Air Assist Warning Needs A Pause

Dan even made a big deal of how they went with the more expensive steel crumb tray over aluminum because it’s magnetic.

The official position is to use pieces of extra PG scraps to weigh down warped material which is just silly.

Using pins can’t have been a design factor as they didn’t exist until a forum member invented them. The magnet/fan issue is an unintended consequences of the monitoring they’re doing of the machine & its components.


Ok, so I’m not crazy! That’s how I felt too…I remember the talk about upgrading the crumb tray to steel so it was magnetic too. And you’re right…the pins were not even invented until the PRUs were in the wild.

Oh, let me get some scraps of acrylic and 1/8" plywood to hold down warped material. ha ha ha. Silly is right.


Just a lot of little things that add up to a lot of frustration. A few weeks back, I was engraving some little plaques to hand out to my Patreon supporters as a thank you. I was using Proofgrade cherry veneer, and as it was engraving, everything looked good. I didn’t mess with the settings at all because it was proofgrade.

Well, I go to peel off the masking and the engrave is barely visible. It hardly even went through the paper. The whole sheet was ruined, since I had looked at the test piece and it appeared fine, so I engraved the rest of them.

I contacted support, and they ultimately gave me a credit for the material, but it seriously took about 2 weeks of going back and forth.

There are some other frustrations, but they’re not coming to mind at the moment.

I think one large frustration is being a non-designer. I’m not the first person who has had to learn a design program. I don’t think I’m that much of a snowflake. ha. I’ve just had a hard time with it. There’s just enough time to learn a few things here or there, and then I have to move on to something else. Looking back, I have learned a lot about this whole process and how to use a lot of these tools though.


Focused searches are your friend, then. A search of Problems and Support for what you’re having trouble with (e.g. “air assist error”) will often turn up an answer without having to spend hours reading. :slight_smile:

I get that, but I didn’t know I needed to search. I was following the directions on screen by the company to troubleshoot.

i suggest a different kind of magnet, a hard drive magnet. the metal plate on top dissipates the magnetism on top of the material, but still allows it to stick to the crumb tray below. i’ve (knock on wood) never seen the fan error and i have HDD magnets anywhere on the crumb tray.

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It’s just become second nature to me to search online and see what others have experienced when I have a problem. I spent too much time doing user support to expect ANY user manual to be able to anticipate all the ways users might be able to make something fail, but with enough users out there online, you can almost always find some who have had your problem and figured out what to do about it. :wink:


It’s the several days you spend searching through all the information on the Internet that is not your problem - still frustrating.

Every once in a while the glowforge misbehaves. For me it’s usually in the processing of files or not staying connected to my WiFi. The other day it refused to recognize a fill as an engrave until I turned off the stroke. Is it just me misremembering, or didn’t it used to prioritize fill over stroke? This example didn’t cause any real frustration, I just thought it odd and quickly changed the file. But the day I ran into the magnet issue there was plenty of frustration. There were plenty of ways around this including a message in the GFUI that says you can’t run over strong magnets anymore and actually linking to the instructions for cleaning the air assist fan instead of the instructions for the head fan. Neither of these are resource intensive tasks to implement and you have to wonder how the second one made it past QA. Did they not check the link or do they not know how many fans their machine has?


I do think it’s a bit challenging that not all of the announcements appear in the same spot in the forum. I also think we should have the option to get them via email. But since I’m on here pretty much daily, it’s not something that impacts me enough to complain about.

I always assume that my problem is one that someone else has had, but I also know that searching for something doesn’t mean you’ll find it.

Glad you figured out what was going on and that it is an easy fix!

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Some of my magnets are strong enough that the fan actually makes them move. Fortunately the few times I noticed this happening it did not cause a fan error nor a problem in the cut.

But, it was enough to make me far less willing to use magnets in general. Or at least stick with my thinner ones.

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Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll try to hunt some down.

Yeah, my problems started when I went from 1 mm magnets to 2 mm magnets.

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That would amount to saying they had previously considered it okay to use magnets, which they never have. Magnets have been an “off-label” strategy all along. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

When the CEO touts the ferrous metal build of their honeycomb as an example of their commitment to spending extra dollars if needed for their customers, there is an implied if not outright support for magnets.

The “flatten warped materials with PG scraps” recommendation came after as did the even later suggestion that honeycomb pins would be appropriate. The industry routinely uses magnets when aluminum honeycomb isn’t used. GF’s “PG scrap” advice is a one-off and certainly not the norm.

I would argue that the air assist fan problem was an unanticipated result of their monitoring rollout. That supposition is further supported by their recently announced “tweaks” to fan monitoring.


Can you tell more about the monitoring you’re speaking about?

The software is now monitoring the air assist fan – which is what generates the error when it stops spinning.


They didn’t use to monitor all of the sensors in the GF. Scott W sussed that out shortly after he started dissecting his unit and putting packet tracers and sniffers on it.

Back at the end of Jan (could have been first week if Feb), the first “air assist fan alert” was reported here in the forum (not long after someone figured out the link to magnets when they saw their unit stopped at the same place even when re-running the project and the magnets there).

A couple of weeks later it was officially acknowledged in a P&S posting reply that they were now monitoring fan speeds to prevent flare-ups and help keep the lenses clean and magnets could slow or stop the fan and trigger the alert.

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But it’s not really for that, right? It’s for gathering data so they can do other things and know more about different prints for future iterations of the machines. Don’t you think? I mean, if they were monitoring to prevent flare-ups, that would have to be done in real time, and I don’t think they’re doing that. (See…again…I didn’t know any of this was going on because I’ve not been able to spend as much time here on the forum recently. I’m just expecting my machine to work as it has when I need it to. An email or something about changes would be nice. )

They are. I expect they’re dropping something executable (the monitoring change came with a firmware change) to enable real-time monitoring and machine control. It doesn’t trigger until the fan traverses over a sufficiently strong magnet (like a 2x25mm neodymium). It stops the print within seconds so it has to be real-time. I also believe it’s executing locally as they are saying your GF doesn’t need to maintain the internet connection after the waveform is downloaded & you hit print.

It makes sense as they wouldn’t want a preventable fire to occur because they made monitoring dependent on a stable internet connection. I would expect some liability to inure to them if they chose that implementation over a local one now that they have chosen to monitor it (monitoring actually increases their liability for some events over not monitoring as it proves corporate belief in a problem and an acknowledgement of a need to mitigate that problem).

It would be simple enough so it wouldn’t take a lot of processing power and the responses to measured events would be canned & stored in non-volatile memory.

If you go back to their original marketing they highlighted the number of sensors they had and the safety that provided. This is delivering on that. I expect that some of the acrylic fire GFs we’ve seen photos of could have been prevented had the machine stopped when the fan was no longer blowing out/away the flame point.


I’m quite sure that was the reason. I was using these magnets from amazon and watching a cut. As the laser passed by a spot I could clearly see the smoke and flame change character. I could tell the assist fan was stopping. It was a cut so it wasn’t an issue but if it was engraving something it may have been a problem. I was going to make a video and engrave an area where the magnet would stop the fan but they added the monitor before I could do it.