New (Refurbished) Glowforge

I received one of the original Crowd Funded Glowforge laser cutters  (oh, sorry, “3D laser printer”) in November of 2017. Other than the lid glue detaching from both the front handle and rear hinges in 2019 and 2020, it has worked very nicely. However, I did notice that the power of the unit was gradually decreasing over time in 2019 (I had to use higher and higher power settings to cut through the same wood).

I thought perhaps the lenses needed cleaning, and when the pandemic hit just let it sit for 8 months, and by the end of 2020 the laser tube was not making a beam powerful enough to see flashing on wood, let alone engrave anything at all.   I assume this is because the CO2 had leaked out (CO2 laser tubes with last a variable amount of time, depending upon the quality of the seals).  [This was a shelf life issue, not an hours of use issue, as I actually use the unit quite infrequently.]

This is what a 3 year old laser tube looks like when the Glowforge isn’t able to engrave or cut….

I was hoping that the laser tube would last longer than 2 years, but it appears that this lifespan is reasonable for this type of laser cutter.   I was hoping that Glowforge would offer a “customer installed” laser tube replacement, but no such luck. You have to ship the unit to them for “repair”.   [They only come with a 1 year warranty.]

They did offer me a great deal for exchanging my old unit for a (new to me) refurbished unit with a 90 day warranty (the same warranty they offer on repairs) for a total of $499 ($299 repair + $200 shipping both ways). They claim shipping would normally be $400 both ways, but offered me a $200 discount on the shipping.   They pointed out that this was a special one time deal because “We are upgrading to an expanded repair facility. That transition will take a while, and so rather than make you wait, we’re providing newly refurbished replacement printers.” and that “This option will expire once we have our new repair process in place. ” so you should not expect to be able to receive the same deal.

I double checked with them that having epoxied the glass back to both the hinge and handle wouldn’t disqualify the unit for this deal (sending them the above links) and they said it was fine, which was quite charitable of them.

I kind of suspect that the original Glowforge unit I received as part of the Crowd Funding campaign might have had some known issues (such as the lid adhesive failing, or perhaps shortened life on the laser tube?) which might be why they are offering to swap it out with one of their newer models.     [At least one other person on the GlowForge customer forums had received the same deal after their lid glass adhesive had detached.] The new model I received had subtle “white” dots on the lid, while my original one had a darker color scheme.

I’m hopeful that the new model will last at least two more years.     The alternative is a generic $600 Chinese laser cutter, which is more user serviceable with easy spare parts availability, but does not have all of the nice Glowforge features (online web-app that works with Linux, automatic settings for Glowforge sold “proofgrade” material, bed camera for positioning, etc….)

I have to say, the new GlowForge branded box looks a lot nicer than the original box. You DID save you giant box and all shipping supplies, right? Because they charge you $250 for the box/shipping supplies if you don’t keep them…I’m not missing the bed space of my pickup truck just yet, but it was a tight fit in the Leaf. (Also, why does every GlowForge box I receive only have 3 of the 4 locking handles installed when I receive it?)

2 thoughts on “New (Refurbished) Glowforge

  1. Pingback: My Glowforge Glass Lid Detached! | Jay's Technical Talk

  2. Pingback: Gluing the glass lid back on my Glowforge | Jay's Technical Talk

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