Why is everybody so mad?

Hey all,

I recently purchased a glowforge and have really enjoyed it so far, and I haven’t had any issues
(and I hopefully won’t), but I’ve noticed something. A lot of people online on youtube videos
about GF, on certain parts of this forum, on various other laser-cutting forums, etc etc, seem
genuinely really disgruntled about things GF related.

Did I miss something? I guess there were production delays in the past but I received my GF
the day it was supposed to arrive, which was less than two weeks from ordering.

Did @dan not return his library books on time? Is my glowforge secretly an incubator aliens
that shoot lasers out of their eyes?

Personally, I really like my GF, and I don’t regret buying it, so it makes me sad to see so many
upset people. Can anyone shed some light on this?


Awwwww, you guessed the secret. The librarian is gonna scold him now. :wink:

Actually, a lot of folks wound up waiting a lot longer for their machines than they were expecting, so that likely still stings a little bit. But I’m delighted with mine, and so are most folks I think.

We can certainly do some awesome things with them. Definitely got my money’s worth, in my opinion.

So what have you been making with it? Post pics of your projects in the Made on a Glowforge category…we love to see new projects! :slightly_smiling_face:


It’s a combination of things. One of the most significant is that people tend not to go on forums just to post “I bought a thing and it’s fine and I have nothing to say about it”. That’s probably the vast majority of users, but the ones you end up seeing are the ones who have something to gripe about.

What that something is… well… people in some countries have been waiting for 3 years and still don’t know when they’re getting their machines. And everyone who wants the (original) air filter is still waiting. Also in the category of still waiting are some of the software features people thought they’d have at launch, like the ability to automatically split a design into parts and align them to use the passthrough slot.

There are also people who don’t like the software. They don’t like that it runs in the cloud. They don’t like that it doesn’t have design tools. They don’t like the way the files are organized. They just can’t figure it out.

Some have a bad experience of one kind or another, whether legitimate product failure or customer’s failure to read the product requirements before purchase. WiFi can be finicky and it’s hard for people to understand why their laptop works but their Glowforge is in the same room and won’t finish initializing. But it worked yesterday! Glowforge support gets overwhelmed at times and people show up to complain that their e-mail has gone unanswered for longer than they think is reasonable.

Then there are the people who compare the Glowforge to other machines. It’s not as fast or capable as X. Sometimes X costs a lot more, sometimes it’s comparable but has a different set of tradeoffs. Or it’s not as cheap or hackable as Y. It’s a true fact that you can buy a laser cutter for a fraction of the price. Whether you’re getting your money’s worth is a matter of opinion, and that’s where Internet fights are born.

Etc., etc.

I’m one of the many who haven’t had any real issues. Dan fulfilled my dream of having my own personal laser cutter. I’m happy to cut them a little slack when it comes to the rest of my wish list.


People tend to complain more than compliment. It’s been that way since forums were invented. However, it’s hard to argue that GF’s track record on product delivery leaves a bit to be desired and the frustration that elicits is justified. But the tendency is still to complain so the people complaining tend to be disproportionately represented in on-line forums.


I love my GF, but at times when things get weird or don’t work right, it’s somethings hard to not ask a question, or vent a bit. Often forums are just very negative–as others noted, some times folks just want to share a complaint with an audience–and sometimes they have very legitimate issues, and it’s great when others are able to help out before the official GF support can.

I think in part because the GF is so awesome, that when it doesn’t work, the frustration factor is that much higher–especially if used to support business activity, it can also mean down time = money issue. (Though that situation is not unique to GF).

And I heard a long time ago that if a person is happy, they might tell one friend, but if they’re unhappy, they’ll tell ten.


Aww, everyone is not nearly as mad as they use to be a few years ago. Sure, there’s still some naysayers and those who need to whip out their laser to see who’s is bigger, but not like it use to be. :slight_smile: As far as current complaints, like other have mentioned you usually only hear from those with issues and not the majority who don’t so it gives a skewed view of things.

If you search and find early news of the GF you’re going to see a lot of negativity. Here’s the thing, some of us waited YEARS to get our machines so there’s a lot of backstory and history that new folks find hard to understand. I think a lot of the early negativity came from a few different angles. One was the phenomenon of a very exclusive, expensive tool that relatively few folks in the world had access to, to all of a sudden the possibility of it opening up to “hobby” users who could have one in their living room. There was a lot of grumbling that hobbyists were going to kill themselves, destroy the laser market with their stupid trinkets and there was just no way a “toy” hobby laser could do what the commercial lasers could do blah blah blah. (Maybe comparable to the feelings of pro photographers when DSLRS went mainstream?) My take on it was that some were just threatened by the idea of their exclusive market opening up. Then there was a LOT of speculation about it being a scam becasue it just wasn’t possible to make a small home laser and GF was going to take the money and run. (Which was kind of weird becasue us pre-order folks could get a full refund up to it being shipped.)

A lot a early scathing reviews that came out before the GF was even released were obviously were written by folks who had never seen or touched a GF so all the wild speculation was pretty silly. You couldn’t even mention the GF on most generic FB laser groups becasue some folks were just so obnoxious about it; you had to hide the fact you were getting a GF if you wanted to ask a question so most of us stayed in our safer forum. A lot of the FB folks just wouldn’t/couldn’t acknowledge that not everyone had the same wants or needs and the GF was a viable alternative for some folks. Luckily most of that kind of grumbling has gone away now becasue the proof is in the pudding.

The biggest complaint that was very valid was the delay in getting the machine developed as it took years longer than anticipated and GF did not handle it very well. Production dates were promised and then they’d slip by and they’d announce another production date. Early communication was not their strong suit to say the least, but Dan humbly took all the criticism with class and his demeanor earned my trust and kept me from getting a refund. The delays were excruciating though and people were pissed and rightfully so, but the feeling of most who stuck around seemed to be that they’d rather have it done right than quickly. The fact is we still don’t have all the promised software capabilities and some of them likely won’t ever happen, but we’re getting closer to the original promised product all the time. I personally was very happy with my GF right out of the gate and I found it worth every dime. I think it’s a great machine and I find GF to be one of the most ethical companies I’ve ever dealt with. Funny thing is, when I post one of my creations in a laser group now and someone asks what machine I have and I say a GF, no one talks shite any more. :smirk:


Couldn’t agree with @chris1 more in his response. Crabby voices and trolls do seem to get the attention. But there has been a fair bit of delay and unmet expectations.

Still am very satisfied with my basic. It is a very useful machine. Does require some technical literacy. It cuts and engraves very precisely. My Basic for the price is certainly something I’d recommend for any home crafter or maker. It just makes precision so easy.


Most of it is expectation vs reality. Early backers, like myself, expected to have their machines within months, but that turned into years. When it did arrive years later, many features were not present, and the expectation of being able to just jump straight into this laser turned into the reality of actually needing to learn how to use it - quirks and all. I think many people have a right to feel the way they do sometimes, as there are legitimate problems that can deflate their enthusiasm rather quickly, and other times it’s blown out of proportion, but in any case, it’s going to happen with everything, such is the way with human nature.

I think now is a great time to buy one, and even through the rough patches I’ve had with the company in the past, I’ve always recommended them to anybody curious about owning a personal laser. There has never been a time when I regretted buying this machine, and very often I would like to buy a second, but reason (aka my wife) won’t allow me to. Hangout here more often and you’ll see there are a lot more positive posts being made than negative ones :+1:t4:


What I have seen is the divide between hardware geeks that dissemble a hard drive and a few other mechanical items and build their own laser engravers or get a Chinese machine and rebuild all the parts that don’t work. They spend a couple hundred dollars and have amazing machines only they could manage to operate.

For those of us with graphic arts skills but not the programming or building skills to have a machine that can be up and running in an hour of receiving it without the chops to build our own offends them. I am still struggling to get a high end 3D printer to the point I can even plug it in, so I cannot imagine if I had purchased one of the other lasers.


All a matter of perspective.
Some people view the world with hope, others find fault like there is a reward for it. How people react in a given situation will tell you a lot about how they see the world, and the depth of their experience.


Aside from wifi problems, stuck calibration, non-specific problems that require a new machine (hard to get a perspective on damaged or broken units that need replacing), the Glowforge is such a useful tool. It is simple to use, once you understand the workflow. That it vents out a window and doesn’t need extra cooling nor some other air assist machine allows it to fit in lots of places with minimal worry. That’s not going to work for everybody, but would for most, I’d say.

Precision cutting of little things on a variety of materials is so nice to have.

The most crucial thing for using the Glowforge isn’t the setup or the materials. If you can’t design your own things, you are missing out on a huge benefit.

I am always surprised that posts using the Trace feature do not show up regularly. There may be many reasons for this, but I wonder what the mothership has as far as metrics of the use of the Trace function. Is that a big plus for use or is it mainly a marketing point?


I’ve used it exactly once – when my granddaughter colored and cut out an 18" flower for her mom at school, and was sad that it kept flopping over. We used the trace feature to make a draftboard backing for it so it would stand up properly.

For the right use case, it’s an awesome feature.


I only use it when I’m doing a MakerFaire or school display of laser tech. It always works well and allows folks to customize things so they can take home something they lasered - I even have them press the glowing white button :slightly_smiling_face:


I have only used it a few times, but initially I thought I would use it a lot since I had minimal experience with design software.
When I was graced with a PRU I had such fun exploring the machine’s capability, and my first trace was from my pixel C tablet… (wish I had kept that unfinished crumb tray)

It worked great once I taped over the camera flash to eliminate a glare that resulted in washed out spots in the image.
It really is a neat innovation being able to scan in an image right in the machine. I had planned to trace tools to do a foam cut for my toolbox, alas entropy in there has only continued to increase.


I honestly could care less about the shipping delay, heck the fact that we eventually received a real product was pretty neat. When I back any project or similarly to any other investment I assume the risk that there is a change I will loose all my money.

My only issues have ever been about all the false promises that were used during the initial pitch. To those new into the world of laser engravers the pitch of a “3D laser printer” seemed far fetched, yet intriguing. It was quickly became understood that many of the items in the original video weren’t technically possible to make solely with this machine. Still we went ahead and put our money down, what could go wrong they are going to open source the software and build an amazing open maker community.

Personally, we waited patiently for a few years then a machine arrived at our doorstep. Amazed our money didn’t go to waste as it has with other ventures. Now still a few years after receiving our machine its frustrating to see how little the software has evolved, that there is still an online requirement, the poor quality and hard to use engrave features, the recent discussions about a subscription model is disheartening (even though it all conjecture), the lack of delivering on their open source commitment (this was a huge selling point for me, I’m a tinkerer at heart), putting all ideas in a mythical hopper, the inability to operate in a mildly warm summer room (glad to live in the north), and having a useless passthrough slot. I could also point out that the overall cut size was supposed to be 12"x20" and it now sits at 11"x19" and that the recent discussions about forum moderation are worrying.

I have learned a lot about CNC machines in general through this process and this machine was an amazing leap into home manufacturing for us. For this I am thankful. I’ve learned what to look for in machines from what stepper motors are good, why being able to zero your x, y, z manually is a must, that a fixed camera on a lid that moves once per print is a terrible idea, what the industry interop standards are, and what open software must be supported to truly be part of the maker community.

In short, I’m not mad, a little disappointed and since buying this machine we’ve upgraded our workshop to a full-size laser table along with a 4’ x 8’ routing table. We never would have made this leap without buying a GlowForge first, I do however wish that it had more use in my day to day life than it currently does.

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I have always gone the route of the primitive, throwing pots, blowing glass, casting jewelry, carving wood etc. but stepper motors, electronics, etc. not so much. so it was the designing for such as myself was the reason I spent 10 times the bottom price for the Glowforge. I understood that it operated off the cloud as much of the operating system was not in the machine and thus changes in programming would be applied in real time.

I was familiar with Blender and Gimp but not so much with Inkscape. I had an early CNC so was familiar with g-code but the program for working it was selling new upgrades every few months for hundreds of dollars and I never got much use out of it and missing a year of upgrades meant you were as cut off as never purchasing it at all, and the electronics of the mill never worked right so it was really an ordinary mill with a 5"x 3" x 2" build volume and no finer detail than the diameter of the tool that as you went to half the diameter the travel distance went up 5 times at 1/4 the speed and so 20 times as long to do the job, so no real corners all for the same price as the Glowforge.

With success with the Glowforge I bought a fairly expensive 3D printer and two months later have not proceeded enough that I can plug it in but the promise of operating over Wifi is clearly not available without an added Arduino board and all the open-source operating systems obviously take a tinkerers heart and extreme care that the machine does not commit suicide.

Please excuse the bad grammar etc as I have for a time only one eye as the other just had surgery and the sight in the other is not doing well this morning.

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I have to say. I love BEAMER. I am sorry to say that while I have had him in my possession for nearly 2 years. I have barely gotten to use him. I had real life consume vast quantities of wouldbe beamering time.

there is still an online requirement,

True – the GF was designed from the very start to offboard most of the computational burden. It was never a secret, and not once did they say otherwise. I am totally gobsmacked every time someone kvetches about this. “Gee, I bought a Prius and am bitterly disappointed that it still has not turned into a Tesla!”

the poor quality and hard to use engrave features

I must have been using it wrong for the past two years. If only I had known my engravings were poor :scream:. Do you have an example that proves the GF is at fault?

the recent discussions about a subscription model is disheartening (even though it all conjecture),

GF has from day one said that some features would likely be available by subscription. It was in the ToS every purchaser agrees to. You read it, right?

the lack of delivering on their open source commitment (this was a huge selling point for me, I’m a tinkerer at heart)

As multiple people have mentioned, the firmware has been released, which is what was promised. They never obligated themselves to open-source anything else.

putting all ideas in a mythical hopper

Mythical? Select Units, Set Focus, drag-n-drop, Pause Mode, and many more features were all hopperized suggestions. They don’t seem mythical to me. YMMV, of course. My favorite feature? Mute User.

the inability to operate in a mildly warm summer room (glad to live in the north)

Again, the temp range specs were published quite early on (well before the first delivery), so buyers had plenty of time to cancel their orders once they measured the ambient temperature in their home/shop/school.

I don’t mean for this to come across as mean, it’s just weird to complain about things that are either not demonstrably true or would have been obvious to anyone who read the specs & ToS. ¯\(ツ)/¯


Now, after years of being on this forum it’s still frustrating when people who know better continue to repeat falsehoods and refuse to acknowledge what they might have thought they bought wasn’t what was promised or sold.

For instance: “the lack of delivering on their open source commitment” - Truth: they delivered this and as a self-proclaimed follower of Scott’s Openglow forum you should have known that a year ago. However, it was brought to your attention in your last post about it several days ago and you acknowledged that you missed the announcement. Yet here you are repeating the very thing you know to be untrue.

As to your desire for an alternative to the online model, it was never advertised to be anything but a cloud attached device. No amount of repeating your dissatisfaction with that model will change desire to promise. It was not advertised so it is not a failed delivery item. You were sold a cloud connected machine and that’s what you got. I wish it printed money but it doesn’t and that’s not a failed delivery item either.

As for “the hard to use engrave features”, that seems to be a personal issue. Tens of thousands of people are able to use it most effectively. Perhaps your frustration with it suggests it’s designed for someone who thinks differently and thus the machine isn’t the right one for you. Similar to how some people can’t wrap their heads around 3D design but are wizards at Adobe Illustrator.

As for being disheartened by the recent discussion of a completely forum-member - not GF sourced - made-up supposition (as you noted “conjecture”) that’s another thing that’s on you. Stephen Covey (the 7 Habits book author) once told me that while I can’t control what other people do or how they act, I can control how I react. So I chose not to get my shorts in a twist over the conjectured possibility of a subscription model, distasteful as I might find it. I find his advice valuable every day. Perhaps it might be something worth reflecting on.

Or not, YMMV and I don’t presume to tell you what to do or how to act. Except where you are not being truthful or deliberately obfuscating facts. I do want to make sure the record is corrected so they don’t stand unchallenged to be potentially believed and repeated by someone who has not participated in the forums and don’t know the truth and take your comments at face value.

You should feel free to express your dissatisfaction with the slow pace of GF’s delivery on their marketing promises as well as weigh in with suggestions for improvements as many others have done. That’s completely consistent with the forum’s terms of conduct and established practice. Many of us will wholeheartedly agree with you. However, you can expect to be called out when presenting “facts” that aren’t.


Not directly, but it could certainly make certain aspects of it easier.