Appropriate daily duty cycle to keep machine healthy?

I am getting the basic. I know Plus & Pro are for more intensive use, but I’m wondering what an appropriate duty cycle would be for all of these machines, and obviously the Basic mode most of all.

By duty cycle I mean something like total hours of daily use and continuous hours of use. I’m sure it depends on the particulars of the job, as higher power will take a greater toll on the machine, so lets assume something like 50% capacity (Unless there are already such duty cycle ratings)

Basically I want to know how much I can practically use my machine without pushing it beyond the bounds of what it can sustainable handle. If the Basic shouldn’t be used more than, for example, 3 hours continuously and 6 hours daily, I can spread my workload accordingly, and upgrade if/when that no longer suffices.

Thanks for any insight you can give!


following as I have the same questions. Also seeking to see if there is a recommended cleaning or maintenance schedule

See here for the essentials on maintenance:

1 Like

That will depend a LOT on what you are doing.
I was cleaning the machine every 8 to 10 3D engraves when I was experimenting with that.
The debris really piles up with the 3D stuff.


No reason you couldn’t run it 24 hours straight if you really wanted.

Just keep it within the operating temp window and you’re fine.


Can you elaborate on the operating temp window? I haven’t received mine yet, where might I find that information? Thanks!

The Basic operates in temps up to 75 degrees. See the Glowforge home page section comparing models.

Recommended Operating Temperature: 60F-75F (16C-24C) Basic and Plus; 60F-81F (16C-27C) Pro

From: (the detailed spec links off the purchase page)

and yeah, any job that would take 12 hours to cut probably won’t load, so while it’s possible to use it so much it heats itself to much (hence the active cooling in the Pro) it’s pretty hard to do!

I would be more cautious and interpret these temperatures as cutoffs, not recommendations. If you cannot keep the ambient temperature of your room under the upper limit the machine will start pausing, sometimes frequently, and sometimes not run at all.

I’ve never heard of any issues with people running the machine when too cold.

Is this the recommended ambient room temperature or the temperature of the laser component?

Presuming that you will be doing a lot of leather I think you will find that the cutting will cause more than the usual build-up and thus more frequent cleaning. However unless you have many people following up and finishing the work, the percentage of time the Glowforge will take vs the time it would take to design and finish the work; the Glowforge will be very busy if needed a quarter of the time before providing more finishing work than can be kept up with. :thinking:

The recommendations are for ambient room temp. There are additional temp sensors that can come into play, but those are the recommended ambient temps.

There are factors that come into play such as sunlight warming up the interior, inefficient exhaust (thus not being able to move air, etc.) but in general, those temps are fine.

Thanks! Leather it is, for the most part. I anticipate some delrin as well to do some deep engraving for use as embossing plates for leather, and also sometime 1/8 wood for a few ideas I have for lightweight wood jewelry. Good point about the time needed to finish leather pieces. It’s just me, so if I’m finishing as I go, the machine will have frequent rests. But I’m just trying to get a feel for whether I can make a dozen or two dozen blanks of something (cuts, not engraving) to have on hand before cool down, etc. I’ve had a hard time scaling up my production for what is a “free time side-hustle” because I just can’t take the time needed to make dozens of something to have on hand when when my available time is spent making items to order as they come in. I’m hoping the GF will help me change that so I can get ahead enough to have enough product on hand for craft/artisan fairs etc.

1 Like

There have been a few Earrings in acrylic or cut out shapes that take little extra work, and perhaps PG pieces as well the would only need weeding, but then they will quickly drown you in such pieces and you are back where you started, You might easily cut 30 pendants at a time and take 20 min Glowforge time to do it, and again spend time designing, placing, and weeding and adding jump rings might take another hour.

Deep engraving will take a lot longer to cut, but still more time, to clean and finish. I think even with pre-sales so time out selling is not included one Glowforge could keep five people designing and finishing a very large volume of work.

Congrats on your new machine and glad to see you in the forum!

I wouldn’t say the basic is for less intensive work really. It has a more restrictive temperature range and a little less power, but I’ve never heard of anything that keeps it from running as hard/long as any other model as long as you keep the ambient temp under control. FWIW, I’m in CA where it’s normally 90-100 degrees for several months of of the year and my air conditioning is able to keep things cool enough to where I rarely experience and temperature pausing. (It’s not uncommon for me to do 3 or 4 hour engraves a couple times a day.) I can’t imagine you’ll have any trouble with cutting dozens of blanks at a time. :slight_smile: And according to GF, you won’t damage the tube by running at full power/100% which can be a thing with other tubes apparently.

1 Like

Have you seen this topic yet? Sounds right up your alley.

1 Like

I live in Florida. Land of heat and humidity. IIRC I received my basic in February or March. I keep my place at 75 degrees because that is comfortable for me. There is not an AC vent near my GF although occasionally the ceiling fan is on in the room. I have yet to receive a temperature warning for my :glowforge:

1 Like

As others have said, this is the spec for ambient room temp, BUT the critical temperature for the GF is actually that of the liquid coolant. If it gets too warm, it may take quite a while to cool the entire circulating volume of coolant to allowable tolerances.

1 Like

I presume there are sensors I can monitor for this? I really think I’m going to have a fairly light duty cycle, but I’m a bit paranoid about pushing the limits and burning something out, especially as the Basic only has a 6 month warranty (which seems lame, there’s no reason a machine used within spec should have less support, but whatever)

That’s what it uses. It doesn’t monitor air temp.