Realistic Expectations

The GF team seems to have bent over backwards for us. Now that the fog of the pre-order is ending, here are my thoughts about what we might realistically expect:

  1. Mechanical and physical layout is not going to change for GF 1.0 Suggestions for GF 2.0 might receive attention.

  2. S/W will be an ever evolving effort. The first units to be delivered will have limitations but should improve through Cloud S/W changes. Or maybe an occasional GF controlled firmware update.

  3. The first units to be shipped will be Beta Units, not full production units. These will undergo real-world testing from a pool of owner volunteers. These Beta testers will be selected by the company according to need. If we are lucky production units MAY start to roll out late 1st quarter 2016. It all depends on success of the test program.

  4. S/W development is an ongoing process. Core capabilities must be functional before moving on to the more complex. Much is not yet ready for demonstration or production worthy.

  5. GF is an extremely small company with many folks that are dual hatted. Think about it. We have the CEO answering our questions.

  6. Logistics and other processes leading up to full production will be an ongoing one.

  7. It’s possible that a planned feature will not be delivered or is delayed because of unforeseen technical reason. We were given an opportunity to buy at a huge discount because we are willing to accept a small amount of risk and a TBD delivery date. That’s the nature of crowdfunding.

  8. GF is a Company. I’m sure personal reputations are important to the GF team but we should not expect them to give away profit because we want just a little bit more or misunderstood what we were buying.

  9. Don’t assume any of the information presented in these forums is valid unless it comes from Glowforge. Don’t read between the lines of official posts. That may lead you to incorrect assumptions.

  10. Don’t assume a linear shipping of GFs after Dec. Takes a long long time to prepare for the first fully production unit. Not so long to build thousands after that.

  11. Production schedules will be TBD until the first units are thoroughly wrung out. Problems could affect one or both so the team can not know whether the Pro or Basic will be produced simultaneously or one before the other.

  12. We will be informed should shipping schedules be impacted but probably only in the broadest sense.

  13. All developmental successes relevant to GF 1.0 will be announced as they occur.

This post is my uninformed opinion only. No special insight. Feel free to add to this list of expectations.


I think you are spot on and hope everyone reads your post.

Good post! My feedback below:

Yeah the S/W doesn’t bother me because it can always be changed. From a design standpoint don’t see too much to be worried about. They have already tested the laser tube on the moving arm. There is always the unforeseen possibility of an electrical or mechanical part being pushed beyond the breaking point but that’s what Beta testing is for. The only thing that I have thoughts about is the use of cameras for registration and fine alignment. Especially on the Pro pass through. I see it as a complex marriage of hardware and S/W with high resolution optical and mechanical requirements and some fairly sophisticated S/W. I have no doubt that they will get it working but as an electrical and computer engineer it’s still beyond me.

Excellent list @rpegg. When I put my order in, I was fully prepared to receive my GF in Aug 2016, but hoping it will come earlier. I would rather them spend the time to get the quality right then try to ship early!

so right on it being a smart move - making us all comfortable. Dan being accessible via these forums is one way to ensure trust.

I’m a local Seattle guy that hails from West Seattle and I bought the Pro machine. I was stoked when I saw an article about Glowforge and they were in my city! This company is going nowhere but up from day one, great job!

The beauty of the cloud model is that they can focus about 90% of their energy on the hardware to start with - and it seems like they have. I would be shocked if the limited software on the device wasn’t set up to auto-update from the cloud, so once the hardware design is proven out (has the required accuracy and resilience) then they can start shipping devices and work on the cloud software features incrementally.

August is when I’m hoping to have it by, too. I think that’s pretty realistic. But of course, if everything goes perfectly and there are no issues and they can ship them all sooner, that’s great too.

Hoping, maybe too much, for April/May but it is what it will be. Guess I’m about #300. Worked Govt contracts that took a year to get in place before even starting design… Aug wouldn’t be fun but wouldn’t shock me.

Well said. I think shipments will trickle at first, largely because that’s the best way to manage such a project. Get those initial units back, course correct the manufacturing process as needed, send initial units out into the field to what will likely be high volume users or those who would represent a wide range of users. To that end, they’ve already said schools and makerspaces will get them first. That’s a great move, it’ll help them identify issues early so that hardware production can be adjusted if necessary, and software issues can be identified and resolved. Hopefully the hardware end is on point, since making changes there takes more time.

From there, production will start to ramp. Next batch larger than the last, then make sure changes were made properly and quality control is where it needs to be (and make changes as necessary). Then scale up manufacturing further still until they’re on pace to fulfill all outstanding orders.

The GF team has been pretty great about communication so far, and they’ve indicated that they will update people on shipping timetables once they are able to.

Even though we placed our order early on, I expect it will be many months before we get our unit. That’s okay, I’d rather have it right than have something fast that isn’t right. I look forward to updates and tossing around lots of design ideas :slight_smile:

If the Mod-T 3D printer, Lockitron, or other crowdfunding campaigns are a precedent, we won’t be seeing these until 2018ish. Not to be negative… Just my experience with these sorts of things is anticipated delivery date tends to be maybe 3 times longer.

Perhaps I am naive but I thought I was pre-ordering an existing product to get a discount, not crowd-funding a development. And with it saying delivery starting in December I bought it as a Christmas present for myself. Looks like it might be next Christmas now!

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Honestly feel for you. Could see someone doing that if they stumbled on the Glowforge site without any backup info. I’ve run a bunch of engineering projects much larger than the entire Glowforge effort, so that experience makes me lean toward over analyzing large personal purchases. Think positive. Other than time, the delivered unit should be amazing.

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Seeing how involved Dan was in forums, etc. was actually the deciding factor for me to pre-order.


Another couple weeks has gone by… As expected, impatience, buyers remorse, or even paranoia has started to infect the boards. I almost feel sorry for the GF team. The hourly screams for detailed information: “Why wasn’t this feature included? Why did you advertise a product that wasn’t ready for production? Why can’t I have up to the minute updates to every problem or success?” Folks might think that a good company is built on complete openness but it is often the surest way to bankruptcy. Too much info will certainly be worse for a successful product than just enough. Honestly if I were the GF lawyer or PR person, Dan might already be chastised for being as open as he has. Read my original post about realistic expectations and add…

  1. We will be informed about problems when planned shipping schedules are impacted and probably only in the broadest sense.
  2. All developmental successes relevant to GF 1.0 will be announced as they occur.

Patience used to be a virtue. Social media killed that. Don’t let it kill a successful product launch.


Thanks for the thoughtful perspective, @rpegg. I’ll post some general notes shortly.