Is it normal for the Glowforge PRO to only last about a year?

Long story short, I have now had 3 Pro machines fail, each just past a year. I clean them religiously, and I have an extra fan connected to the exhaust to be extra sure that it is vented well. I just spent well over $1600 a year ago to get another refurb and now THIS one has failed and I will have to spend well over $1600 again. Big time regrets over here as I could have spent all this on a much better/more powerful laser that I can maintenance and repair myself.

I got my first Pro back in March of 2020 and I was ecstatic to say the least. A year later it wasn’t cutting through anything anymore, the tube was failing and I was a couple weeks outside of warranty. They took care of me and I was sent a refurbed unit at the end of March 2021.
April of 2022 and my Glowforge can’t communicate with the print head, I was able to purchase a new print head for over $500, it didn’t work either. Then paid for a new refurb to go with the new head for over $1100 and I was back in business.
Cut to the present. This third one had moderate use for about 6 months, then little to no use for the last 6 months. I finally have been able to get back to using it regularly and after 3 small prints it has died and at this point I just cannot justify having to spend over $1600 yearly just to have functional hardware. As a machine at that price that was touted to be able to run 24/7 this just seems wildly unacceptable to me.

I see posts from owners talking about how their machine has run great for years and they almost never clean it, heck, the rep I emailed told me that most people have no issues. If they don’t fail often, and my experience is so unusual, then why can’t Glowforge do anything to help beyond letting me spend so much on hardware every year?

I feel like a bit of a chump as our design was used by the Glowforge Instagram and we even had a video chat with the dev team because they were really curious how we did what we did with it, but I just don’t know what to do at this point other than chuck this now nearly 10k paperweight in the trash and make sure that I warn everyone I know to never buy one.

My experience is different than yours. The warranty is clearly stated, and the life of the tube is estimated to be about two years. I have never seen a Glowforge ad stating that the machine could run 24/7.

I am sorry for your misery.


Yeah, my first new one the tube only lasted a year, and every machine has failed at pretty much the year mark since then for other reasons. So I guess I should expect it to only last for the year of warranty? Each replacement only comes with a few months warranty. It just seems like an awful lot of money for something that won’t last very long. I haven’t looked lately, but back when I was purchasing they had a comparison chart of the different models and that was one of the selling points for the pro was that it could run 24/7.

Greetings -

Interesting. The fact that the Dev Team had to wonder how you accomplished something with the machine, says to me you weren’t using it in a way that it was designed for. Right or wrong, just sayin’. :slight_smile:

But I totally get your situation. From past reviews here, I’ve understood from day 1, when the warranty expires, you’re on borrowed time. So since my expiration, I’ve worked really hard to determine what my future needs are most likely to be from a machine, and therefore how to increase the value of my next laser. Because there will be a next one.

It seems like for you, there are many more options now than a few years ago for production-scale lasers at a reasonable price. My needs and interests have shifted the other way, so when my Plus takes crap, I would likely choose an Aura. If not before then. On paper, it’s glacially slow, but I forsee my future needs mainly being for cutting fabrics, thin acrylics, construction paper and foam core. And it does have a passthrough for an even greater size capability than I have now. Although, I don’t trust that’s going to work all the time. :wink:

So it sounds to me like you’re probably better off, anyway, going with a larger ‘Direct Interface’ production style machine. Don’t get me wrong, it still blows your out a bunch of money, but hopefully you atleast recouped some of that from sales along the way.


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They were mostly curious to talk to us because of how we used engraving on our design, not really because we were doing anything outside of what it was designed for.

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Your experience has been sucky :frowning:
I’m in that run for years almost never clean it camp. I wonder if perhaps you are over cleaning?
Through the years there have been many posts here that started with “I cleaned my Gf and now it’s broken”.


“Upgraded solid-state cooling allows nonstop printing all day long.” – Glowforge Pro product page on the Glowforge website, March 2020 when @cutloosetheties made their purchase. Similar verbiage has been used for most of the years it’s been for sale.

I sympathize with your frustration. I am in love with my Glowforge and have only received excellent service, but I’ve also run into enough issues and helped others with enough issues of their own that I purchased a second laser to run alongside it, and budget for an expensive out-of-warranty repair every 2 years. I hope I don’t need to spend the money that often, but it’s just the operating cost of owning a budget CO2 laser in my mind. It’s not a cheap hobby. I still use my Glowforge almost every day, having a second laser just means peace of mind when it comes to running a business that needs a laser to fill orders.

I can’t really think of anything Glowforge could do for you or anyone else to assure you that the machines aren’t meant to, and don’t typically last only a year. They do come with a year-long warranty, which suggests the failure rate within that time is low. And they started offering an extended warranty not too many years ago, which suggests some third party has decided the failure rate is low enough that they’re willing to insure them for several years.


There are a lot of reasons that machines fail that have little to do with the machine design. At the extreme some folks store them in a garage where heat cold and humidity can give them a short life. As noted above "I just cleaned my Glowforge… " as a lead is expected to be a prelude to disaster. Like high humidity there are a lot of ways the magic smoke can be released leaving only a paperweight behind. There is a lot of electronics involved in the laser tube that can fail and look like the tube itself failed when it has not.

In my own case I thought magnets were a great way to hold material in place forgetting that metal moving fast through a strong magnetic field produced electrical currents that ran counter to the expected designs. That certainly accounted for the death of my first machine but I had to discover it myself and might have killed several in learning instead of just one.

Any CO2 laser is a fantastical beast and like a favored indoor pet suffers from a tough environment more than you will and is much more delicate than almost any other shop tool, so going to a different brand will not escape that sensitivity. The refurb fee (including shipping) is a much better deal than another brand that may have other issues as well. That is why when my second machine died of causes I still have no idea what they were, I did opt for the refurb cost and it has been good for over a year.


I’m an original pre-order Pro owner and my Glowforge still works well. It may be that I am on one end of the bell curve, and OP is on the other. But I do not think it is fair to say that the machines are intended to only live through the warranty period and then die. We have lots of users that have better luck than that.


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