Replacing another machine

So I’m going on my 4th GF Plus in 18 months. Each time I got the infamous “the camera didn’t take a picture” error. Replaced the black cable and still nothing. No warranty this time so it’ll cost me $1595.00 to trade it in. I knew I should have gotten the extended warranty when offered a few months back so shame on me .

My 10 month old GF Pro also died at the same time. It was losing power and wouldn’t cut through PG materials. Getting this replaced under warranty.

I got about 500 hours of cutting out of the GF pro. and 300-400 out of the Plus. At this rate I’ll need a new machine at least once a year. I have a feeling that I’ll be selling a refurbished GF at some point and maybe switch to another brand.

Response from GF has been great. Got my approvals for replacement the same day we determined the machines were defective. 1st machine will be here in less than a week. I can only hope these machines last through Christmas.


Hmmm… so, based on your numbers, it costs around $10 and hour to use the PRO, $17 an hour for the plus (using the higher number of user hours you stated) at the current cost of new machines. Wow - this significantly adds to the cost of GF products.
I was wondering what kind of life span I would get from my basic.

5 years and counting on my basic.


Ditto on my Pro, but it is on the way out now.


Is that with a lot of use or a little? I use mine very little right now, but was looking to begin more frequently in another year if I retire.

5 years + for me, as well. I’d say I’m a ‘medium’ user.


Mostly it is a matter of concern and proper/timely cleaning. Using it at the upper limits of its temp range, cleaning more than needed or places not needed (particturly the cable out to the camera or getting fluid on a electronic chip), or cleaning less than needed as even a slight film on the two windows on the left side of the head or its opposite under the rail can act like a loss of power and eventually damage those windows.

It seems like very few folk get only one replacement, They either get none or many.


Somewhere in between. I bought it for personal use, but I got a couple of unsolicited jobs that required 10,000 tokens engraved on both sides. That was pretty heavy use, but paid for the machine 5 times over. Across 5 years it probably qualifies as light use and probably why it has lasted so long. The power seems to be falling slightly now.


Doesn’t it kinda sound like the people who got machines 3-5 years ago got a better quality machine than what they are making now? Just listening to the problems people are now having with newer machines says to me that they are not made as well as the earlier models they had. Don’t get me wrong here! My machine is only a year old and it’s working just fine, but it just seems like there are alot of machines needing to be sent in and then sending out a refurbished one that isn’t any better.


Absolutely, in my opinion, based on what I’ve seen here.

I would never buy a new machine now. I teach Inkscape classes but discourage people from buying a Glowforge.


That’s possible but given the number sold it could just be seeing the problems of the same %…


All the ones with problems are not around any more. Plus those not knowing what they were doing now do know. In point of fact, the really old machines ~5yr+ were not as good as there were several design issues that have been fixed in the meantime. The exhaust is better and the packing for shipping is much better and I’m sure there are things like sensors or such that cannot be seen that have been added as well. That black cable at first takes much more care, as lifting the lid too far would break it and now there is much more room.

And all that is nothing compared to the software updates that are way improved over the early case. There have been times when a new provider comes online and suddenly dozens or hundreds of new machines make it out the door before the error is caught, but once fixed those manage better.

Perhaps many of the problems stem from the monkeys that handle the machines before they actually get to the customers. I know there are plenty of people that have recieved there machines that have probably been banged up in shipping and simply have been knocked out of alignment. As I said in the beginning, I have had zero problems with my machine or the service from Glowforge.

It has been stated that every machine is tested before being shipped out, but more than one instance of the mirror in the head being installed incorrectly has been posted here recently - one was by a friend of mine.

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last year I averaged 20 hours a week until October then up to 50 -60 hours a week until Christmas. I would hope to get 2 years of life at this usage. Both machines lasted 10 months and died for different reasons. The camera issue seems to be the most common failure. I wish GF could rectify whatever the problem is and update the refurbished machines they provide.

That’s pretty heavy usage for a hobby/crafting machine. You might consider buying something more commercially oriented.

The precision it takes to send a ~1/8" laser beam 18" and have it hit the middle of the ~1/4" window is quite remarkable actually. They have the mirrors hard in place so most have no problem, but there are still way too many that are so mis-aimed that they miss the window entirely wrecking the ability to cut on the right side of the bed.

I’ve looked at commercial machines but they are too big to get in my basement.

I have a Plus and a Thunder Nova 24 and the 24 will fit almost anywhere. You would need help getting in the basement as it weighs about 300 lbs., but it’s a workhorse of a machine and it’ 60 watts. I now use my Glowforge for prototyping and the Thunder for production as it’s about 5-10 times faster.


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