Air assist and flame reduction

I am an engraver by trade. I run multiple CO2 laser engravers (Epilog and Universals) and they all have dedicated air assists to not only clean the surface while engraving but to cool the substrate. I have not read anything about how Glowforge deals with these issues. I have watched your videos and noticed a lot of surface flaming on the substrates you have been vector cutting yet there seems to be no burning and minimal smoke. From my experience the air assist would be essential in keeping smoke away from your lenses. Can you explain? Thank you.

Also can’t wait to get my hands on the pro model I ordered. The Glowforges capabilities are impressive.



Thanks for the kind words! We only added air assist recently, so many earlier videos didn’t have it. We have both purge air and air assist.


For those of us new to laser cutting… what’s the difference between purge air and air assist?

Air assist blows a strong stream of air directly into the cut, which helps keep things clean and prevent too much burning. Purge sucks the smoke and fumes out of the box.


Actually, there are a bunch of things going on (and terminology varies). What we use:

  • Air assist blows on the cut and helps clear debris
  • Purge air blows clean air on the optics to keep them from getting dirty
  • Intake air brings fresh air into the case
  • Exhaust air blows air out of the case
  • Cooling air blows over things that get hot
    it gets confusing. : ) one of the ways we were able to lower the cost versus a traditional laser was by combining subsystems - like the exhaust also does cooling.

On other laser systems, I remember having to be hooked up to shop air (shop air where I was at was about 90psi, but I’m not sure if the machine had a pressure reducing valve in there at all). It seemed like the air assist also helped to blow out flames (my working theory on this is that despite it blowing oxygen on the flame, the speed at which it blew “knocked” the flame off of it’s fuel). @dan, is the air assist in the Glowforge going to require “shop air”? If not, does the air assist come from a muffin fan that produces enough air flow to reduce the flame? As you mentioned, the earlier videos didn’t have the air assist and I don’t recall seeing a recent video (I get each new post in all discussions sent to my email, and while I review most of them, there are some that slip by…I also tried searching, which lead me to here…if I missed something, just share the link)! Thanks!

No external air hookup for the air assist or cooling. Ambient air only. [quote=“dan, post:5, topic:70, full:true”]
Thanks for all the great questions! No removable bottom, rotary axis, or tilting z to announce yet. There’s air assist in place already although it doesn’t have an external hookup, so it’s just ambient air.

That’s great to hear… neither of my lasers have air assist, only purge so this will be a treat!! lol

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These machines are going to relieve us of much work you are accustomed to, I expect you will use the big guns only when you must.

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Ill probably still only use it for small jobs though. I’m guessing my tubes and the two bigger machines will probably last a lot longer

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I’ll be curious how you feel about that after you’ve used the UI @Tony created for you. :slight_smile:



Not as curious as the rest of us.


Got to love that dry humor!

Curious - Is there any benefit of the air assist nozzle being closer to the material? I’ve kinda wondered about extending the nozzle to almost touching to see if it totally kills all smoke residue on the top surface when cutting.

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Interesting thought. I’d be curious to hear some thoughts on this. @dan any insight?

EDIT: Replying to @Tinkeringmonkey’s last comment. couldn’t figure out how to quote😜

I don’t have any good insight here, I’m afraid.

Highlight. It’ll pop over as a button.