Disclaimer: I’m writing this to vent as much as to get advice. Been a long day/week/month with my Glowforge.
I have a ~3 year old Glowforge Pro that I use heavily. It’s been a real champ, but it’s really not been a consistent worker for me for a while now.
First the power output started dropping. Customer support’s fix for this was to make my machine move slower for any given setting. So, I can get Proofgrade whatever to cut at the Proofgrade speed, but every job takes longer than it used to. And I just don’t feel like I have 45 watts available to me any more… most actual 1/4" thick material is impossible to consistently cut at any speed. I’m mostly working around that by carefully picking my suppliers so I get 0.21" thick material that’s a bit easier to cut.
New problem that started today: my laser arm isn’t staying squared. Squares sometimes don’t come out square, e.g. they’re slightly longer in one direction than the other. If I flip over something I just cut, it won’t fit back into the hole it was cut out from. And engravings when it’s lost its square don’t look quite right either, the edges of text looks more aliased than it should be for a given LPI.
So I checked that all the belts have the right tension and don’t see any cracks or chips in the wheels. I squared the laser arm with a square, the tool, and it seems alright for the next job. Then the next one after that isn’t quite square again, the start and end of the cut don’t line up perfectly. I restart the Glowforge, square the arm, let it re-center, and it’s cutting square again. I don’t know what’s going on, maybe it’s just so dirty or the belt is worn or something and it’s slipping somewhere during the jobs.
The fact that it’s not happening consistently means I don’t feel like taking this to customer support yet. If they ask me to print a square and measure it, it’ll probably come out right and I won’t be able to move forward. The inconsistency of the machine is what’s aggravating. If something were to break 100% of the way, at least then I could get a quote to repair or replace it.
As it is now, it seems like my only option is to keep running, and waste time and materials when something cuts wrong or doesn’t cut through the material, until it actually gets worse.
That, or buy a new Glowforge. I’m really tempted. Next time I get really fed up I might just pull the trigger on impulse. It just feels wasteful to abandon the one I already have. It’s just in this limbo state where it works, but not always, so I can’t easily get it fixed, nor in good conscience sell it to someone else.