Is this device really worth for the price? Do I need to keep it or return it?

Since I have been noticing that there are many posts on the Problems and Support section, I wonder what the actual users think about this device. How often do you face issues? How much money do you spend to maintain this device? What is the average life of this device? Is it worth to pay the price?

Unfortunately, my device stopped working at the very first printing and does nothing. I am not sure if I have to pay for shipping to repair or GF will pay for that. But, if they say I have to pay for shipping, that will make me really sad. Furthermore, I am so afraid that this kind of issue can happen frequently especially after the short warranty.

Now, I have to decide whether I will keep this device or refund. Also, I don’t understand their return policy. They say I need to pay for shipping and 10% restock price even though I didn’t do anything wrong. Additionally, I spent several hundred dollars to buy other base materials, which will be useless without this device. I was really excited and spent lots of time to think about what I can do with this. BUT, I am really disappointed and I don’t know what to do now.

Frankly speaking, I fully regret that I bought this. But, I also don’t want to waste another several hundred dollars for nothing (shipping, restocking). If you are in my case, what would you do? Please help me.

If you just bought it, it’s covered under warranty, including shipping. But it does take a few days for support to arrange for another unit if one is needed, so just wait until you hear from them. They will explain what happens next via email with you.

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Knock on wood, but I have had this particular unit for a year now and it fires up and works flawlessly every time.

I’ve been with this project for almost three years and have read most of the forum posts in that time. There are issues. Glowforge will make it right. The communication lags in support can seem problematic. The Problems and Support topic skews things to make it look like everyone is having problems.

One thing is that so often the support topics get closed and we don’t get to know the rest of the story, especially the successful resolution, or not. Folks don’t come back on and let everyone know that the issue is fixed.

I recognize that the product isn’t fully mature. There are production issues that have cropped up, such as lids detaching and the lid wire harness being problematic.

I hope they get you back to lasering right away. Keep us posted.


Thanks for the information. That sounds good.

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Thank you for sharing your experience. Since this company is a startup, I didn’t expect too much. I am also a medical device engineer for a startup company, I totally understand. But, at least I was expecting better than what I got.

Good for you that you are using GF for a year without an issue. I hope that will be my case, too.

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My guess is that with what must be thousands of units out there what looks at first like a lot of problems is a tiny percentage of the number of units. It is also increasingly the case that the issue is either simple or something like a wifi signal. Some early folks had may issues and perhaps several replacements, but with each replacement a vulnerability was discovered and acted upon. In addition many early issues have been addressed by software changes. I can look back now and see that magnets interfered with operations enough to damage the equipment, but nobody knew that then, and the accuracy of placement is magical compared to when I first received mine.

The replacement I received when the original finally bit the dust is very much improved from that first dispersal, so there have been many hardware improvements as well.


I had to get mine replaced due to what I suspect was a manufacturing issue that lead to misalignment. The first machine was one of the first ones off the line - I bought it the first day it was offered for preorder - and it performed perfectly. It was only when I did some precision work with thick material that I found the misalignment. The replacement machine doesn’t have the misalignment and has been rock solid for me. I have never had any of the problems that others have reported, GF has covered every replacement and shipping under warranty, and has been responsive and supportive when I had had to contact them. To me, this is one of the more reliable and useful tools in my arsenal.


Ditto what others have said. I had to get a warranty replacement (for something that I now think was actually user error - but they couldn’t fix it so they replaced the machine) and the replacement has been rock solid since. Considering they sold over 10k units their issue rate seems to be pretty low, especially considering the complexity of the machine!


I’ve had mine for 103 weeks to the day today. No issues. I know people on the forum who use it more heavily, and have had theirs longer, without issues. There is also someone who had three out of box failures in a row (iirc), but the fourth machine has been the charm. He does some amazing work.

It seems like if the unit fails it fails early, as in under warranty. They will all fail (non-wear parts) at some point, knock on wood, but how long until original units start to fail is the big question.

As regards the restocking fee, it is not an uncommon practice. The theory is you bought it, changed your mind and now we are stuck with something that has to be sold as refurbished and not new. It costs them money to refurb a unit even if it is essentially new. Agree or not, that is the idea.


Remember people tend to post only the things that go wrong… I love my unit, even though I have had some issues, most related to wifi, another turned out was my error–lost track of a magnet and it was stuck behind the print head causing it to be stuck in “focusing”… I hope you try to go through more trouble shooting to figure out the problem with your unit before giving up on it!

I do relatively simple work compared to most, and have a very long list of things I want to try!

One of the biggest positives for the GF is the community–not only for sharing projects, but how-to’s and also assisting with trouble shooting, many times faster than the official GF support team can respond.

But if you don’t want to rely on the Cloud or a wifi connection to run your machine, then GF is not the best option.


Luck be with me…I’ve had my Glowforge for 2 years and 4 months and not one bit of trouble. I am aware that many are not so lucky, but for every one of them, there is someone like me. Please give it a bit more of your time…it’s so worth it.


Ok, I hope GF is in pretty much developed stage now. And no more big issues like what I faced with the replaced one.

Thanks, I got an email from GF and they will send me the shipping label.

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That is true. The laser part looks really complicated.

As you said, if a defective device fails early, hopefully that won’t take about six months.

I am totally fine with Cloud and WiFi.

BTW, could you explain that is the issue of the magnet? I don’t get it.
Thanks in advance.

I think all of the comments including yours are really valuable inputs to change my mind.
I will use it and do what I planned. Thanks


It is not hard to imagine once you start. These days the connection between electricity and magnetism are almost as natural as knowing water is wet, that moving electrons make a magnetic field and metals moving in magnetic field move electrons, Also a neo-magnet that grabs iron strongly will also have a sizable powerful field above it as well that extends some distance. And then you are moving the head with its fans and electronics rapidly back and forth through that field and the fan especially spinning merrily until that field is encountered.

For the magnet, there is more to the physics than I can explain as to why they interfere with the head when one is close to the head, or the path of the laser when cutting/etching. There are others that can explain what exactly does happen between the magnetic field, light beams, and the electronics…

I used to sometimes set magnets on top the powder coated black arm between jobs (which is aluminum), and apparently I missed one and next time the arm moved, it slid over to & stuck to the silver support for the print head (at least it’s silver/highly polished on my unit), and my unit never went past “focus” stage on its own. Once I saw it and removed it, all was fine again.

The magnet is one she was using to hold material to the bed. Somehow it got stuck to the laser head.

One issue is they monitor the fan behind the laser head (not the one on the laser head, two fans in that area) and a strong magnetic field tells the sensor the fan is not working. They probably have other sensors in the laser head that a magnet stuck to it would also throw off. Moral of the story: don’t place magnets on the laser head.