Planning to cancel... eventually

I sat back and thought about it for a while after the last announcement and finding out the new projected date for our unit is March 22nd.

Keeping in mind the unit is coming to Canada via UPS (who are, in my experience, the worst shippers):

  • At this point I see too many posts about damaged in shipping units with some people needing 3 tries to get a working one
  • Posts about units failing or having issues shortly after receiving them
  • Incomplete software and features
  • high cost of returning the unit if there is an issue

These are all just the posts we can see, not what they actually handle in private - maybe we see the worst of it, maybe we don’t.

At this point I’m not convinced the unit will make it a year without an issue that requires it being sent back. Understanding that broken in shipment units will be replaced at Glowforge’s expense, I’m looking purely at a warranty issue.

I’m also assuming Glowforge won’t directly sell me components to repair it on my own since there’s been talk of repair centers (future plans kind of thing). I’d be willing to buy parts and replace them myself even if it voided my warranty - see shipping units back below.

From what I can tell the software and the Glowforge’s abilities aren’t what was pitched in the initial sale. It’s better in some regards, worse in others, and making progress, but it’s not there yet.

Cloud services seem somewhat unstable and will probably get worse as more people get their units. It will eventually get better I’m sure.

An estimated 500 (CAD) shipping each time it doesn’t take long before the preorder price savings is eaten up in shipping costs and down time.

Looking at all this, and as much as we’ve been looking forward to the unit, I think it’s best to cancel and see where Glowforge goes and if we like what we see purchase at full retail price. Perhaps when the unit reliability, cloud, shipping and repairs are all stable and known.

So blah blah blah, why haven’t I cancelled? The Canadian dollar is down compared to when I preordered in October 2015. As of this posting it’s about 3 cents on the dollar difference (1.29 today vs 1.325 in October 2015). Granted that works out to about 84 dollars or something in difference, but I don’t feel like I should lose on money I could have invested, or left in the bank, or used to make items I could have sold for more.

What I need in the next 5 or so months is for the two countries to narrow this gap - that’s not too much to ask, is it? :smiley:


That seems incredibly well thought out. I hope you find as the time grows nearer that the shipping and reliability issues have smoothed out enough that you decide to keep the order though…it’s one of the reasons I think they might have made the decision to put international shipments last - to give them time to get the bugs shaken out of the process on the locals first. (Cheaper for everyone to do it that way.)

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m not sure where you are in Canada, but there are several people who already have there Glowforges up there. They might be willing to show it off, if you ask. Not sure if this will help alleviate some of your grievances, but I do recommend seeing one in person if you never have.

They have said that they would sell laser tubes for replacement. I believe the repair center talk was just people volunteering to help other people out. For other components, I don’t think anyone has asked about purchasing them to repair their own unit. So that would be a question for @dan or @Rita.

Only a small point in your explanation, but to give you a single data point, have had a Pre-Production machine for 8 months without a hint of problems or wear. Also in side communication with a lot of other early owners that have similar stories. You won’t see any good reports in Problems and Support and few discussions about reliability when things work as they should. It’s not human nature to say things are good.


Came here to say the same. I have a VERY early PRU machine and its still working almost exactly like the day I received it. Its very consistent


I’m also up in Canada… not quite in the same boat as far as cancelling. I’m in Edmonton, Canada (about 400 miles north of Montana for reference). There are a handful of orders up in our area.

Regarding shipping: I firmly believe that international orders should have the option of having these items shipped LTL on a pallet/crate. It’s quite clear that with the way UPS is handling things even just in the US, I’m not convinced at all that the longer trips will fare very well. I would believe that from :glowforge:'s perspective dealing with damaged units is already something that they would like to avoid and it’s much more annoying to deal with once you have a border crossing.
We routinely have stuff shipped up to us from the US and we always have better luck when certain courier companies are not involved.
UPS is at the bottom of our list when it comes to handling most things. Frankly, they’re borderline incompetent outside the US. Especially when it comes to their brokerage services.

Software: eh… it’ll get there. They’re working hard on improving things. I’m not ecstatic about where they are so far, but it seems that many people are able to use it to do many things quite well. So I would take certain people’s very loud complaints with a very large grain of salt (but their concerns are also a good way for :glowforge: to continue to push forward with improvements).

Reliability: seems to me that for the most part if the unit wasn’t broken in shipping it would probably not have that many problems in the ‘long term’ as @takitus and @rpegg have mentioned about their testing units. :glowforge: appear to have done a pretty good job on that side of things (minus a very poor design decision IMO which I won’t comment on as that horse has been bludgeoned beyond recognition).


Just thinking to myself here… If GF ships the units UPS to Canada and it arrives broken it causes a lot of grief to the user but the cost of retrieving and sending a replacement is totally on the company. If you need to send an International unit back for warranty replacement at a later date I wonder if you can send it back how ever you want? Of course it might get more expensive (or less).

Since the company has provided this forum platform for us, and even encouraged us to throw our problems on the table in public, I don’t have any doubts about their transparency.

I also have had the benefit of a pre release unit for 6 months, and I pushed it it terms of production. A mechanical device that’s going to fail will most often do it initially, and anyone who has had an issue has had it corrected right away, so I don’t have any questions about customer support either.

I take the reason for your post is to hear different perspectives, so here is mine. You got a real good price on this thing, and since economics is your main concern at this point, I personally would consider reselling the laser as an option and make a profit on it. :sunglasses:

From my experience with this glowforge, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to get involved 2 years ago - and stay with that decision.
All of our circumstances are different, and I wish you luck with yours!

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If the CAD is worth less then you get more back as the refund is in USD. It’s the same here, the GBP is worth less so I will get more of them if I cancel than I paid, less exchange fees and bank fees.

Oddly enough… LTL to Canada is less expensive than UPS/FedEx and more likely to arrive in better condition.
I think the goal of GF is to get the units into their customer’s hands but the evaluation of shipping options could have used a bit more thorough analysis.
Now that said most users can’t receive a package via LTL so that wouldn’t even be an option.

Yes BUT that’s a bad outcome for both parties, which should be avoided if possible… The crux is that the farther something needs to be shipped (or should say the more sorting points the package needs to pass through) the more likely things are to be damaged. I will be paying attention closely to what happens when those units heading to :australia: get shipped (which I believe is before :canada:).

At least I’m seeing that the newest version of the packaging is holding up better… But maybe GF needs to take a page out of VanMoof’s book and print a picture of a TV on the side of the box.

Though that might confuse shippers as TV’s are shipped vertically…


Interestingly enough, one of the only units that arrived with all 4 shipping handles ( I think it was all 4) and a box in pristine shape was shipped to Hawaii. Think shipping most of the way via aircraft is a good thing.


Us internationals might actually have a leg up in that respect that the packages might get treated a bit better because of that… One can hope anyway.
I still don’t understand how those handles keep coming off… They use similar handles for shipping flatscreens and those are always super secure.


Thanks for a well-thought out path to a decision. You have some time to collect more data points, but the uncertainty of having a painless delivery, International shipping logistics and realities and long-term success in using the Glowforge might indicate that for peace of mind in the short term, excepting the vagaries of currency fluxuation, cancelling might be the better option. At least you have some time to figure it out.

Uncertainties about non-catastrophic losses that lead to death by a thousand cuts is a puzzle.

Non-catastrophic as in, a tube fails, under warranty, can get replaced but…any other complications adds up pretty quickly to not worth the effort, such as worrying about the random destruction of a Glowforge during shipping.

Hard to make a clear cost/benefit analysis with such little data collected over such a short time. Sticking it out can be justified and lead to a happily ever after. All the concerns can be addressed in some way, but that little feeling of dread that you have bet on the wrong horse in a neck and neck race that only will disappear when you collect the winnings…


Yeah, our couriers in Australia appear to be a LOT less… special… than your US ones.

I sent 3D printer kits all over the world with UPS and a lot to the US with UPS express saver. It only took about 2 days to anywhere in the US and there was very little damage. They did only weigh 10kg though so easy for one person to carry.

UPS were out preferred courier believe it or not, but a lot of US customers were wary of using them. I think the express service is probably a lot better because it goes by air instead of overland. So overseas shipments might have a much better success rate.


The boxes are being stored/transported long side up and instead of picked up, dragged so they’re being torn out by door jams, steps, and the like. Also, they are not by design meant to be lifted “out” as they are being grabbed from a vertical position. Essentially UPS is turning the boxes on the side and pulling outwards on a handle meant for upwards load(upwards being relative to the box’s/Gf’s top).


As some one who has handled freight I can tell you when you have to move weight from A to B, the first thing you look for is a handle.


Can’t blame you. I’m in canada but right beside the border so it is easier for me to return for warranty. If I wasn’t I would also cancel and buy a proper laser.

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I’ll say it.
Things are good.
Screw that. Things are great! This machine is fantastic! SO glad we bought it. Hands down the coolest thing I’ve gotten in years! Problem-free? Nope. But close enough for now! Advances appear to be happening very frequently. Meanwhile, I don’t feel any limitations or lack of features or really anything negative. It just works. And works brilliantly.


Sounds like you are setting yourself up for disappointment then.