Tube Replacement - Game Changer for Overseas buyers?

I get the serviceability discussion, but in my world when we are looking at this, the feasibility of the repair is weighed against the cost of the sub component.

Say we have a widget that costs $1000. If a part that is a consumable, or more prone to damage costs $100, we will implement that as a serviceable part. if the part in question is $500, then there is a high probability that we will not make it serviceable because its not economically viable.

Taking this to the current example at hand, we have a part that is going to wear out. It is a known quantity, just a matter of time. It should have been designed with replacements in mind.

I am not convinced this is a liability issue alone - All current laser companies will sell you replacement tubes. They seem to be able to work around the “scary liability” issues outlined.

see as one of many examples.

Shipping an item that big, without the original packaging (that most people wont have after 2 years) is a non starter. I would have loved to be in that meeting where @dan thought this would be a good idea.


Correct - when we replace a tube it’s trained engineers who do it.

We did. Unfortunately, after working through the plan we had to make this possible, we determined it wasn’t.

Features we put on the front page of the website are our top priority. Specifications we put in the FAQ is second. Answers to forum questions, emails, etc reflect our plans but are prioritized lower.

Indeed, it’s very likely that we’ll do a lot of work to make this easier, cheaper, and less expensive before it’s a problem for anyone in >12 months. But I don’t want to tell you we’re going to do something unless we have a clear plan to successfully do that, and it is, unfortunately, far too complicated for us to put together that plan now.


How can you expect people to stand behind a purchase, based on the idea that they get to replace the tube on their own, with a “We have at least a year before it fails to figure out if we can come up with non cost prohibitive way of dealing with this, but if not, pay us or have a fancy paper weight, your choice.”

This is making Glowforge come across as designed to be disposable without the appropriate price tag.

And I agree with another poster, this hasn’t gone out by email so many many owners likely don’t know yet and the forum backlash could be much much more if they did know.


Now I know that GF staff are fully aware how many non-US customers they have and what a burden this tube replacement policy will be. But I think all international customers should email GF with your concerns. They need to hear from you in masses to understand what a game changer this is to you. Personally, I don’t want to box up my GF and send it to the service HQ for a tube replacement that I am full competent to do. That’s ridiculous. - Rich


The way I see it is that its not good news for anyone.

I know glowforge doesnt like this situation any more than we do. Now they have to deal with the logistics of having all these whole units shipped in for service, and dealing with the large loss theyre going to take on that, along with the extra staffing to do the work, when it wasnt originally planned for.

On top of that its going to be a big hit to their reputation, theyre going to lose customers, and theyre still going to have this problem staring them in the face waiting to be dealt with after they finally start getting the units shipped, instead of being able to take a breather and celebrate that their hard work is out in the world finally.

I wouldnt want to have that hanging over me while trying to finish a product launch. Im not happy about it, and I definitely dont want to be shipping my laser out to have my tube replaced, but the last thing this was, was intentional. Its just an unfortunate reality for the time being… for everyone. Maybe once they dont have their noses to the grindstone getting the lasers out, they will be able to have enough space to come up with a novel solution to this issue. Theyve shown us some pretty cool innovation so far.

I dont blame anyone for being angry, or wanting to cancel. That is totally justified. This is one of those things that should have been addressed a lot earlier. I just really dont see any malintent here. This is a loss-loss situation, and the best thing we can do (for those of us staying in) is try to come up with the best solution together. Hopefully they will open up the lines of communication on this a bit to help everyone know whats going on, and maybe the discussion will ignite some spark to make this whole thing easier on the lot of us.


And when did you know this?


I’ve never bought the liability angle. It is oversold in popular culture; managing liability is a part of business. Lawyers are like dogs. They object to the liability excuse the way your dog objects to being blamed for who farted. It’s convenient.

Of every disappointing thing they’ve announced this is the first one that I would expect an investor to ask for a recalculation of their basic financial projections. The cost and inconvenience may not only impact unit sales, but also per capita consumption rates of ProofGrade materials. Not so much as to make glowforge bankrupt, but enough that if there is another financing round a lot more equity would have to be given away.

As I read it, glowforge is swapping a $500 replacement kit with a $500 ship it to us service. Given that they opted for a dedicated line at Flex instead of batch production I can’t believe they don’t expect to have a critical mass of units in the EU to establish a European service center that could offer equivalent pricing. Same for Canada. For customers in other territories…

Between Dan’s comments about the time it takes and that they can’t offer a glowforge branded replacement kit, this announcement may be a poorly thought out trial balloon. Maybe they really can’t offer a glowforge branded replacement kit, but that doesn’t mean an alternative and still viable solution can’t be offered. To casually mention it in their monthly update…well have I mentioned what I think about their public relations skills?


My concern is that it was expected to work, so not part of the top feature priorties, so until now (if Dan is to be believed. …and their website from day one else was a bit over optimistic ).
And something that everyone else expected as a) it was listed as user replaceable since early on (sorry too lazy to check if it was a day 1 spec’ed item) b) about ALL other laser cutters out in wild (with likely exception of some industrial units) have user serviceable tubes. It is already enough of a risk to depend on a custom tube.
This is far more than a little sorry we missed something, it was continually praised as being something fast and easy to do (see above links from other folks). Whoever forgot to drive the design to success for something so essential should get the boot…this jus plain ridiculous (especially considering development had an extra 1.5 years!), I can’t honestly believe over all this time nodody had a clue that the tube may not end up being user replaceable (they say they have very smart folks there…so this should have been part of some risk matrix somewhere )

By time of shipment (last chance for refund)n there needs to be a very clear documentation of options, time and costs, not more of these we hope to do this and by some time we may have some other ways to hopefully accomplish xyz.

I’m sure if this issue where known or at least listed as a major concern at the start of the pre-order, we would not be as upset (this latest announcement for lack of a better term does feel like bait and switch)…or a lot of us wouldn’t even be here as we would have bought a different laser (and Ian and others with business plans would have had 1 year plus of things being made…).


This is my bugbear with them too. And there’s this whole emperor’s clothes thing going on. I find it very disingenuous. From ‘we have a power supply issue’ a year ago to ‘we’re paying you for the delay’ to losing some much anticipated features to putting the tube announcement nonchalantly in the miscellaneous section of an announcement to ‘we’re shipping the first few hundred to the ‘most helpful’ forum customers’ instead of sticking with the order placed sequence as promised.

This trajectory will keep losing them support.
Are they reaching a PR tipping point as a company?

Sorry for venting, I’m still angry over this. I believed in them as a company. I believed in the product. I still believe in the product. But if another company with some reputation offered us a GF alternative that is a grand more expensive, I would jump ship in a heartbeat.

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My guess would be that the people doing the design don’t actually see the process as particularly daunting. And it was only when a writer got to meticulously documenting the process with appropriate safety warnings that legal noticed and said nope.

And at that point the choice would be indeterminate delay or factory returns for replacement. And as many cancellations and upset forum posts this may generate I think its pretty clearly less than an open ended delay.


This is usually the point where a company calls in an expert to start patching the holes.
Seen it before and my whole business is based upon seeing it again!

We are only seeing the ripples on the surface, what is going on underneath must be horrifying.


To me the question is whether glowforge HQ is like, “Wow, that went better than I expected”, or “it’s even worse than we thought”, or “Uh oh, I wasn’t expecting that reaction.”

I’m not sure if I’d prefer option 2 or 3. If it’s option 1, then I’ll be joining the doomsayers.


My wife and I are discussing our options. We’re going to wait for a more concrete answer from @dan. If we don’t get one or is not going to be user replaceable we’re going to cancel. There has been so much rigamarole that my wife said “I’m not even excited for this anymore.” This might be the straw that broke the camel’s back. There have been so many miscues by management on this I can’t even trust them anymore. From each delay to this. I can’t help but feel like we’ve been repeatedly lied to, or management is so short sighted they boarder on negligent. I don’t really know which is worse. As I write this, I’m not sure I’m going to stay with it either way.


Yeah, I’ll wait a bit longer, possible till ship address request (if that is soon), but the decision will come down to how detailed and how firm their commitment to the various options is for whatever tube replacement strategies they come up with. At a minimum it needs to have clear costs, time for ship door to door, user purchase options (and a unew user installed tube will still have to have some kind of warranty) even if with some kind of release form, and for how long the prices will be stable. Right now at 80 to 90% cancel and use something else. They need to pull a major rabbit out of their hat to keep me at this point.

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I’m not an overseas buyer, so maybe I shouldn’t comment here, but this is a total game changer/deal breaker for me as it stands right now. I’ll probably wait a couple of weeks to see if there’s any more information about what’s really going on or anything more concrete, but I’m not waiting until shipping to see how this will play out and I’m definitely not waiting a year or two to see if they can come up with something better than shipping it back and forth.

For me, not being able to replace the tube myself is worse than losing just about any of the other advertised features or capabilities. Ease-of-use was my number one like about the glowforge. And it just got really messy. I wouldn’t purchase glowforge, as it stands today, if I were preordering right now.


I think ‘local’ purchasers of the 'Forge who are disgruntled by this announcement have a very powerful voice.

If it is difficult to ship from (say) Canada to Seattle or from East Coast to West Coast USA then this only emphasises how poor this build is in general and how catastrophic is is likely to be for us OS users.


Even the most well engineered, best built big heavy box is gonna be a pain to ship. Shipping issues are a pain, but that is separate from overall build quality.
At least it doesn’t require liftgate service.


You can bet the competition is lovi’n it.


As of @dan update on the update. WHEW! So glad.


As some lucky folks received their Pro units, I think it is reasonable to assume all engineering design and production line has been finalized. I really want a firm answer from @dan if tube replacement by user is possible, I would really be disappointed if it is still in any stage of ‘hopper’. I could not believe if a unit was build without user replaceable parts in mind can become possible after it come out from factory.

I would consider laser tube inside GF a consumable parts that will eventually ‘dry out’ and need to replaced. just like ink cartridge inside printer, or carbon brush inside my lathe motor. I don’t expect swapping the tube would easy as swapping an ink cartridge, but I don’t expect i have to dis-assembly the whole unit or I have to break something in order to replace a part like consumer electronics.

unless I found my home land was listed inside GF authorized overseas support partners (would it ever exist?), overseas buyer are on their own.
we can’t afford to ship unit back to US just for tube replacement, and we don’t expect such a great tool could only last for 2 years.

I hope I can have a solid answer soon and I really hope I can have my own GF at home someday.

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