Why you should not buy a Glowforge

Dear Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Gosselin

I am writing to you because I think it is important others to know about my experience with our Glowforge Pro. I am a Digital Design and Fabrication Teacher at High Tech High in San Diego, California. I was fortunate enough to see the launch of Glowforge at MakerCon in September 2015. My teaching partner and I pooled two years of our classroom budgets in order to purchase a Glowforge Pro during the Kickstarter campaign. On October 22nd, 2015 we submitted our order and paid $4170.00.

We waited more than two years for our printer to arrive. All that time, we remained loyal to your company. Instead of becoming frustrated with the repeated shipping promises and delays, we channeled our energy into positive expectations and plans for all the wonderful projects we were going to do with our students.

Our first Glowforge did everything we were hoping it would do, until suddenly it didn’t. Approximately six months after it arrived, it stopped working. We sent it back and received a replacement. Our second machine lived a little bit longer…about 8 months. It was replaced in April of 2019. About a month ago, this machine also stopped working. Just to summarize, we have had three Glowgforge Pro machines in less than two years. The machine didn’t even last long enough for us to receive the filter. It is scheduled to be shipped to us in January 2020.

After spending $200 to send the printer back to Glowforge, we have been informed that it is not fixable, nor will it be replaced. I was offered a discount on a refurbished unit, but at this point, I have lost confidence in your product. I work in a Title 1 school, and have a yearly budget of $1200 to purchase materials for 116 students. The $3800 price for a refurbished unit that has a lifespan of less than one year does not sound like a good deal to me.

I also want to give you a little bit of background on our school and how our projects have helped to market your product. As I mentioned earlier, I teach at High Tech High in San Diego, California. High Tech is the subject of the documentary “Most Likely To Succeed”. The films focus is on education in America and has inspired school communities to re-imagine what students and teachers are capable of doing. We are Project Based School that is looked at as a model for educators looking for innovative ways to teach students. We have over 7000 visitors a year and host a Deeper Learning Conference each spring that brings an additional 2000 educators from around the world to our amazing school. For the past two years, the projects I have made with our Glowforge, have been featured in numerous newspaper articles, highlighted at two professional conferences and was the most popular session at our Deeper Learning Conference Makerspace last spring. I have been a very vocal supporter of this printer and all the amazing opportunities it has opened up for my students. I have recommended it to hundreds of educators and school district administrators. I love so many things about this laser cutter and really wanted it to be a solution to the prototyping needs of our classroom.

In closing, I appreciate you taking the time to read this letter and hopefully you understand why we will not be moving forward with the purchase of the $3800.00 refurbished unit. I will contact the sales department later today to ask for a refund for the filter unit we have yet to receive.


Carrie Lawrence
Moxie Lab
High Tech High

Ummmm… You already said all of this.


I think they would have better luck if they just came out and asked glowforge to donate a unit to their school.

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Here’s my comment on your duplicate thread. There are things that can render a Glowforge unfixable that have nothing to do with the quality of the device.

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I know that that is possible, but we haven’t processed anything but 1/4 plywood, and Glowforge materials. My first thought was that this could possibly be a design flaw with the exhaust fan and the inability to keep it clean… hopefully something helped by the undelivered filter??? I am not new to laser cutting…we also have a Universal PL6.50. We have been running that one for almost 10 years. With both machines, we are pretty particular about cleaning multiple times a day. Lenses for the Universal run a few hundred dollars if you have to replace.

I’m sorry that your Glowforge didn’t work properly – I’m going to close this thread, but will reply to your email in a few minutes when I’ve finished reviewing everything!