Upgrade to pro, cost, slot mod

So I am on preorder for basic plus airfilter.
I noticed that it’s on the order $2250 to upgrade.

My reason to upgrade is for the passthrough and more powerful laser.

~$2000 more seems like a lot for those two features and I’m having trouble justifying that. Why does it cost so much? A slot is just a hole, maybe $0 to $5 more and a different laser tube… can that cost $2250 more?

Alternatively, what if I take my basic unit and cut a hole in the front and back so I can slide pieces in… think we will be able to do that?

Any chance to upgrade the laser at a later date to something more powerful, for a fraction of the cost?


I am sorry to hear that you have missed the opportunity to get the better upgrade pricing (during the promotional time period).

Because there was extensive discounting, it does skew the pricing. I would encourage you to use the current pricing to compare upgrading.

Also, to make the Glowforge desirable and within a general users price range, the basic model really does have basic features. (Think of the price range of a new vehicle and all the add-ons that increase the price).


The Pro has upgraded cameras and better cooling, that will allow for longer run time.


There is a cost associated with creating the alignment software necessary to make cuts match up when you shove additional material through. In addition, the slot requires an entirely separate fabrication process - different case mold, different certification process, different standards, different materials to make it safe. Different cooling system and power settings, and engineering. It’s a separate machine.

No, absolutely don’t. Aside from the safety issues, it wouldn’t do us any good without the alignment software anyway, and those who have the Pro units will use a different User Interface than those of us with the Basic machines. You’d ruin your machine for nothing. :cry:


It’s funny that we are a bunch of makers and fabricators but modding a machine is verboten :wink:

I could see having a “glowforge basic” passthrough slot without the special software to handle long runs, would still be very useful. For example I could engrave a design on a guitar head by sticking the neck in. Alternatively, I could make 10 separate engravings on a long board. All very capable by “basic” software. It’s definitely something I will think about once I get my machine.

This is coming from a guy who built his own CNC machine, not just a consumer/user. I’ll be careful and will think it through before I do anything of course. Without much detail or specs right now, it’s wait and see, need to get it in my hands, take a look, understand the thing better, measure, consider, etc


Not so much ‘verboten’ as perhaps not worth considering till it’s out of warranty.
I have similar thoughts, as do many on the forum, I believe, but to do that sort of mod, however well thought out before warranty expires, is to poke yourself in the eye with a blunt stick, IMHO.


I like your spirit, and agree that a pass-through slot on a basic could be useful. When warranties expire, you might see a bunch of Forges with cut-open bases and all sorts of fun mods.


Although let me tell you, the volume of smoke pushed against that front panel worries me about keeping any new holes sealed. It is astonishing how much smoke during my engrave last night was curling down the front panel…


It is okay for them to do what they want with their gear, but warranty, support and stability is no longer the responsibility of the manufacturer.

Cutting a slot (in the front and back) is probably possible, but the housing integrity becomes very compromised. I can cut slots in my van to accommodate wide and long material, but the leaks, drafts, exhaust fumes and ventilation issues become my problem not the mechanics at the dealership and any recalls that occur (which focuses on the areas I modified) no longer apply or are fixable.

The CNC machines can be made by the maker or purchased by the maker, but as you have learned in building yours, support can be limited and warranties are incredible specific (if at all).


Agreed! A cut open base would require careful attention to fume management!

Edit: and even more careful attention to structural integrity!

Regarding structural van hole cutting… was thinking this machine could cut the extra supports from some other material needed to glue/screw on around that hole to reinforce its strength. With some glued in rare earth magnets and some rubber or foam sheet I can easily cover those holes with a temporary panel or flap and have them be fairly airtight and back to stock anytime I want


That makes sense (and would be expected - coming from a maker).

The other issues for making a basic into a pro would be hard to quantify (let alone justify). Just getting the components (optics, tube, power supply - which are custom and patented by Glowforge) in addition to the software is at what $$$ amount. Let alone, what is your time worth? It is not free, but you are free to use it as you please.

Value versus price versus time is always the balancing act.


I personally wouldn’t upgrade the electronics or optics myself without some kind of upgrade kit from glowforge. The hole, that’s something I could see myself take on

Would be very interested in a stronger laser upgrade. But not sure what price I should expect that. $2250 is out of my range at the moment. Especially for 5W



i suspect that (aside from the minor speed increases) even most pro laser buyers won’t often be doing tasks that are unachievable by the basic.

also one thing to consider is that the basic is a class i laser, and the pro is a class iv; modifying your basic to offer similar functionality may not be allowed by your local laws (or open you up to liability issues).


@subatomic, I understand where you’re coming from. The reason the upgrade price seems so high is that you would be upgrading from a discounted basic to a full price pro. Now that the promotional pricing is over, any upgrade basically removes the discount we received for buying early. And like others have said, I’m sure modding will come once the warranty is gone. Right now we have to expect st least little issues since we’re getting gen 1 hardware. Many of us could theoretically need that warranty before it’s done, at least I, for one, won’t risk it :smile:

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Does it? This would be the first I’ve heard of that.

We know that there will be differences in the software that uses the cameras for the pro, but I’m pretty sure the cameras themselves are the same.

If you’re referring to the “upgraded optics” of the Pro, that’s referring (at least to my understanding) the optics of the laser itself, not the cameras. Tho maybe we should ask @dan to confirm assuming he hasn’t elsewhere. =P


Regarding upgrade price, I think i understand now… upgrading from discount price to full price

Silly me, thinking I could upgrade for what the incremental difference would be, or maybe even the old offer.

Makes sense! :wink:


Cutting the front would be unnecessary as it folds down anyway. Just spoof any interlock. The thing is that won’t help anything without the pro software to index the material! When you buy the pro you are playing for a lot of sw development as well as the hardware.


:smile: I wasn’t going to mention that (since I have a Pre-release through the beneficence of the GF Gods I don’t think I should mention potential mods or safety related changes in deference to their decision to let me play - want to be supportive of getting what’s designed & delivered working as well as it can). Pro users ought to get more depth that way (at least until it bumps into the back).


Fold down… no brainer. Why have a slot when you can just fold down the front! :slight_smile: For me, I’d run in my garage, and just open the big door to ventilate… :slight_smile: Good to know