There is a bit going on that isn’t going on in other systems, but there are plenty of pi-controlled cutting devices etc that are capable of doing quite a bit. I really don’t think it’s a computing power thing… That said, I don’t think the cloud is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a thing.

If my internet connectivity was proving to give me that much downtime, I think I’d be more upset at my ISP being down that much. I mean, I traveled to some really remote places with a laser and was able to work just fine - maybe absent Netflix, but running the laser wasn’t a problem. So the internet thing is just whatever… it’s not that big of a deal, in my opinion. But, I don’t think that it should be overstated that having supercomputers is necessary to making it run.

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i agree about the internet connection itself not being a huge issue. i think the bigger issue is the poor wifi in the machines and lack of an ethernet option. we see people all the time in support complaining about problems that so often come down to the GF not being able to maintain a stable connection to wifi for one reason or other. and often in a location that the user has no other issues with other devices, just the GF. spending $25 more to include an ethernet port to be able to (a) troubleshoot whether wifi is the issue and (b) just eliminate it altogether would help. and i wonder if the wifi they built in just isn’t as good (or maybe in a location inside the machine that is suboptimal for reception?). either way, that wifi connection seems to be an issue for a lot of people.


Pretty sure the Glowforge tear down and explore people over at openglow were fairly adamant about their opinion that GF used the cheapest possible WiFi chip.


To be sure. My new CNC router used that as a selling point. Not being cloud/internet dependent they said meant that I’d never be hostage to their ability or willingness to provide service. But being connected allows them to open up some additional capabilities - like being able to control it from any device vs. just the machine controller.

The GF inspired religious wars are being fought with gusto out there. :slight_smile:


I think they got it right…

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This comment might be the death of me tonight. I am laughing so hard —-I am having a difficult time breathing. All of this is going to give me a stroke!!!

Please pray to Jesus, Allah, The Universe, The Spirit of Bill Graham and Elvis I make it through the night.


Seriously this cloud issue is a non-issue in the UK because we have rock solid broadband.

It is an issue in the US because as far as I can tell most US broadband sucks.

Guys - you should be hassling your politicians to remove the monopolistic locks on broadband and get those same monopolies to spend the tax money they’ve been given to provide you all a decent broadband capability.


Placing here is strategic.
Sending a “Hail Mary pass” to any C-Class exec is less likely to land a touchdown.

Instead, a better approach is to first gain community support, classic IA (investor activism). Test the water, make the comment in public, stay polite, respectful, see if people “cheer it on” or “hail it as a good idea”. DOES IT EVEN FLOAT?

Then, the CEO/CTO/COO/CSO whoever, they come here and look at it at their leisure.

I work as a consultant for public companies, sending emails to the IR dept or CEO@ is not effective. You want to know who sends emails to IR@ and CEO@? LOL - mentally ill people with bad ideas that think the executive dept “wants to hear from them”… (I’ve seen it, its hilarious, and absurd)

Those people are busy, they do not have time for “stuff like this” in their EMAIL inbox. Thats what the community forum is for. (Good C-Class execs DO browse the forum, sometimes anonymously)

The C-Class wants Media Opportunities. This gives them the opportunity to “ignore or reply” in public, which shows the company is active and interested in the community.

Here is how I think this will go down:

  • Dan will hear about this from someone inside GF, but only IF they are even remotely won over by this idea.
  • and/or Dan will come here himself and reply.
    (That’s been his past behavior, and its a smart move as a CEO)
  • or it just gets ignored

All 3 are an “answer”.

This is not a lecture
To be candid, I bet the people running this company are SMART enough to have already had this exact discussion

this is a strategic move on my part to say “hey, this is how I think about this, I am a customer, take my money like this!” - the idea being, whoever floated that idea (perhaps years ago) can now say “Look! I was right! see! lets do it”

In closing: THIS is exactly where THIS type of comment and discussion belongs.
Please, feel free to debate the quality of the idea, or, add to it.

Best thing you can do here is help me keep this discussion “alive”. Keep it open. Send links to friends, debate the quality of the idea, add to it, ect… (IF you like the idea of course)

From there, if the idea is even remotely good, it will make it onto their radar, after being in the “gladiator ring” of the community and cheered on… or “boo’d out”

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The Cloud is moot here I think. Kind of a side issue.
(it is also an unnecessary OPEX for the company)

IMHO: It should just be a download written in DELPHI or Embarcedero RAD Studio as an executable with a driver.

I suspect the real reason that is still here has something to do with “honoring” a contract or an original employee or 2 who MIGHT be expendable were it not for the cloud software. Not trolling, just making an observation that I have seen in other companies.

Alternate theory: Licensing rights. they ‘did it in the cloud’ because some company already has the IP patent locked down on ‘plotting X/Y coordinates being used in a driver’ (for PC/MAC) – or, they used some type of Open Source system that they can not compile into an executable application… (I would be interested to know the truth about that)

In defense of the software, I admit there are some advantages to this system. I am a coder and web developer, so I see the benefit, but in this case, its a questionable strategy. I think it costs them more money than it makes…

For example, you would want to put your software IN the cloud instead of making a Mac, PC, Android, iOs apps – so you can have 1 unified system, but that’s also moot here, app.glowforge has no need to use responsive CSS and Media queries to work on mobile devices. So again, I wonder “why do it that way?” - odd.

Endless speculation aside: I believe the Cloud system is:

  • a drain on their OPEX
  • will always “be in development”
  • has to be supported (community and internal)
  • debugged (community and internal)
  • each time a new browser comes out it has to be maintained
  • when a JS component (jQuery for example) update is needed they risk being deprecated
  • on top of all there there is the hosting cost… IT, a couple salaries, consultant fees, ect…
  • Ergo: always a thorn in their side
    Similar arguments could be made for having an executable with a driver, but its far more stable, and, does not require “a cloud server” to process everyone’s stuff. (why rent, secure and scale a whole cloud server for just this?)

Let me be clear:
This idea here is primarily about being “A Hardware Leasing Company” (not a software company)

I think Glowforge should use the “Dealership Leasing Model” in the Vehicle industry, with the option to buy after X months. But with a nice modern twist and far less shenanigan’s.

For a specific type of customer who is either awful at math or low on capital leasing a machine might be successful. Of course if they’re low on capital they’re inherently risky, but maybe that can be overcome.

Your analysis neatly sidestepped all mention of maintenance/collection of outstanding leases and the inherent financial and legal liability of having leased hardware in the wild, two (of likely many) major issues that would need to be addressed. I’d imagine a company that wants to go public isn’t too eager to put much liability on the books… In any case this is not a trivial pivot.

I’ll say again that this hasn’t really been an effective way to get GF’s attention in the past. I’ve seen many variations on the theme of “I’ll be the squeaky wheel surely the manager will speak to me” here on the forum, and it’s quite rare that it works unless it is in P&S. You’ve been a member since 2017 but don’t have a lot of read time so I suspect that either you hadn’t noticed the trend or you just disagree. Time will tell.

Lastly, if you’re trying to drum up support for a new way to lease hardware, it seems like a community of people who already have Glowforges wouldn’t be a great place to go looking for support. We don’t have a ton of skin in that game — it begs the question of why you would choose us as an audience. If only Glowforge knew of a good consultant in these matters with whom to discuss the concept…