About to go LIVE in our Makerspace

So we are just a couple of weeks away from launching the public access to our Glowforge Pro in our makerspace, DIYcave. We still have a couple of headaches/concerns to work out (so if you need a Beta tester for solutions on any of these fixes Dan, we are happy to help) such as: monitoring machine operating time (it’s got to be tracked somewhere) for scheduled cleaning and maintenance, lower privilege access so people cannot give each other admin accounts, an official TOC so that we can ensure that the machine pays for it’s own use, and others.

Has anyone figured out effective work arounds for any of these issues for now? We are providing certification for users, plus an agreement that (among other things) prohibits them from creating additional accounts.

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Only problem here is that how often you need to clean it depends on what you’ve been cutting. The manual says every 40 hours, but if you’re cutting something particularly dirty I think you should be doing it more often. And if all you ever do is mark unmasked metals and stone, you may never need to clean it.

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I did a lot of engraving and cutting over the 8 months I had a pre-release glowforge, and at around 7 months in I noticed more odor from the laser, and subsequently noticed air being pushed out of the cracks around the door and lid.

Turned out the exhaust fan grill was face loaded with bits of masking and powdery smoke residue.
There are two fans in the machine, one intake on the right side and the exhaust fan on the left rear. The exhaust fan moves more CFM by design, so there is a negative pressure inside the machine during operation, which means all the cracks in the case are pulling air in - until that exhaust fan grill gets restricted. Then you will start noticing more smell. That’s when you will need to clean that grill, fan blades and I recommend cleaning the air assist fan blades also at that time.
I also check and clean my optics more frequently than the recommended 40 hours.

Good luck with your maker space!

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I got my replacement GF mid-december, and I just had to clean the exhaust fan grill yesterday. I smelled wood smoke during a cut (which had not happened at all since I dialed in my exhaust run), so after the cut ended I pulled the exhaust hose… the grill was probably 80% blocked up. Low power vac didn’t even budge the debris by itself, so I used the dull end of a pokey stick (kabob skewer) to break the clumps apart first.

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Yeah, that’s exactly what I did. I was pleased the deposit was loose and broke right up.
Wow! Man, you must have really been getting after it. It took me about 7 months to create that problem, and I had two jobs of 1,000 pieces each engraved both sides - plus everything else I did.

It was gradual, so much so that the increase in smell really didn’t register, and even the fact that I could feel air blowing out of the door cracks didn’t click, then one day I walked into the shop after a job and there was a visible haze.
“All Stop”. Something was wrong, and it was time to figure it out. I remember the relief when I pulled that hose and saw that grill almost completely occluded.

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I feel like I run it for most of the day, most days. So many hour+plus engraves that I have started five minutes before I should have closed for the day… and quite a few of those that want “just one more thing” before I close the file and lose my registration.

The other thing, which I didn’t notice until after cleaning, was that it had gotten quite a bit louder. I wish I had done a decibel reading before and after. Next time.

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So frequent cleaning of the exhaust system seems like it needs to be added to the list. Excellent feedback, thank you!

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Aaron,
You might want to consider using a power monitor to measure machine usage time:


That way could get both usage time as well as power. Maybe that would give insight into how ‘heavily’ the :glowforge: is being used as well. Also might make an interesting project for a makerspace.

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That’s actually a very useful item, for many things. Thanks for the recommendation! In addition, I do think that the Glowforge itself has the ability to keep track of job time, and it should be accessible in the dashboard. Perhaps they will turn that feature on eventually? At least for Makerspaces?