Replacement x axis ribbon cable

Our Glowforge Basic had its x axis ribbon cable wear out and split in half. We were able to solder some thin wires to it and tape it back together with reinforcement, but to avoid additional stress on it we’re only able to safely use the left half of the cutting area now. We came across this detailed guide for replacing the cable, but can’t find any specifications on it anywhere, and we’re hesitant to take it out to measure it in case we damage it further in the process.

Does anyone know the specs on this cable? I have found that it is 20 pin, but can’t figure out what connector and what length etc. Any help is appreciated, thanks!

Glowforge should be able to provide you with that cable, assuming that they have any in stock. They seem to fail pretty frequently.

Also, there were some good docs on the GF hardware that were available here, but I don’t see them on this site now. Maybe they are on GitHub?

The Glowforge assembly is a 51" (1295mm) 20 Conductor 0.050" (1.27mm) Flat Flex Cable with TE Connectivity AMPMODU System 50 connectors.

The cable connectors are p/n 1-487545-7 (DigiKey), and PCB receptacles are p/n 5-104074-4 (DigiKey).

DigiKey sells a 500’ roll of the cable. I was unable to locate a source that sells it in any reasonable length that would fit this application. @jamesdhatch mentioned he was going to bite the bullet and buy a 500’ roll. If he did, he may be interested in selling some lengths of it.

The main issue here is one of serviceability. The path that the cable takes is long, winding, and will not likely be easy to replace without major effort:

A better solution might be to get a shorter ready-made cable assembly and connect it the to the head. Then cut off the bad part of the existing cable, put a new connector on it, and use a header to plug the two together.

Also, that black aluminum guide is coated with a slightly rough surface. It would probably be a good idea to put some duct tape along that bottom surface to reduce the cable wear.

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Indeed I did. Still have 480 ft left :slightly_smiling_face:

I looked at the premade cable option - but could only find it in a couple of short (6 and 9 inches). Depending on where the break is in the cable, that might leave the new connectors in a bad position for the bending it does as it travels back & forth. But if it’s in a place that won’t result in the connectors being in the middle of a bend, using one of those cables would be easier to install as you could do the fix without taking the left side apart & fishing the cable along the twists it takes.

Anyone who wants to replace the whole cable and wants some of the cable can just toss me a PM.

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Hello all,

So I am assuming Glowforge has told you guys that there is absolutely no way they will sell this cable under any circumstances to anyone ever.?

The more I learn about my very expensive decisions to buy a GF Pro the more I wished I had bought something I could self service without having to go way off the reservation to do it… Feeling annoyed at the moment…

James, I will be PM’ing you as I would like to buy a suitable length of this cable from you.

I asked them, they said that part wasn’t available as a replacement part and wanted me to ship them the unit. Since I’m in Aruba, the shipping would be expensive and they would probably try to charge import taxes on it when it came back.

Hi James, I would love to get some of your cable, maybe about 30 feet if you can. I’m located in Aruba, but I have a shipper in Miami if it’s easier to send it there. Let me know if that’s ok and how and how much I should pay you for it. Thanks!

Glowforge has a very odd way of doing business to my mind. With over 100 employees now, you’d think one of them could be allocated to facilitating spare parts replacement. Hopefully James can help you out.

I had a small fire and my cable was damaged but temporarily salvageable. It is only a matter of time before I need to replace it. I was told the same thing from Glowforge. They insisted it was not a user serviceable part and wanted me to ship it to them for a round trip of $400.

I think user-serviceable means you can do the fix without any disassembly other than removal of the broken part.

When I see some of the questions and problems on the board that might be a good idea for most folks :blush:

But they should have an option for those of us coming from the K40 and other lasers where it was pretty much a given we’d be able to tear down and reassemble our machines.

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