Repair Costs and Process

“sacrifices to Murphy”
Appreciating this concept.

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Re: the lack of repair data points.
This seems to imply that I am one of the rare situations where a glowforge has had a major issue after the warranty period? Sigh. Thanks for weighing in.

I do recall reading somewhere (in the FAQ perhaps?) that the laser is a thing that over the life of a unit will require replacement. This is the only part that I know of, outside of the add on filter, that all users can expect to need servicing at some point. It says there that the tube is rated for 2 years… so im coming up short by half!

This whole situation comes down to expectations and communication I suppose. Good luck to everyone as they find themselves in this situation.


Heh. Something about your reply makes the situation all the more frustrating. Perhaps the machine is simple… only relative to ones skill level. I hadn’t considered thinking about it in this way. I’m generally one for open source soft/hardware as a philosophy, and so I jumped on the glowforge train with some reservation. This process has more or less strongly confirmed my feelings. I’ll be slower to take the plunge in the future.

In the mean while, one can hope what you’re saying is right. Its too bad none of the parts/labor are documented anywhere. Perhaps the myself and the community might compile our post repair receipts to build an expectation roadmap for future folks in need???


Thanks Jules,
I hear you, and yet… and YET… there is clearly diagnostic information being sent from the unit to their system. This is a cloud based operation, and who knows how much metadata is being sent with every cut. (No seriously… who knows, someone tell us please!!!)

With that information, they could at least make rough assessments, subject to change. By making that information available, and then making information obtained during the diagnostic available, they would be providing users, the community, trust based information about the process.

Your comparison to the dealership is apt. And also horrifying. Apologies to automotive mechanics, but they dont exactly have the best reputation on the block, however undeserved. The car is the biggest black box in the culture for most people! That said, man, theres a world of difference between a place who will explain everything to you pre-inspection and post-inspection, and give you heads up estimates before going into that diagnostic phase. Setting expectations is HUGE.

This whole trust thing? I’ll admit its difficult to lean into trust right now, given how even the earliest communication is, given the things I’ve read in the forums, and given that if this is how things are now… do I want to continue risking that moving forward?

Anywho, I intend at least to be as transparent about the process and its aftermath on the forums, so that other folks encountering this will at least have some sense of what they can expect.


Sorry, wasn’t trying to pile on.

Google openglow, you might like what they’re up to if you don’t know already (you probably do given that you’ve been here for a year?). I’m mixed on this. Open source is a good idea in theory but in practice sometimes you get really janky Wild West pastiche bug-riddled products… or worse, forked messes where it’s not easy to even know what’s current.

You mentioned relative skill before, open source software requires a lot more engaged and educated users, I wouldn’t want that here. I just want it to work, and when it doesn’t I want someone to ask rather than have to figure out who is actively maintaining the code and hoping they’re good enough to help.

Unfortunately you’re having issues, but I’ve been lucky and had almost no trouble, maybe my perspective is tempered because of that. I wonder if yours would be if things were working properly for you too? I’ll admit that GF support isn’t great in some ways (cough response time black box cough), but at least you know where to find them and they’re committed to the job.

You might really like what openglow is up to.

Some of Glowforge software has been released I think. No API, but there is some out there I think?

A lot. And some is obtainable right now if you know how to pull your logs. It’s documented on the forum:

Good luck, I hope you get a good resolution.

Maybe not a rare situation. Probably are more cases but the resolutions aren’t documented on the forum at all or with a closed topic taken to email, we don’t know what happened. Again, I appreciate the reasonable conversation here. This is especially relevant since so many devices become closed systems that the user can’t repair at all.


Tube warranty in what regards?

The tube doesn’t have an explicit warranty outside of the normal warranty period. All replacement parts have a warranty of 3-months per the warranty guidelines (Glowforge Warranty Information | Glowforge)

Glowforge warrants Proofgrade materials and spare parts against defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 3 months when used as instructed in conjunction with a Glowforge product.

The logs do contain some information, but it’s not something that is going to pinpoint the problem in every single case. Much like OBD-II codes on your vehicle (which contain even more data), they aren’t going to necessarily say, this is exactly what’s wrong so an exact estimate can be given to fix it. Using that example, it could be anything from the actual sensor that’s recording data, to anywhere upstream before the next data point is being recorded.

Just to throw an example out, it could be a coolant flow issue: it could be the pump dead, it could be a leak that results in no coolant being able to be pumped throwing the code, the leak could lead to additional damages that sensor data isn’t available for. The sensor itself could have died, meaning just the sensor needed to be replaced and not the pump. Or, it could be a problem with the control board where the sensor ties into it.

Each scenario presents a different repair approach; it would be really tough to sit there and ballpark a repair cost when you just don’t know.

I don’t know Glowforge’s process for testing… but if they have developed what are essentially service manuals (which I’m guessing they have to some degree for the techs), it’s going to be a series of diagnostics to pinpoint the issue.

Issue: check A > if A checks out, proceed to B, if not, proceed to A2 > if B checks out, proceed to C, if not proceed to B2, etc etc etc.


This is an essential piece of wisdom. Well worth the read and subsequent reflection. Kudos.

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All good. Not upset with you actually, just that what you were saying totally makes sense and resonates!!!

Openglow looks awesome. I hadn’t heard of it, so thanks for the heads up. Definitely something I’ll follow.

Open source certainly can be jank, but it can also be brilliant, bringing out the best of a diverse group of interested and technically oriented folks… I was about to go on and on, but I think it best to stay on topic. If you’re interested in some wonderfully brilliant open source projects, message me.

Thanks for this too. Great pointers all around.
Much appreciated!

Glad theres something of value being generated. As I’ve said elsewhere, I intend to document the process fully.

At the very end of THIS thread, @Rita says the tube is “rated by the manufacturer for 2 years”… Its also mentioned in the FAQ. Its unclear if any accommodations are made for tubes that have issues before this 2 year rating. Why even talk about the 2 year rating if nothing is going to be done for them outside of the standard Glowforge warranty???

And I hear you on the whole testing thing, and the repair code situation is a decent metaphor. It would be nice though, if they could be more open and transparent about the information they DO have.

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I agree.

And especially like another recent post who had a repair done, but no itemized list of what work was done.

As far as the tube, you may be able to get clarification directly from Glowforge, but I’m pretty confident that the tube warranty falls in the machine warranty - and then it will be 3 months on the replacement tube (spare part warranty).

As far as the rated for, I figure that’s kind of an expectancy or an average but not a guarantee. Just like some lightbulbs, tires, cars, etc.


Hey Hunt, sorry for the late reply, I just got back from a half month tour and came home to a Glowforge ready to pick up from FedEx, sadly again, no communication about the process of getting repaired or notice it was going to be shipped, not the biggest ordeal, but still less than desirable. Anyways, upon setting it back up just 30 minutes ago, I see bubbles in the tube, when turning on, a stream of water shot through the tube going from the left to the right. I don’t remember this being the case last time, is this something I just missed, or are they water cooled now? If so, are we just paying for upgrades of prototype laser tubes that they realized should’ve been recalled and are being replaced under the guise of “needs a repair”? I dunno, but I’m about to message support to see if this is normal.

Caveat: I’m not gf staff.

Generally that is normal with a new tube. You will see the coolant filling it in as the bubbles work through the tube.

Once it cycles the bubbles out it should be good to go, no more bubbles. It should only take a minute.

If you’re still concerned by all means wait to hear from support but this is pretty typical from what I can tell.


Thank ya! Yeah I got ahold of support because I thought it may be a water cooling thing, only thing is I believe that process had already been done before I got mine initially, or I just didn’t remember it.

Mine does that every time I pack/unpack it. It’s normal.

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A lot of that depends on how the unit was oriented during shipping. The reservoir is in the left front so if the box is shipped tube high (on its front or left side) it can drain some into the tank and vice versa.

Yeah, they’re supposed to keep it flat on the bottom but based on how these things are showing up at people’s doors “this end up” is not even a suggestion apparently. :slightly_smiling_face:


Haha yeah, that’s kinda what I figured may’ve been the case, anyways I fired it up last night and everything seems to be fine, hoping I’m not getting it fixed five more months from now!

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Glad you’re up and running again.
And I see the issue of the water/bubbles in the tube has been addressed (I remember the same thing happening the first time I fired mine up, back then it was just a marvel of the machine!)
May your machine run smoothly and without issue!

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