What is your backup plan?
@dr.krawetz, same question. The Glowforge is an electromechanical system that relies on an internet connection. Both electronics and mechanical parts break down over time. The internet is notorious for seeing failures on a level that most users don’t understand or often even notice, but that can have very real effects when you are relying on it for business. You may be seeing a problem that is local to your house, to your city, or to somewhere between there and the local Google server where a moth got into the data center. It might be hours before traffic gets re-routed to compensate, or it might be days if a major trunk line gets severed and the relay paths can’t cope.
You might have a simple cable fail that you can replace, or you might have a premature tube failure occur when you are halfway through a big job. Expect it and have a recovery plan that doesn’t rely on Glowforge getting back to you quickly. This is not a dismissal of Glowforge quality or service support, just a statement of fact that failures happen.
You are running a business with a hobby level laser cutter, with hobby level service. If you don’t have a backup plan, you are asking for frustration and upset customers. Glowforge isn’t responsible for your business commitments, that lies only on you. I strongly suggest that you quickly put together a backup plan. It might be finding a group of other providers to farm out your orders, locating a service in the event you have a prolonged outage, purchasing a second laser and managing your workload so that you have the ability to move forward if one machine goes down. It should also include how you will handle customers who aren’t willing to wait, and how you will communicate the issues you are seeing to your customers who are willing to wait, without losing professionalism.
I have run a small business for the last five years. Part of my business is 3D printing. I use hobby level printers, with hobby level support, but I have gone from one to eight as demand has grown. I always have a backup, just in case. I have found that being honest to my customers about when I have a printer go down and what that means to them keeps them coming back to me. Even those who can’t wait for one order will bring their next order to me.
Get your backup plan in place, update as needed. Make sure your businesses are ready for failure of the equipment that you rely on. A few hours spent planning now can save a lot of panic and time later.