WTH? Glowforge sold me a refurbished unit!

Finally, after two years and 3 days, I received my Glowforge. The box looked in near perfect condition except for missing 2 of the 4 plastic handles as others here have stated. After taking it out of the box, I did notice a strange amount of fingerprints and crud on the glass. The lid also is very snug to open and close.

I went through the setup process, which went smoothly, but I haven’t printed anything because I don’t have the vent set up yet. I decided that I’m going to build an aluminum extrusion base on heavy duty casters so I can easily move it around, so I turned the unit on its side to see what the base looks like. That’s when I realized that the Glowforge I got was definitely not a brand-spanking new one.

There are scratches near both front door hinges, some touch-up paint on the bottom front edge, and grease and dirt underneath.

I know that my Glowforge will eventually show signs of use, but I did invest in a brand new unit, not one that had been put together from the used parts bin. Like I said, I haven’t printed anything yet, so I don’t know if there are any other issues.

I’m a bit disappointed to say the least. I don’t know if I should ask for a replacement. After waiting so long that the idea of waiting again is not really appealing – not to mention that I took time off work so I could be home to sign for the UPS delivery. :angry:

What do you think I should do?


I would be a bit ticked off. I would either ask for an incentive if you don’t want to send it back like extended warranty and materials.

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Definitely return it. Those things aren’t acceptable, regardless of the source or reason.

The lid is very snug to open and close as reported by most folks and in my experience. Since the lid camera relies is a reference point, the lit needs to be fairly static in the closed position.

The cosmetic issues have been brought up, but I assumed those were of manufacturing issues and not from refurbishment. Is it the case that shows most signs? How is the tube and the head?

One way to check is the amount of wear and grit on the rails. Is there a big buildup if you wipe your finger on the gantry rails or the side rails? How does the exhaust look? Lots of soot? Dirty there?

The bottom pics look quite interesting? I wonder if it missed a cleaning step after testing?


Car manufacturers test each car they build and some are assembled by hand. I don’t think you would expect to buy a new car with visible paint patches because of it though.


what scratch?

giphy (1)


I’d be shocked if they intentionally shipped you a refurbished unit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they mistakenly shipped you a used one. Is the crumb tray silver or black? Is it dirty as well?

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It was a new black tray. What I suspect is that they assembled my Glowforge using a combination of new and used parts they had laying around. The touch-up paint was a clear indication that they were trying to cover up the fact that this was not a new enclosure. But why only touch up on the bottom edge and leave the other, more obvious, scratches visible?

That doesn’t look like paint intended to cover up. To me it looks like it scraped across a painted surface and picked up some of the paint. Same with the scratches on the underside of the lid by the door.

No idea what the brown gunk is. Definitely looks like your unit wasn’t given the proper care at the factory. I doubt this is what Glowforge intended you to get when you opened your unit. I recommend sending support an email with the photos and ask them what’s up.

One other thought: did it appear that the box was factory-sealed (meaning, was the paper tape along the bottom edges still intact?) Might have been opened up for “inspection”?


This is already in Problems and Support. 1 ticket per issue is easier to manage than multiple. Opening a 2nd ticket in an alternate way tends to get things a little confused.


That’s definitely not acceptable

It also gets the thread locked.


Maybe the crappy iPhone pic doesn’t convey it properly. If you looked at it in person, you could tell it was painted on. The scratches are on the lower, unmovable part of the front panel, not the hinged front door itself. This tells me that the unit was probably pushed across a rough surface while resting on its front side.

Also, the box was sealed with the original paper tape along the two long sides. There are no signs that it had been reopened.

I didn’t mention it before, but the two long black rubber strips across the bottom were coming off in about 4 to 5 locations. The two bottom arrows of the second picture show where the strips had rolled off their channel and the adhesive residue had picked up more dirt along the edges.

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Thanks for posting. Personally, I would send it back. I have a pretty high threshold for what’s “good enough” but when I get my GlowForge it has got to be factory fresh. It would bug me Forever if I thought it had been returned from someone else.
Sorry you have to deal with this, it’s got to be disappointing.


I’m really surprised they’re letting these things get shipped out as new Glowforges. Sure, it’s not like a few scuffs and splotches of chocolate syrup or motor oil are going to prevent you from using your laser cutter, but these blemishes aren’t fitting with the (currently being promoted) marketing. I’m assuming engine degreaser isn’t mentioned anywhere in the quick-setup guide.

Some of those dirty patches look like they could be fixed with a wet rag. I’ve willingly bought factory-seconds and refurbished items before but I cannot recall having ever received anything that appeared as though it didn’t even get a cursory wipedown before being shipped out.


Aesthetics aside (And please don’t think I’m minimizing the frustration in receiving an un aesthetically pleasing unit)

Refurbished units in most cases are superior to ‘new’ units. Many manufacturers are opting to do very limited / basic testing and pushing more heavy testing out to the end user. It’s often easier for them to deal with a return than slow down production to do a full test suite. Not saying this is a ‘good’ practice; but is something I’ve seen the industry go to.

So why are refurbs better? Because now you have a unit that was ‘tested’ ; returned to the manufactuer; tested again to verify failure; repaired to factory specs; then re-tested again to ensure the issue has been resolved.

Just offering another perspective.


Being an electrical engineer who develops hardware and software test fixtures, I fully concur with this statement. This is why I have bought several Apple computers from the Apple Refurb store. However, doing so does not involve an expectation that you are getting a new product and always includes a healthy discount that reflects this.

As I stated before, I don’t really suspect that I received truly a “refurbished” unit. My guess is that my GF was cobbled together from new components and a recycled enclosure that had been used during the Beta testing. I haven’t printed anything yet, so I don’t know if any other problems lurk waiting to be uncovered. I just know that this was not what I expected after waiting for literally 2 years from when I plunked down a large chunk of change.


Only if product testing involves being dragged behind a pickup truck. :grin:


When I read the thread title, I was expecting to see a used bed, dust and debris all thru out the unit, belt wear or an exhaust fan filled with build up.

What I see above is laziness of when that unit was moved from station to station.


Yes, but that title made you click on it and read it. :wink:

That being said, I think we have pretty much established that people have different thresholds of what they might consider acceptable “blemishes” on a brand new $4000 device.