Realistic Shipping Expectations?


This is meant as a positive post. I am asking out of true ignorance and not trolling.
If Glowforge and its supply chain had everything in order (boxes to power supplies) and under ideal conditions. Roughly how many GF units could we expect flex to ship daily?
I work in the education field and have no idea how many units a top quality manufacture like flex could crank out per. day? If flex ramped up making and shipping a reasonable number of units per day starting Oct. 1, could they make the Oct. 31 deadline?

What is a reasonable number of units to manufacture and ship per day?


Realistically, we don’t have sufficient data.

The casual observer might suspect that output has been higher than it is right now; and there are multiple theories about that.

My favorite theory is that Flex is training or expanding to accommodate higher output. There are problems with UPS handlers, as well as some manufacturing defects, and I am sure those are under scrutiny, as well.

Glowforge is trying to resolve defects while simultaneously trying to ramp up production.

I really do hope that they make the Oct 31 and Nov 30 milestones. BUT… I expect that they will deliver a lot in October. I don’t expect they will succeed in delivering all the 30-day orders by end of October. I hope they’ll get up past day 20, though.

I picked a number out of the sky. I’ll guess that day 20 orders will “ship” (that is to say they have their golden email) by October 31.

I am hopeful and optimistic and I really really want Glowforge to succeed and I really really want everybody to have their machine soon. I may be considered a cheerleader by some.

I have zero numbers to base my guess; but the Glowforges are rolling. Maybe not as fast as some wish; but they are rolling. They are coming, and they are great.


Flex (formerly Flextronics) is huge and could easily crank out hundreds (if not more) per day if Glowforge paid them to run enough production lines. They manufacture products for most of the giant tech companies. The original Xbox was built by Flex (albeit at one of their Mexican factories, not the one in Milpitas) and they build everything from printers to cell phones to high end network equipment.


That may be the most speculated subject on the whole forum right now. Properly ramped up, it would be reasonable for them to be able to kick out hundreds per day, maybe even upwards of 1,000. We do not, though, know how far they are ramped right now.

I like @cmreeder’s favorite theory. At some point, Flex needs to train more and expand the team. As much as the ‘known’ bottleneck is quality checks, the current known team is unlikely to be able to kick out enough by themselves to meet the demand. I think that it is hard to ramp up production while working all the kinks out, and really only time will tell.

The one thing where there is no doubt is that they are shipping production units and standing behind them. If you do not cancel your order, you will get your unit. It is not a question of it, but when.


I would like to believe that the various lulls people are experiencing is typical of class training.

For example, when starting to build the Basic, a class (call them “Class 1”) of perhaps 20 people began the build process. After a certain amount of time, this class is split in half - one half to continue with slower (or with practice, equal to) the initial production yields - and the other half (“Class 2”) to go back for training for the production of Pro units.

After these first two classes have graduated, you’re now free to take these 20 individuals and use them as trainers. Assign 10 individuals to each graduate, and you’ve got 220 workers and a mentorship training program.




giphy (4)


Sufficiently Advanced tested that theory with interesting results!


Setting up a dedicated assembly line isn’t cheap. Having a dedicated assembly line stop production after it started also is very costly.

From looking at very limited data here and on Facebook, there appears to a shipping problem. A non trivial number of units are being delivered damaged, requiring 1 to 2 additional shipments.

My WAG is the percentage of units damaged due to shipping has reached a critical threshold, so they slowed down shipping; but that doesn’t indicate they slowed down production. They wouldn’t stop production if there is only a shipping problem. It would be cheaper to keep producing units and store them while working the shipping issues. This would explain why the have a ready supply of Glowforges to ship out at a moment’s notice to people who have damaged machines.

But, this is purely speculative. I don’t think Glowforge will or should disclose this kind of information. The only info they should give us is if they think they can meet there target dates. Which they’ve answered that question, but it could still change.


A veritable plethora of conjecture.


Ya know, in case it’s needed, they’ve got an antibiotic for plethora now. Clears it right up!


And about time too!


Yeah, funny thing is that the company that produced it decided to name it “Transparency”.


According to @dan, the units arriving damaged falls below their initial projections. (It’s hard to call it tolerances, and it certainly isn’t a goal to have that much damage, but their original projects were actually with the expectations of more damage in shipping. It seems high to us because it gets a lot of talk here and we don’t actually know how many units have shipped.