Proof Grade (SOLD OUT) too often

Dear Glowforge,

You guys are out of proof grade way too often! It’s really hindering my business when every time I need to order more products you’re sold out. I know I’m not the only one but holy smokes its happening way way too often. I’m pleading with you to keep things in stock for us all!

DD

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I think the shop is handled by a different company. There isn’t really anything support can do except complain to them.

This opened a ticket for them to do something, but it will likely just get closed.

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The pandemic is having an impact on a lot of businesses; we’ve all been having to learn a bit of patience with ordering stuff, and not just from Glowforge.

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more importantly, if it’s acrylic you’re looking for, the earsaver campaign is probably making it hard for them to keep up. even the big boys were having trouble with some materials early on.

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I have been building banjos to pass time during the pandemic and have never had a problem getting any part or material in 3 days or less. Granted my income is not dependent on making banjos. But what if it did? My suppliers just can’t get stuff.

  1. My local saw mill is out of Cherry and Maple thick lumber and don’t know when they will be receiving more lumber of that type because a lot of local lumber operations have shut down.
  2. Special veneer from my supplier is out of stock.
  3. The company that makes fretboard material has not shipped to my supplier in 6 weeks.
  4. The company that supplies the banjo head has completely shut down for the pandemic.
  5. Geared tuner pegs, at a reasonable price, are out of stock.
  6. Brass tension screws are out of stock. I can get nickel instead but the nickel tension nuts are out of stock.
  7. Harbor Freight took over a month to get me a spray gun to apply the finish, though it was listed as in stock.
  8. I had to order a special metal 12" tension hoop from Canada because my normal NC supplier and only U.S. manufacturer is out of stock.

Pretty much everything that I order now is taking 2 weeks to deliver instead of 2 days. I could go on and on.

Just a little perspective. It’s happening everywhere.

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this has been prior to the pandemic, there has been 3 times prior to the pandemic that I’ve not been able to get materials for weeks. I know that it probably the problem currently but it’s something that seems to be regular far before January this year.

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that I get, i used up all the acrylic I have and made a bunch of those ear savers. But its the basswood that consistently sold out that I’m concerned about!

fair point.

FWIW, I don’t think they’ve ever been perfect on stocking. And they don’t have rush shipping or true commitments to shipping times/processing. I personally wouldn’t rely on GF proofgrade for client business unless I had what I was committing to in stock. that’s just me.

PG is an interesting concept, but in the 2.5 years i’ve been running my GF, i’ve found it to be a little inconsistent (wood finishing) and not deadline reliable. there are other vendors out there and if i was in a business, i’d be looking elsewhere.

my $0.02.

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They were out of Walnut ply and Glass-green clear acrylic for several weeks before the new year.

I’m not complaining, Glowforge is not a business-oriented supplier. I don’t make a living from my toy. For those that do, however, a more business-oriented materials supplier would probably be appropriate.

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You do realize there is a pandemic going on right now? I know you said this started before the pandemic but this is still affecting every single aspect of life. My check engine light came on a few days ago, took it into the dealership yesterday. They informed me that the computer determined one of my fuel injectors is faulty and needs to be replaced. They need to take my engine apart (?) to find out which one but once it is apart they can’t put it back together again and the part is on back order, for the unknown future because the car manufacturers are making ventilators.

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Depends on the make and model. Some are a bit more difficult to get to but it’s generally not too complicated. There is also an additive you pour in your tank to clean them. That would probably be my first shot at troubleshooting an injector issue, it couldn’t hurt to clean all of them.

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There is definitely an issue with keeping certain things in stock on the GF site and it was there before the pandemic (obviously it’s exacerbated now).

There are a million other places to buy acrylic, so if you’re ever in need of that, browse the forum and you’ll find lots of options.

I would definitely try to find a backup source for whatever wood/ply you use if you rely on it for business. I would do that with any material I require, but in this case, you’re relying on a small specialty supplier who has fluctuating supply and demand. You might have to finish the wood yourself, but at least you won’t find yourself stuck for orders. It’s more work, but it should actually be less expensive, so hopefully it all balances out!

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It’s not another company… it’s just us.

I appreciate the problem and I wish we could do better! As you might imagine, there’s compounding challenges right now:

  • Our operations team has been working incredible hours to try and keep our factory going. This has required herculean efforts and many late nights. This started early in the year as the virus hit China and has amplified many-fold since then.
  • Ear Savers has turned into a massive project that’s consumed operations team resources as well. The operations team are the experts at finding and sourcing material - they just aren’t able to work on Proofgrade as much as we’d like right now.
  • There’s a global shortage of acrylic as it’s being used to create barriers in working spaces and other crisis-related activities. Generally our acrylic sizes and colors aren’t being used for that, but many of the plants are producing just thick, clear acrylic for that purpose (and thank goodness they are).
  • Suppliers of other materials like wood, leather, and plywood are experiencing their own crises.

I wish I had an optimistic forecast, but it will be a while before we can stabilize production and ensure consistent stock levels.

I’ll move to Everything Else in case folks want to continue discussing there.

–dan

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For acrylic if I can’t find the proofgrade materials on Glowforge I order from Delvies Plastics on Etsy. I also found unfinished maple and walnut wood in the 1/8" on Etsy too, but from a different shop that was about $10 per board with free shipping. Now it takes time to stain it, but to me it’s worth it and both shops are in the US. The only thing I haven’t been able to find is the basswood and that’s what I use the most of for both of my businesses.

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I’m confused, originally proofgrade was shipped from Tenn. and was switched to TX. if I recall, so the model has evolved?

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No idea what they may or may not have in your area, and because of local restrictions you may find a closed store or only curbside pickup.
But worth checking if there is one in your area.

Never have seen Proofgrade on their web site, so may have to phone to see what they have in stock, (if not open for browsing in your area).

How large were these boards?

They are 11"x18.5" and the shop name is Moth Creative Studio. I just saw they are taking a break for Memorial Day and will be back on Wednesday. I believe they can do custom sizes if you want something bigger.

Dang… $10 for hardwood in that size is impressive.

but it seems reasonable for plywood.