Best Practices

Having enjoyed my Glowforge for more than a year with almost daily use and no problems whatsoever, I thought I’d share some of my tips for a smooth operation.

  • Check the Glowforge Support page regularly for cleaning, updates to the manual and general support.
  • Never walk away from your Glowforge when it is running a job. If you need to, press the button to pause.
  • Make a note of every print run time so you know exactly when it is time to clean your machine.
  • Clean the lid camera lens with a Zeiss lens wipe more often so you maintain a clear view of the laser bed.
  • Ensure each sheet lies perfectly flat on the laser bed and has no warp to it. Secure with honeycomb pins if need be. Store your sheets flat if you can. Honeycomb bed holdown pins
  • Ensure the surface the Glowforge is sitting on is perfectly flat and level, and the lid closes properly.
  • Don’t open the cover of the Glowforge to the point of stressing out the fragile black ribbon cable. Only open it as far as necessary before it falls down by itself. That is about 45-50 degrees on mine.
  • Allow the Glowforge to complete its sequence - the clicking you hear at the end of each run job - before you shut it off.
  • Before using non-proofgrade materials, run a test such as this. Each material behaves differently.
  • Conducting thorough and timely maintenance is essential to the smooth running of your Glowforge and can prevent many issues from occurring, such as not cutting through, getting stuck on homing and centering, all the way to your machine turning into a fire hazard due to debris buildup.
  • If your cuts don’t appear to line up where you thought they should, run the camera calibration procedure. Camera Calibration Community Discussion Thread
  • Don’t have a bright light above your Glowforge, it may confuse the lid camera.
  • When it counts (finger joints, etc) measure material thickness and accommodate your design if necessary. Don’t just assume it is the stated thickness.
  • Remove all materials from the Glowforge before you start it up. Having materials in the bed can confuse the camera during head alignment.

Some more good ones have come in to be shared:

  • If at all possible, store your materials flat and dry so they don’t warp.
  • It saves laser time when you place your engravings horizontally.
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Great list of guidelines! I’m now going just past 2 1/2 years with mine, too…no problems. I definitely believe in taking good care of my Glowforge on an ongoing basis.

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Excellent list, these items keep the entire operation fun and without hassle.

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Nice list. I have one to add that I’m trying to get into the habit myself.

  • Don’t open the cover of the Glowforge to the point of stressing out the fragile black ribbon cable to try to prevent/delay replacement.
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Absolutely, I thought I had that in the list, but apparently not. I’ll add it now! Thanks!!!

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Great list of best practices.

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Thanks for this list @arh2!

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Do you have start up tips for the beginning of each work day? Should I start up when I’m logged out of the app? I’m in a classroom and started turning the machine off during classes that don’t use it. I’m wondering now if it’s better to just keep it on all day. Should I log out of the app at the end of the day before powering off?

It is stuck centering at the moment, so I’m about to order a replacement black cable. I’m hoping my last. I would like to avoid these problems, so thanks for you tips. Do you have any other tips I might want to use in a classroom setting? (I’m planning on putting a strap on it to limit the lid opening.)
Thanks in advance.

Hope someone else with classroom experience chimes in. I’m just a personal user.
It doesn’t matter which one you start up first, the Glowforge or the app. They both need to find the wifi connection and then connect to Glowforge “central.” If you start the app up first you won’t loose time for the Glowforge to find it. If the app connected after the Glowforge, you may just need to crack the lid open in order for the camera to rescan and connect.

The Glowforge does have a sleep feature, so you don’t need to turn it off between classes, but it would be ok if you did.

As to limiting the lid opening - can you hang a golf ball from the ceiling with a string? or tape a cardboard strip sticking out from the wall?

Good luck with your endeavors!

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Thanks for the golf ball idea. I’ll probably do that in my classroom. Then use a strap when it travels to other classrooms. (It’s on a cart.)

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Great list @arh2! :grinning:

I always prefer to turn the machine on and let it finish the startup calibration before opening the app. (It doesn’t matter now, but in the early testing days it did, and old habits die hard. I still think it’s the least likely to send a dropped signal, so that’s what i do. And have very few dropped signals.) :smile:

I turn mine off when it’s not in use, but that tends to be for a few days at a time. Some people just leave them turned on all the time. I prefer to at least turn it off overnight, so that any updates can load the next time you start it up…we don’t generally get notice of updates before they go out.

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Thanks for those tips. I think I’ll follow your lead and set up best practices to do start up on the GF before opening and connecting to the APP. Turn off GF overnight… good to know the updates will load automatically on start up.

With that in mind, I will log out of the APP at the end of the day when I turn the GF off. In my world, that will prevent kids from jumping on the machine when I’m not aware. Perhaps even close the APP between classes. It gets busy in my classroom and yes, a laser cutter job in theory could just start up without me being aware someone was prepping a job!

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Yep! Good idea to close the app when it’s not in use. (I do that too.)

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My glowforge is up and running after a black cable replacement. I want my middle school students to use best practices, but they are just kids. I have had a student put in material extending beyond the material area and the laser carriage jammed against it.

I want to either tape or paint a pinstripe around the perimeter of the honeycomb section to mark a “border” for the flat material. Will a vinyl tape pinstripe cause any issues. My other option is a paint pen pinstripe.
What do you think?

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Neither would make any difference to the machine. The vinyl is obviously easier and removable.

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Better is to have a tape measure with the zero at 10-1/2 inches from the front of the tray , preferably in international orange or yellow.

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I’m thinking the paint stripe might be better so there is nothing that is raised from the bed in case they’re still not paying attention and accidentally put a sheet on top of the vinyl, etc. and then the laser won’t work properly either.

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I wouldn’t put any vinyl into the machine.

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