Preventable Quality Concerns

So I’ve been holding back on the forums to avoid backlash or a debate which is a natural occurrence in any forum. I think this is really something I like to make my thoughts known.

I work in the same industry as FLEX. FLEX is a great company and they know how to build. They are a great partner for Glowforge. For anyone doubting FLEX ability you shouldn’t. I wish I could say bad things about them but it’d be biased :wink: This experience is where I’m drawing my comments below.

No it’s not a real Problems and Support issue as I do not have my machine. I just want a staff to read my thoughts and hopes they bring it back to their team. Maybe you have, but at least I have comfort to know that I said my piece.

Now that we had a few weeks of watching and reading about people experience actual production units. I’m concern to read about the preventable issues as the end customer. I don’t lurk and ready every topic but these I saw more then once. I’m sure there’s more:

  1. The machine has fingerprints that wasn’t cleaned properly
  2. Another account name on the machine
  3. The door is not moving smoothly
  4. Missing handles on the packaging <-- more if I ever need to do a warranty return, wouldn’t I need all 4 to ship back?

The first two is an easy fix that as part of the production procedure the unit must be clean and account names must be cleared before sending into packaging. The door movement issue needs to have some sort of spec that prevents grinding. If there is and it’s grinding at the end user, maybe that’s a shipping issue that knocked the door out of Glowforges spec.three are something that can be eliminated during QA. This isn’t a cosmetic issue, I consider this a warranty one as the grinding could mean premature wearing out of gears.

I know that shipping damage is on UPS but on a piece of equipment like this, I’m surprised how severe some of it is. I’m confident that FLEX’s logistics is working with UPS to scream a professional version of WTF as it’s costing time and money.

I’m sure there’s more concerns, I’ll mention it when it comes to me.

For all of us who has been patiently waiting, we all deserve the unit that is pristine out of the box. I know I will annoy a lot of owners by typing this but I rather wait to get a perfect, clean unit and all moving parts move as the user expects.


No excuse for 1 and 2. While I recall one machine being sent back for a bad lid, it appears many of the lid issues are the machine not sitting flat. As regards 4, if glowforge is going to insist on four handles for warranty returns they need to put extras in the box. Continue trying to work with UPS, but when your customers are playing “how many handles did I get” it’s clearly an issue and it can easily be remedied with extras. If not, they should update the manual.

My box had two handles, but one of the handles had a busted tab. So 1.5 handles?


My understanding is that the lack of handles can be addressed by the use of a strong packing tape instead, if returns are required. :slightly_smiling_face:

(The parts they want us to hang on to are the red bits and the foam.)


And the box.


True! :smile:


Only my personal perspective.
I agree the final cleaning needs attention. There is never a second chance to make a first impression. The initial shine is beautiful, but that wont last long due to the nature of what a laser does. It is only cosmetic, but the customer’s impression shouldn’t be impacted by an easily corrected issue.

To me, all the name on the account means is my machine was tested and passed. Support can correct that easily. Wouldn’t bother me at all.

I am convinced from my experience with this pre-release over 6 months that the door alignment issue is a direct reflection of the surface it is sitting on. I discovered this by moving the unit from one surface to another and immediately noticed how the lid was affected. The case is not stone rigid.
Dan has confirmed the final fit is accomplished on a micro flat stone slab, who’s function is to present a known benchmark for level.

I agree the packaging could use an upgrade in the quality of tape used to seal the box, and also used to help retain the handles. There are fiberglass reinforced and other tapes that would not fail with the frequency we have seen.

Lastly, it is acknowledged the software is still beta - so the homing routine “grinding” along with a slew of other issues are yet to be addressed.
The company made the command decision to ship the product with the software incomplete to cut our wait (or we would all still be waiting) so thinking of a beta release as defective is premature.

Not annoyed in the slightest, you are welcome to express your concerns and defer receipt of your glowforge, but I and I’m sure many here would not choose to wait until the software was polished in light of the fact the software can be pushed to us when ready. In the mean time, I and others have had a wonderful time getting to know our new lasers. :grin:


Flex being sloppy with the things we can see makes me think they’re probably also being sloppy with the things we can’t see.


True. I wouldn’t be worried so much about accounts not being removed at the end of the QA process as what other parts of the checklist did they skip/ignore? I’ve gotten into this argument more than once at work, “What’s it matter, it’s fine.” “If you can’t be bothered with the easy stuff how do I know you did the harder things?”


This is why you need to tell them. If my company is building this and Glowforge found out this way we are finding out, my account guy would be mad at us. Well not mad but as Glowforge they can make make it part of the spec before packaging to clean properly. I’m wondering why no cling plastic on the glass though to protect it.

Mind you I can say this but it’s easy to say when we aren’t the ones building at a expedited schedule


I didn’t think of that. I would think the frame wouldn’t allow that type of Flex (I’m not an engineer)

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Isn’t it ironic that FLEX builds the machine that potentially has alignment/lid problems due to flex of the case? :grin:


The frame/case being plastic means there is no reasonable way to make it stiff enough over such a large area to stop the flexing. By the time tou could do it with plastic you would be better off building it out of metal anyways.


I just realized I have access to a granite table that is big enough to throw the glowforge on… I guess ill be doing some testing if mine ever shows up.


Also reported more than once are “spare” parts discovered inside the machine, and fingerprints preinstalled on the “do not touch” window on the laser head.


I blindly assumed it was a metal frame with plastic around it. Thinking about it makes way more sense the frame is the plastic. Especially since all photos and videos I seen actually shows that all this time. (Feeling so sheepish)


Well that would have been the better way to do it, so you would be forgiven for thinking that!

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This drastically glosses over the issue and benefits of the plastic handles.

Glowforge already ships the boxes with an arguably decent amount of packing tape on the box.

The handles provide protection against a different set of shear forces the boxes are subjected to, independent of the packing tape.

Then you have handles in place, the stresses allows for better support when lifting heavy objects…


If you rely solely on tape, you can hope strong tape is enough but without adequate plastic handles, you see something more like this:


In that situation, the only thing preventing the bottom half of the box from separating from the top is the thin adhesion of tape / glue / surface cardboard on either the bottom or box lid.

Granted, most people will pick up the “bottom orientation” (not to be confused with the “proper” bottom) of the package and offer it support while lifting. But the choice to use thinner lightweight tape was more in line with keeping dust and debris out of the box than it was intended to provide load-bearing support to a 72lb laser cutter.

So yes. Count me as one of those who think Glowforge should be throwing in four $0.15 plastic handles if they know they regularly go missing during shipment.


Allow me to clarify…for those concerned about voiding their warranty if they have to ship a unit back without all four plastic handles, I don’t believe it will necessarily be an immediate voiding of the warranty if you use a strong packaging tape instead, and tape the handle areas closed. If you have to do a warranty return, Support is going to get in touch with you and tell you what you can do.



Dan and/or support have already said to use tape to secure the handholds if the handles are missing.


I think the slew of reports of smudges, fingerprints, etc. came around the time they had the delay in receiving packing materials.

I think it is probable that they were focused on speed packing these up, and some of the extra handling was what dinged some of them.