Update to the update: We'll sell replacement tubes (discussion)

I learned more about math in Physics than I ever did in the math classes themselves, real world practical use for the win. Plus, my Physics teacher in high school built demonstrations for almost every lesson plan where we could plug in different numbers in the formulas and test them out in real life.


This is really bad.
First; @Dan has already reported a life expectancy of 2years for these laser tubes. I can tell you with certainty that tubes have a finite shelf life… and that life should be >5years. So either these Chinese tubes are of unacceptable quality; or @dan is not being clear how he measures the tube life… IE 2years of constant use… is a lot different the 2years of life - period.

Second, Having the tube non-user serviceable is a problem. It’s clear from their $500-we’ll-do-it fee that the swap isn’t trivial. Again; comparing to real laser machines… the swap is as simple as two - four screws and disconnecting a “molex” connector. The fact that glowforge isn’t doing this should send alarm bells to all users.

Third; There is more than the tubeswap itself. You have to recalibrate the entire system to ensure the beam path is accurate so that the new tube will lase properly. Not doing this will be dangerous to the operator and not having laser safety glasses to do this step is a problem.

I’m more than a little concerned now given @dan 's trivial dismissal of this. a 2year lifespan with will require me to recalibrate the system after a full teardown of the system should really scare the crap out of everyone. At $5grand for the production units without discount… that’s really not a good use of money.

IMHO; Glowforge needs to show a video of the tube swaps as it stands today… and they need to do it asap. Having customers spend this kind of money without a real clear picture of what’s involved is not good.


I’m trying to figure out why you’re trying so hard to convince other people that this is a bad deal.

Or are you trying to convince yourself?

All lasers have to have tubes replaced, and all lasers need to be re-calibrated afterwards. I think it’s great that Glowforge is giving people who are terrified of doing it an option to have it done for them. And the $500 is not much more than the tube replacement costs - just shipping for the machine, round trip. Might be a couple hundred dollars difference. (The tubes aren’t cheap.)

On the other hand, if we are moderately inclined to do so, we are going to be able to do it ourselves, and save the shipping costs. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me…it gives us a choice. And I can wait until they have time to get the machines out to tell us how to do it…unlike you, I don’t distrust them and think they are out to just screw us over.

You are getting pretty worked up over an extra $200 over a two year period - that’s $8.33 a month. Less than that if the tubes outlast two years.

Buy one less sheet of Proofgrade a month, and you can afford to have the unit shipped to them to do it right.

Glowforge isn’t likely to put out a tube-swap video just now. They’re busy. I’m sure they will before it’s needed, and on the off chance that they don’t - there are people here smart enough to figure out how to do it. :relaxed:


So proofgrade is $8.33 a sheet?:slight_smile:

Depends on the size, and the shipping costs. :wink:


It’s called sharing… IE providing alternate views to the situation.
True - all lasers have to have their tube replaced which is why Glowforge should have baked this into the design from day one.

What is at issue here is @dan has not shared the COST of replaceing the tube. Is it $200… or is it $1000 or is it 2500? We don’t know.

Did I read his update incorrectly? The actual tubecost is unknown. It’s $499 for them to do the swap… but that still doesn’t explain what that cost is.

Combine the quoted time of 2years… and the unknown of the tube cost… and the unknown amount of work needed to do the tube swap. That’s the concern.

In closing; The laser tube “issue” was so trivialized in his update that I actually missed it the first time I read it. As owners we should all be concerned with this turn of events… because the bottom line is this laser we bought may be “disposable” in 2years. Are you prepared for that?

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If sending it in costs 500$ then buying the tube will cost less. There’s your ball park number.

Otherwise here’s this handy link again:


Read it again.

It clearly says that for them to do the swap is $499… I read both of those together and it no so clearly states that the swap “labor2swap+shipping” is $499. The first bullet clearly states that the cost of the tube is not known and won’t be until they are ready to ship.

Did I miss a post by @dan where he said the $499 INCLUDES the cost of the tube?

There are multiple levels of drop test. We passed the basic one, which allows us to ship. We’re improving so we can pass higher levels, which will protect your Glowforge even better in shipping. So no, we’re still improving the packaging.


I apologize for not being clear. $499 includes the cost of the tube.


Uhm…you may want to re-read the quote you provided.

They replace it for free(tube/shipping) for free under warranty, $499 after. This includes round-trip shipping. What else is there to include or are you purposefully reading problems into it?

This time for the communities convenience:

I know that’s what you do, but this one is not necessary.


If it’s not necessarly then what would I do? :wink:


As an engineer; I tend to carefully consider the words as they are written. Bullet 1 read to me like they did not know what the cost of the tube was.
@dan has cleared up my confusion. So now that he’s been clear; I think he was saying in bulled 1 that that don’t know what the DIY tube will cost.

Now that we have clear $499 includes the tube - it’s actually a good deal to have them re-do factory calibrations on the unit. Since he said the price includes shipping both ways… it’s really is a no-brainer.

My only remaining questions are :

  1. What at the turn around time for a tube swap is (I know he won’t know yet) and

  2. if the 2yrs is a nominal lifetime, min, or max. IE I’d hope that the machine would continue to operate with reduced lasing power and rather than just “stop” like an ink cart or “toner” with fake time limits.

Learn something new all the time.

If they every want to do an original design with the glowforge, particularly one beyond a flat object, they’ll find out how useful basic math is in real life. Glowforge as an educational expense.


Remember that you will also have to keep the original shipping box to have this done, or your costs will increase from the $500.

But they should. At least be able to calculate the diameter to determine if it’s truly a Neapolitan pie or some wanna be knock-off :grinning:

(132 cm^2 and a 13 cm diameter - nice symmetry there eh?)


Being raised in Costsl Central California I can say that there are some groups who consider humans a toxic waste. There are times when I tend to agree with that outlook, especially during tourist season, when the trash accumulates on the beaches and in the water as well as along streets nearby tourist destinations. Traveling across town becomes a burden, let alone getting anything done. But this topic really is for another forum on another website. Actually, many materials n Ed to be treated with care, because our bodies are good at absorbing the nastiness that can be released from those materials when working with them. A close friend of mine now has an issue with some chemicals, he worked with bondo (polyester filler) for decades, now he has an allergic reaction to the fumes/vapor that comes from off-gassing/hardening. Everyone is different, your mileage may vary, but just stay informed, wear the right kind of gloves and a dust or vapor mask as recommended and you should survive loner than without.

There’s a chance that you might not understand why the formula works, how or why it comes to its result, if you don’t go through the mechanics. Unfortunately, during my high school math classes the teacher never explained so much how it works but when to use it. Kind of a bummer. FYI, class of 88.