Repair or not repair? Europe dilemna

Hi community,

Unfortunatly, my Glowforge seems to to have big troubles. It is a model from the crowdfunding but I was not a intensive user. So I am a little disapointed. But troubles appened. Glowforge has proposed me an exchange with a refurbished unit for an honest price equal to price of the repair.

My second problem is that I’m not located in USA. So to make this exchange needs an oversea’s shipping USA/France and back plus border’s fees. And that’s expanding extremly the cost of the operation : about a half of my initial investment.

So I have doubts : can I afford this extra cost ? Do I try to fix myself the problem ?
If I have to guess from where comes the problemfrom the noise that it is making, I would say that it is a problem on stepper motors. And it makes me confused to be forced to do so expensive international travels for just a changement ofstepper motors.

But 'm not a specialist so, that’s quite of a bet or a evaluation of risks betwen the 2 solutions that I’m not sure to be enough qualified to judge.

So, are some of you has exeprienced this type of dilemna? Did some of you has tried homemade maintenance or repair ? With success?

Even if Glowforge writes me that “We are upgrading to an expanded repair facility”, impossible to know wat delay expecting to have a possibility in Europe to repair units and to order proofgrade materials. That is a big obstacle to develop Glowforge in Europe.

And even if a lasercut machine at home has become quite essential for me, I don’t know if I can take another time the risk to put another coin in the machine with the same risk of expensive extra costs at every troubleshooting.

I would be obliged to hear some of your advices or experience of self repair or taking back units for maintenance.

Hi Marc! Haven’t seen you in awhile, sorry for your problem.
Has support found anything in the machine logs? Steppers are usually pretty robust and don’t fail often. How does the machine behave? I’m assuming the issue is more than noise.

If it were a stepper, I would look into ordering a replacement from another supplier if glowforge can’t supply it. Here is a schematic to reference.


I have never seen this diagram. That is quite interesting. :slight_smile:


Excellent info. How did you manage to find this?


Yes, but they don’t communicate about what they have found, just that it needs a repair that can be done only by them. But I’m not sure that some repair has been advised to be done by users themselves

since one month, I start to have some engravings that stopped inthe middle. The processon the internet was continuing as if there was no problem but in reality, the headwas stopped and didn’t move.
I have made some engraving staying in front of the Glowforge and stops was never at the same point of a file and there was a noise just before. A sort of little “click”, hard to describe a sound in words. When I was moving the arm or the head, some other clicks was appearing.

That’s why I was was guessing that it was maybe some mechanical problem that blocks a little the steppers and causes by security the engraving. Themore strange is that it doesn’t stop process in the interface with an error message.

This is not happening all the times or just on some files. It seems to be random. But what happens sometimes only on engraving happens now more often and on cuts too.

I’m not going to go into all the reasons why… but I’d say if you are spending 2000 USD or obviously the euro equivalent or more… I’d go with a different machine that you would be able to work on yourself (if you are so inclined to do so). The closed proprietary system is problematic if you are outside of the US and have VAT and extortion level shipping costs (not to say that it’s that much better in the US). I love my GF and will use it until it dies, but will likely get something else when it does for the same reasons.


And what alternative do you have in mind ? chinese laser machine? Because, it is the same question that when I have bought my glowforge at first. At this time, I have chosen Glowforge because I didn’t see a really as good solution at the same price.

Hi @PrintToLaser ,

I have read another time long message from Glowforge support and I have found the information about the cause of the problem that I didn’t pay attention.

They said that from the log, it is “an issue with the motion system” . So maybe steppers motors, belts,… Am I right?

I’m going to ask Glowforge if there is a way to try with them a try to fix myself the problem if it is this type of basic fixing. As a beta-tester with a liability release because legal questions are very serious thing in US ans that this operation can be considered as a legal risk and I can understand it.

To follow Glowforge and their communication from the beginning, I have not great hope that they will accept my request but who don’t try don’t know…


Too bad support couldn’t at least tell you which component(s) to troubleshoot. Seems like they could do that without incurring the liability of telling you how to do it.
Good Luck Marc!

Yeah, Chinese. I looked at the logical first choice when I first started looking at lasers; the K40 but quickly found that they were pretty much junk without a LOT of upgrades. So that was out. But the higher priced machines weren’t looking that bad. But with chinese machines you needed to really watch what you were getting. Some that look nearly identical may use crap components while others use much better stuff. I currently have this one on my watch list with ebay, but I’d have to do more research before I pulled the trigger… (odd… it’s showing a 40w in the preview here but it’s a 60w on the link).

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Do you know the shipping cost? Are you sure there will be import fees given that it is a repair or even a trade for repair? Just curious. In terms of alternatives, there are a few like makeblock that are probably EU based, too. Of course, more research is needed on them. There is always TROTEC and Epilog too. The convo interests me as I am in NL and I know I will face this some time.

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Hi Matthew
Shipping cost (from france to USA and back) would be around 1000 USD and repair/replacement between 400 to 800USD.

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This is a tough one. Any update from GF on components? Not sure how long you have had your machine, but for 1400-1800 you can’t buy a new one so if you thought that you could get at least 3 years out of the machine it might be worth it. Of course, no guarantees and after sending it back once or twice more you might be able to buy something new, assuming a roughly 5500 euro spend for something equivalent. Hmmm…

No, they don’t give precise answers.
My feeling is that the support don’t go very deep in researchs. If the problem is not documented or easily defined, the solution is a callback .
For example, they say it is a problem on motion system but noone asks me to try to tense the belts or check wheels and belts or other things accessible without dissambling the machine.

An aspect of my issues is very weard and they don’t notice it as a clue to identify my problem:
My potential issues with motion system don’t stop jobs on the interface. The job starts, the head stops during it but on the interface, it continues as if there is no problem. I’ve had problems like all of us I think with motion system, for example with an object that is a little to high and hits the carriage. On those cases, jobs were ending on the interface with an error message…

In short, I’m trying to do all checks I can before deciding to send it back to US. And one hypothesis that I have already thought: if it was just a problem on some corrupted files and not a mechanical problem? I thought it was not that because, I’ve had issues with several files but today, I have tried some prints on 2 files several times : one file always had issue. And on the contrary, the gift of good measure were engraved and cutted well several times.

So if someone can check or try my first file to see if there is someting wrong with it?

Thanks by advance,

Yes, there is a problem with this particular file that might cause an error. There was an exact vector overlay in the circular area shown below. (If you want to check for others in your other files, select everything and set the stroke opacity/transparency to around 30%. Then zoom in. The areas where there is overlap will be darker.)

You can see if the SVG file below works any better.


By the way, you might be correct with the problem being in the individual files. If the type of problem you are having has to do with certain areas refusing to print, but other areas are printing okay, then it could be vector overlay problems. If there is a vector line that lies exactly on top of another vector line, and they are the same stroke color, the vectors cancel each other out, and that part doesn’t print.


Thank you for sharing this, I have saved for hopefully never, but better safe than sorry ;p

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Hi everybody,

Just here to give you the last news before closing this topic.

I’ve had good news. After insiting with the support, a tech says me that it was not a problem on motion system as said at first but on a power issue somewhere that needed a call back to Glowforge.

I was almost resigned to do so but I have decide to try a last try with what I can test by myself on power sytem : power cable and power socket. And I had a miraculous idea!!! After wiring with the cable from my computer screen on another spot in the house, no more problems with my laser.

I’ve just saved 2000 dollars. I’m quite proud of me. The only disturbing thing in this is that I don’t feel that support try very hard to find a solution else than callback.

Hopefullyr for me, it is an happy end but if you have troubles that needs big money to send to maintenance, start to try by yourself all that is accessible without disassembly.


Glad to hear it Marc! Thanks for the report. :sunglasses:

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If it was something with the house, there is no way for support to remotely figure it out. Fortunately you had the perspicacity to think outside the box and and look at things that support could not. I worked as an Apple store Genius, and the issues we would see were sometimes beyond what we could deal with in store. Doing it over email or even phone is truly difficult. But I’m glad you figured it out. Good Job!