Laser not firing - Again

I was so excited when I first saw the Glowforge. A tool for precision laser cutting and engraving that I can operate from home. How cool is that. It was a ton of money for me, especially at the time but I decided to preorder a pro model just the same back in 2015. In 2016, I added an Air filter to my order and upgraded from a basic model to a pro thinking about how convenient that would be, and the wondrous things I would be able to create!

I was disappointed having to wait for my machine, and that the wait just kept getting longer and longer and longer. In 2018 I finally received my machine, and it was awesome. Sure I had to drive down to the USA to pick it up (I’m in Canada) and upon getting home I found out that only 1 of 2 boxes had shipped, but that got resolved. The air filter had been delayed, but I could vent it out the window, no harm.

Well, the air filter just kept getting delayed, and after almost a year of having to operate without it, It became clear that it really wasn’t necessary, so I had it refunded.

Then in June 2019 my machine stopped working. The cable that ran under the light tube somehow had become damaged and was sparking when operating. So, I took a day off work, drove my machine down to the USA and had it exchanged with another one (It’s about 5 hours round trip). It was a bit of a job. I had to drop off the broken one at one FedEx location, and pick the new one up from a UPS location, but I got it done, got home and the machine worked. I was able to continue with my projects.

This machine worked great for a while - maybe even better than the first one. Then in November 2020 the laser tube stopped lighting, and the laser stopped firing. It’s not like the machine was even used that much - often sitting unused for weeks at a time. It was weird, I had no idea why it would just stop working. I reached out to support and they told me there was nothing that could be done and that the machine would have to be sent back… and it would cost me $500 USD for the new machine (roughly $650 CAD). Unfortunately I had projects that clients and already ordered that I had to fulfill. I was sort of stuck. What could I do? Yea, I was struggling for money thanks to COVID but I had to hope this would be worth the money. I didn’t want to have to refund the orders I already had placed! I had the new machine shipped to my door this time which was far more convenient - and the only option given that the borders were (and still are) closed for travel. I was told the refurbished machine would only have a 90 day guarantee (Which is weird if the machine is refurbished, it should have a full warranty), but really, what were the odds I’d have a third machine break on me right?

Now today, I went to do a test engrave and I couldn’t believe it. The exact same problem that happened with the last machine, happened with this one. Again, I haven’t even turned the machine on in the last 2 weeks. The laser tube isn’t lighting, the print head is moving, but there’s no laser coming out. And yes, I cleaned everything, tried to print a gift of good measure, and everything else I tried the first time, and to no surprise - it still doesn’t work.

To say I’m shocked is an understatement. I… I don’t even know what to do at this point. I certainly haven’t made $650 CAD in profit with my machine over the last 9 months. There’s really not way I can afford to do it again - Especially given that I have zero trust that I won’t be back in the same situation again soon enough, and especially since this doesn’t seem to be an isolated case - but in fact happening to several people - which really makes me think it’s a design flaw or a manufacturing issue.

I think this means it’s time to try and sell the inevitable replacement machine and cut my losses. I’ll look into alternative options with other companies, but the biggest issue with a lot of them is - they aren’t suitable for home use.

Do you know what the verdict for the last issue was? Was it a tube or a power supply? If it was a tube, it may be that you are simply using the tube to the end of its life. If it was a power supply you likely have a problem with the power delivery to the outlet you are using the machine on.

While it is rare to have multiple failures, some people have experienced it. I always assume that two failures of the same mode indicate something local to the use environment that is causing or contributing to the failure. It could be dirty power causing the power supply to fail prematurely, it could be just that you use the machine enough to run the tube until it fails.

Either way, support will be along to assist. I suggest that if you are using the machine enough to lose a tube and aren’t making enough to replace the tube that your prices are way too low.

As I recommend to everyone using this unit as a business staple, make sure you have a backup plan for when it goes down. Just remember that advice applies to any business relying on equipment because it’s just a matter of time until the equipment goes down.

If I were to guess, I’d say there’s maybe 20 hours of use cutting time on the machine. I’d be surprised if there was more than 30. I only run it 2-3 days a month usually - I just don’t have that much business. I would certainly hope the tube is supposed to last several hundred hours of use.

More like 10,000 hours - so yeah, something else is going on in your environment :frowning:

I haven’t got a clue what it could be. :frowning:


I’m so sorry to hear about your trouble with your past Glowforges. I can see that you’ve also reached out via email and that our support team has contacted you there. To avoid duplicate communication and expedite your process, I’m going to go ahead and close this topic.