Question about "innovation"

Why doesn’t GF invest time and money into improving their current machines and updating their customer service and tech support instead of trying to innovate and add features that nobody asked for? Serious question.

I have the same question for automobile manufacturers.


At least you can go to a dealership an talk to someone. Meanwhile we wait weeks for a response to simple questions. Doesn’t make any sense to me considering how much money has been thrown at GF over the years.

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There have been a great many improvements in the couple of years I have had my machine and I expect many more both in and out of premium (premium being different folks paid for by membership, from the team that has been improving the machine.) with a little perspective the view looks very different.

Every business I deal with has had trouble, and delivery is slow, I understand this has a lot to do with all the hospitals losing their patients as well.


You’re talking about innovation. Nothing they have done has improved the machine. I have gone through several machines over the last year and a half and they are all the same. They haven’t improved anything. Nothing functionally is different. They have only added features. They haven’t improved the function of already existing features, thus improving the machine at its core level.

If you had a car maker who had an issue with their engines and they continued to make the same car but put fancy new wheels on the new model with the same engine you wouldn’t say the car maker improved the car.

I believe the innovations they have added were features people had asked for. As for improving their current machines, I am not sure we would recognize that that had happened. We know they changed the black lid cable to be longer, but other things might have happened that we don’t know about. I suspect that they have learned a great deal over the past three + years of owners reporting machine failures, and they are addressing these issues.


The first time I opened the GFUI there was no way to measure the design. I complained and within a few days, there were scales top and side. Now size and placement is accurate to 0.01. And that is just one area. At one point every time a corner was turned even at very low power, there would be a hole. that has stopped.


What would you like to have seen them improve with the machines? Without requiring them to be sent back in?


They could have improved al kinds of things with the software, like making usable pass through software. Also they could hire more staff to field calls and answer emails so they could resolve issues quickly. There a lot that could be done. There also a lot that could have been improved on newer versions of the machine. No need to send machines back. But I’ve been through 9 and every version has been almost identical. Would have expected more improvements over a year and a half.

A dealership is not the manufacturer. Going in to talk to a dealership might get you a replacement part for something that has failed, or has been recalled… but it is pretty unlikely to result in the dealer calling the manufacturer and getting them to re-design or upgrade your motor. If you ask a question on a GM forum, the likelihood of the CEO of GM responding directly to you is… a fair bit less than here.

You shouldn’t have to wait weeks for a response… else perhaps it may not have been a simple question.

The response time from GF staff has actually gotten faster over the years. The pass-through software has massively improved over the original… although you may not notice that as you say you have only had it for a year and a half. It’s still far from perfect, but it is functional and usable.

Other improvements over time have also given us: increased head speeds for non-laser-fire movements like homing and moving between jobs; manual “set focus” placement; position & scale; lid-camera calibration; various UI improvements; saved settings; design export; print-pause; improved temp-sensor operation; increased max print-size/time; faster bed-image loading…

Do I want more? Of course! Would I like to see certain missing elements from the initial crowdfunding advertising finally make their way into the machine? You betcha. But functionality improvements have come, and it sure seems that they will continue to come for some time.

I am not one of the people who asked GF to add design features to the UI. I don’t think there should be any. I sure got tired of reading posts from people freaking out over the fact that this production tool wasn’t also a full-featured design suite. Glowforge initially didn’t want to add design functions. Enough people asked, begged, ranted, and complained, that they finally gave in.


Interesting comments regarding their machines! I am waiting for my GF to arrive and am looking forward to learning how to use it. While talking to one of the sales reps, we discussed the lack of phone support which is a biggie for me. He did state that they know owners are upset with support or the lack of it and said that they have been talking about the problem in meetings. Considering Glowforge employees are all working from home since the covid chrisis he doesn’t think that will happen for till they can actually get back into the office. I also talked about reading all the complaints regarding a lack of spare parts. His answer was we are working that as well. All that being said, I still ordered a machine. Consider this for a second! I sold cars for 45 years and I remember many times customers with service problems complaining the parts need to fix their car are not available. It doesn’t make anybody happy they have that particular car, but it happens to all car makers. I just hope when and if I have a problem with my machine, they will do their best to repair or replace the machine and have the parts needed so everyone can stay up and running.


As several people have mentioned, we’re working hard on many of these areas, and are absolutely here to help if you have questions or run into any trouble. We listen closely to your requests and work hard to prioritize well and deliver lots of goodness to you. If any of you have other features or innovations you want to see, please create posts and let us know, or email

I’m going to leave this thread open a little longer since the conversation’s still progressing.


Rita: Being new here, why does the staff want to close threads so quickly?


Correct, the dealership is not the manufacturer but they are representatives of the brand and can address issues and get you back on the road. As for your comment on getting the CEO of a car maker to answer a question on a forum, they don’t have to because there are literally a million people ahead of him that can and DO take care of issues should they arise. If I had to wait 5 days for a return email when I had an issue with my car and I was unable to get to work I wouldn’t buy that brand of car anymore. I think most people would agree. What good is having the CEO answer a comment on a message board when he can’t do anything to help? The people who CAN help are to inundated with emails that they cant respond in a timely manner. That’s ridiculous considering how much funding GF has secured over the years from investors and from sales.

We shouldn’t have to but yet we do and when you say that its bullshit you get hate from people who think its ok for some unknown reason.

I could care less if the software is faster when the machines are flawed in the way they operate. I have gone through 8 and have yet to get one that works as advertised. Is any machine perfect and without flaws? Of course not. Do all machines break and have issues if not properly maintained or abused, or even with regular use over time? Of course. But to have people, I’m not the only one, go through multiple machines to get one that works as advertised is ridiculous. And there are many more who have machines that don’t work 100% but they are either too scared to say anything or they don’t understand that they paid a lot of money for something and shouldn’t have to MAKE it work, it should just work.

To say that we should jst deal with what we have cause it’s gotten better and that it’s good enough if why GF will never deliver a machine that works as advertised for any amount of time.

They don’t like to let people express anything negative about their product.

Once I get my machine and start to have problems, I will be pissed just like many others. Is it possible GF is just selling more machines than they can actually service the customers in a timely manner?

As someone who sold cars do ever remember a time where a manufacturer was habitually out of parts for one of their top selling, or only models? Would GM ever be out of a part for a Silverado for an extended amount of time, except in the case of an explosion at the manufacturing plant or something of course. You’d be hard pressed to find a Goodyear tire shop that is out of tires 85% of the time. And if they were they wouldn’t spend as much money and time marketing new tires as they would ramping up manufacturing and logistics. If there was an issue with their tires they wouldn’t continue to sell the same tires, they would improve and test and go back to the drawing board.

Machine Improvements: I can list quite a few machine improvements from speed, accuracy, useable area, head calibration, fan control and cleaning and much much more.

Upgrading Customer service: They have added more customer service reps and tech support as time has gone on.

Features that nobody asked for? I don’t know, the Hopper is quite extensive. I’m curious to what specific features you are referring to.

Investing time and money: I’d say they are putting money into ensuring a constant revenue stream to keep the lights on and shipping new units and materials. It might not seem that they are allocating resources to take care of existing customers, but I believe they are trying hard and many, many people have had great success with their machines as is.

However, the background of your question I do take seriously. It seems there are some recalcitrant problems that are of such magnitude or frequency that it can drive people away from purchase. WiFi connectivity is a deal. That’s a pinch point. That is a technical problem that should be seeing some progress, but from watching on the sidelines, it seems like nothing has really improved.

And there seem to be lots of cases with warranty returns and sometimes many multiples. I can only say that they are keeping track of the metrics and they must be in acceptable ranges or something would be changing. Of course that means there are individuals who may not be satisfied because of the pain of turning around a machine. I guess I am pretty forgiving of Glowforge because I still see them as a new company that is going through growing pains. I do love my machine and I would recommend a Basic to anyone who does a significant amount of crafting, woodwork, or general making.

Communication with support. It seems that this is another raw point. I don’t understand it but I can’t see behind the screen. They do try to make it right for people, but it’s not as immediate as folks want. Not having phone support seems to be a bad deal, but it is a modality that in these days that is understandable. Email can solve most problems so much more efficiently. But some folks prefer phone. Understood. But this is a debatable issue.

I am curious as to what you are thinking they can improve. Reliability? Speed? Connectivity? Stepper to Servos?

Definite issue with carriage wheels, but that was a supply issue. Ribbon cable of doom. Yep, maybe a design change is needed and not just a better quality part.

I do believe though that it is a definite choice to keep the hardware static and not put resources in engineering something that wasn’t part of the original promise. It was the control implementation and GFUI that needed all the work. The hardware is already mature. The camera was a big deal technology and they took a gamble to release a piece of hardware and not have the complete suite of control built out. They really pulled it off. It was a long haul to get to production machines. But so many of the original crowd source orders stayed with them.

What to do about the problem cases though. I understand. I had three warranty replacements, but the one I have is going perfectly after two years.

Still curious as to what your expectations or desires are, both in hardware, control technology and user interface.

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That’s exactly whats happening. They got too big too fast and can’t keep up. It’s understandable but instead of owning it and using their resources to create better supply chains and have better customer service they spend money on advertising and try to sell even more machines. They must think that more sales equals more money equals less problems. Just digging the hole deeper. It’s sloppy business.

Takata Airbags are a good example. Millions of airbags either going off while driving or not going off at all in a accident! No airbags were available for almost a year and customers were simply told to drive the car only if they felt comfortable. There was nothing a dealer could do. When it comes to recalls, the customers get a notice to go to their dealer and when they get there the shop says we don’t have the parts to repair, but we will let you know when they are available. Their isn’t one auto manufacturer that is excluded in this sort of problem. I have seen this many times. The only thing the dealers can do is listen to the customer rant and then try the best they can to help.

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