Longevity of the Machine

I run my pro roughly 8 hours a day and I’ve had it for about a year. I’m starting to really worry about when it will stop working. I am really contemplating a second machine but I noticed they don’t sell a tube and I’m worried about making the investment when it seems like the other companies have all the replacement parts. I love how compact my GF is since I run it out of my house and how user friendly. How long can I expect my tube to last at this pace and is there an alternative place to purchase a tube if it stops working? I’d feel a lot better about buying a second machine if I knew I could purchase parts.

The estimate when the machine was designed was 2 years of heavy use. I would say if you’re actually running it for 8 full hours every day, that is “extremely” heavy use.
The tube is bespoke, but GF will replace it for a very reasonable fee, which includes shipping. You can find that figure if you search the forum. You would be hard pressed to find better value, even with machines that allow you to change the tube yourself.

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Part of what you’re paying for with the Glowforge approach is not having to do this… merely 47 steps…

https://rabbitlaserusa.com/Manuals/BeamAlignment.html

Or this…

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He’s not wrong, it’s $500 for a new tube which is a deal considering the effort involved. The part that is unreasonable is the turnaround time. You can expect to be without the glowforge for three weeks or more, depending on your location (shipping time was about a week for me in Georgia) and their workload.

So yeah consider the downtime aspect when you make your decision about a second machine or not.

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Oh that makes me feel much better. Do I just contact them for information as it’s not on their website list of parts. I’d be happy to purchase one now just so that I have it! I wish I had done that with the lenses, they’ve been sold out for a while so every time I go to clean mine I’m terrified I will drop it.

I was looking at the Boss lasers but I’m just unsure of where I could put it! I love my GF but I was super worried about down time and replacement parts.

When I did it, my power supply had died. I decided that I’d rather get it done at the time than go through another downtime so asked them to add it on to my power supply repair.

I’d just email support if you have questions about it.

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Thank you! I feel a lot better about purchasing a second machine knowing I can fix the one I currently have when the time comes.

Replacing the tube at home was once in the cards, but they determined there were too many variables and nixed that. The only option for tube replacement is as the others mentioned, sending it in and having it refurbished. Had to do with the high power cabling and alignment, as far as I remember.

It’s been said that the repair company will also repair anything else they deem needing it, been a while but I seem to recall having someone comment on tube replacement with misc. repair also being on the invoice. I have for sure seen it for other parts, so I’d be sure to explicitly say that you only require the tube if you go this route, and you’re sure that’s all you want replaced. This is the reason a lot of people have invoices for upwards of 1k and more.

If you’re using the machine this much, though, I’d recommend saving a bit more and grabbing a different machine that you can be more confident in, that’s what I would do, anyway.

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Somehow I missed that… :astonished:

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Ugh okay. The thought of learning a new machine and software is daunting but I may have to.

I know several people here have two machines, just in case one goes down. Same software, same skills, same files… just have a backup for their business. I image they run them both too (but you would have to ask them).

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I’m one of those :grinning:

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I’m pretty sure it’s still an option. Nixing it raised a dustbowl that got ugly fast. They backed down and Dan said they’d sell the tube for the same price as having them do it ($500 with shipping) but they’d provide only the tube, no instructions.

Except for the time involved, it’s a no-brainer to let them do it. With the turnaround time it becomes a different business decision. Changing a tube isn’t all that hard even with the voltages involved. It’s the secret sauce alignment process that GF does to create its cloud maintained calibration metrics on your machine that matters.

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Yes, I recall voicing my opposition along with all the others. That was an example that bolstered my faith in the company, that they responded to their customers.

Yeah, I have been pondering that. “How can I pulse this thing?” is my only wall, and it’s not insurmountable.

Nothing but time on my hands here… coupled with the technical experience I managed to gather, getting into the guts of my machine is an attractive option to occupy myself. I get an education and a more intimate relationship with my precious - maybe a tool or two in the process. :crazy_face:

My only reservation with having it accomplished is handing it over to the transport gods.
Your point however is well taken.

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I’m wondering if it’s that critical now that they’ve got the calibration routine. Regardless of how mucked it is vs their factory records, wouldn’t the calibration create the customized parameters needed by their software that cancels out an delta between the factory calibration and whatever we did to it by replacing the tube ourselves?

But then they have issues with getting the passthrough working on some machines and I think there must be something I’m missing.

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Exactly. This kind of tool should exist to allow repair, IMHO.

Software that enables the calibration and alignment. The company pioneered the concept of a connected tool… :thinking:

To the best of my knowledge, it’s got little to do with software power calibration, and everything to do with optical alignment.

The beam is only a few mm wide, and has to travel up to around 40" or so. Like sighting a 'scope on a rifle, very small adjustment can make a huge difference at distance. No 'scope will be zero’d from the factory, and no laser tube will be either.

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I would keep an eye out for the folk who blame the Glowforge for their wifi problems and get fed up and sell their GF cheap. It could still have warranty and you have a nice extra machine. I have been tempted but do not have the volume to justify it.

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