Problems with Ribbon Not Fitting into the Printhead

I just unpacked my Glowforge Pro by following along with GF instructions online. As I attempted to fit ribbon in the printhead, I noticed that pins are not lining up with groves in ribbon. It is not snug or just will not fit. I feel sick.

The ribbon grooves won’t line up with the pins. Check that all the pins are straight and aren’t bent. If you have any that are bent, take a photo and upload here. If they are all straight, the black part of the white ribbon will slide into the fitting on the head and click into place. Once it clicks into place it is where it needs to be, even if it isn’t perfectly snug.
If this doesn’t answer your question, please upload photos showing what you are referring to so that those attempting to assist you see what you are seeing.
Also, consider writing your request as you would speak it; eliminating words often makes it harder to understand what you are trying to communicate.


The pins on the end look bent to me.

The little black piece on the ribbon is loose and does not fit into printhead.

It is difficult to tell for sure because the pins aren’t quite in focus but, it looks like at least a couple of them are bent.

In similar situations with other equipment, I have had luck getting pins straightened back out using a very small regular screwdriver. The trick is to be slow, gentle and methodical. If you can get them close enough to where they should be, you may be able to get it reconnected. Use a soft touch and, do not proceed with turning the machine on unless you are sure it is connected correctly.

Note that the print head should be replaceable without replacing the whole machine, if it comes to that.

If you can be patient, Glowforge staff will be along to give you their official recommendation.


Also: note this is not a unique problem. If you want lots of suggestions from other people’s experiences, a search on “bent pins” will get you some.

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Thanks for your help. With the amount of money paid, I would rather GF replace the ribbon and print head.

The ribbon can not be replaced by the user. Requires the unit to be sent back. But fortunately the ribbon cable is not likely to be damaged. The head can be replaced. Normally a $400+ cost if not in warranty. It would be almost impossible for the unit to leave the factory that way. Each head must be calibrated to the specific base unit before shipment. Guess it’s possible something pressed against the connector pins during shipment. You would know if the head was out of the secure foam shipping placement. But also not saying you did anything stupid. It happens.
Just be careful when trying to push the ribbon cable into the head connector once you get the situation resolved. My experience means I would rather straighten the pins than spend a couple weeks waiting for a new head that needs to go through recalibration but that’s just me. Wait for Support’s guidance.


From what I can tell by enlarging the pictures you posted, it appears that you’ve bent some of the pins by attempting to insert the connector at an angle or upside-down. This is an issue that can be remedied easily by realigning the bent pins using a pair of tweezers or a small diameter tube, like the ink reservior from a ball-point pen.

Use the tweezers or tube to gently bend the pins to their upright position. This shouldn’t require a lot of force, just some gentle nudging in the appropriate direction for each of the affected pins. Once the pins have been straightened, carefully align the connector, making sure that it is straight inline with the receptacle mounted on the printer head circuit board, then press inward until the locking tab snaps into place.


The black plastic latch on the white ribbon looks broken off. (Wait for Support to get in contact with you about what’s next. I believe they will need to replace it.)

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Hi @collette_rogers. I’m sorry to see that you recently received your new Glowforge with some issues with the printer head pins bent, and discovered the connector clip on the printer head cable is the causing some trouble with this. To get you back up and printing, I’d like to follow up with you on this through email since it will require confirmation of your private information. Once you receive my email can you send back a reply confirming it has been received? I will keep this Community thread open until you have been able to confirm that and will look for your response through email soon. Thanks!

This communication is confirming my email. What do you need from me regarding this issue?

Hi @collette_rogers. Thank you for confirming receipt of my email sent earlier. I just sent you a response through email, so I’ll go ahead and close this thread and work through email for the rest of this process. Thank you again.