Melted Head?

Our Glowforge is about a month old. Tonight I did a batch of cuts to 1/8th acrylic that was to take about 3 hours. Within the last few minutes of the job when it was cutting it suddenly stopped and the yellow light was flashing. Eventually, the light stopped flashing and sound of the fan started to die down… so i just let it be, but the glowforge app was just saying it was focusing.

After about 30 minutes I turned it off, and unplugged the unit, thinking I should probably clean it. I pulled off the head gently, and turned it over only to find the lens inside the head… sideways??? wth? So the piece to which the lens attached (white plastic) looks slightly burnt/melted around the edges :frowning:

The lens fits back in again, we cleaned everthing up, and while the melted plastic does not obstruct the center of the lens, it is definitely visible. Everytime I try to access I get “focusing the head of your glowforge”.

I have an active business/website taking in several dozen orders a week, I cannot afford to be without this machine - please help!

You can also see one of those lens things on the bottom used to be clear and has now turned white… ugh… this is awful… I need support ASAP!

Okay, good for you, I was just suggesting that you take those photos exactly.

Bad news though - I think that’s going to mean a trip back to the mothership for repair, so plan on it being out of commission for several weeks. Don’t try to run it again, you might cause further damage.

You might want to also remove the mirror and take a look at it. Instructions for doing that are here:

Cleaning the Mirror

Sorry for the bad news. :neutral_face:


You are going to need to wait for support. They will determine if you need replacement parts and help you set up an order or determine if it is under warranty. This topic has set up a ticket with support and they will reply once they are able to do so, on a first come, first served basis from what I can tell.

Meanwhile, use this time to set up your backup plan. As with every business that depends on a tool, you have to be prepared for a failure. Your business is the only entity responsible for your obligations, so you must have a plan in place for when things don’t go right. This might be a mechanical failure, lack of material in stock, sickness, etc. You should have either a second machine, another service to send your customers to, or a plan to communicate to your customers what is happening, about how long it might take, and what to do about their orders in the meantime. You may be surprised at how many choose to wait until you have the machine active again.

You may be able to work with other Glowforge owners to take your customers who don’t want to wait. Or you may find another laser service, or save up for a second machine. Just remember that Glowforge isn’t responsible for your business decisions or deadlines. They will get the machine repaired or replaced or will replace parts as needed, though it will be on their timeframe. You didn’t purchase a repair or replacement service with a guaranteed turn around, so you will have to be patient and wait for support to get back to you and on their repair schedule.

Good luck, and let me know if I can help. I may be able to take some of your customers’s orders depending on material stock.


The mirror is fine. Several weeks??? Clearly the unit is non-operational, can you not express ship me a replacement? Given the cost of machine, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable ask. Surely you can’t mean sending the entire machine back?

and I don’t mean a replacement of the entire machine, I mean of the head unit.

@Jules and I are not Glowforge support. We are owners like you. You have posted to an open forum and we are trying to assist you as best we can.

If you don’t want help from other owners in the future, I suggest you email support directly as that will bypass the forum. Just don’t do both as that will slow a support response.

When you are looking at the forum, look for the GF staff tag - that will differentiate between staff and other users of the forum.


I don’t work for Glowforge, I’m another customer telling you what has happened in past cases where the head was melted. They generally need to go in for repair.

It’s not safe to have a laser beam firing out of alignment, and that’s what happened there. I’m just giving you a head’s up so you can get started on planning for it to be down for a while.

(And no, I believe the whole machine has to go in, they will not ship out a new head, as far as I know. It’s not user replaceable, due to the base calibrating that has to happen specific to the machine.)

I might be wrong, but plan for a delay anyway, just in case I’m not.


Sorry guys, I assumed you were support. I’ll wait to hear from them. Yes, I understand the idea of having a backup, but literally have had the GF for a month, almost made enough profit to pay it off, and were already looking ahead to a second machine in the future, honestly things took off so quick that we haven’t had time to catch up… having this go south now is just really bad timing. :frowning:


We all know what assumptions do, but no harm done! :wink:

My advice is to have your backup ready for both your machines going down, if you get a second. Also, keep in mind that your work will expand to fit your machines if you let it. That means if you have a second, you will pull in more work, meaning it is no longer a reliable backup. I started with one 3D printer, I now run eight. At times I have had them all running at the same time, meaning no backup. I don’t do that anymore! Plan on downtime for maintenance, downtime for repairs, and downtime for you. Make sure you have thought about all of this before it happens so that you can address it smoothly and with the least amount of stress for you. That will allow you to keep going without panic when things do fail.


Depending on where you are located, you might be able to farm out some of your jobs locally…I think @ben1 mentioned it above and several folks have saved their customer relationships by doing it, (if not making much of a profit on the individual jobs), but it’s a good option to consider once you’ve heard from support.


If there are no GFers, try shopping around for a makerspace in your area. Many will have some sort of laser you can use,

There are also services like Ponoko, which aren’t cheap, but may be worth salvaging a customer relationship.


Unfortunately, it looks like your unit is experiencing an issue that we can’t resolve remotely. I want you to have a reliable unit, so I’m recommending we replace this one. I’ll be in touch via email to sort out the details. I’m so sorry about the bad news.

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