Can you confirm that Safety Lenses are NOT needed for 40W/Basic?

I will be using this at a school and I keep reading the Basic version is safe for schools because of its laser rating, but can you confirm the glass/plexi shield on front is safe for unprotected eyeballs? I’m assuming reflective materials like metal or glass might not be safe, or am I incorrect? Just trying to explain to my son’s school that this will be a safe tool to demonstrate in their science class.


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The impression I got was that the different certification was because of the side doors. That is, without the side doors, you can’t blind yourself with the Glowforge because it’ll shut off if you open the top. But with the side ports, theoretically you could push a side port open (or be cutting a long piece of material) and if you had the right reflection you could get the laser to shine out the ports and into your eyes. I can’t speak officially, of course.

@laird is right on. @jktechwriter, the Basic version is completely shielded. If you put a mirror on the bed, it would reflect light outward that would be blocked by the glass lid and the plastic case. These frequencies of IR are totally blocked by glass!


You should always use protective equipment when operating a laser cutter. The polycarbonate lid may block the wavelength of the laser beam (10604 nm) but that is way in the IR range bordering on microwave. There is still quite a bit of nasty radiation emitted from the actual burning of the material (UV and IR) that isn’t blocked by polycarbonate that can damage unshielded eyes with long-term exposure. A demo won’t burn any eyes out but they should implement safety protocols for regular users.

if the risk is so great should a couple of pairs of safety glasses be included in the box? Also, since a lot of pro users will be needing signage and glasses, anyone have a recommended source?

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Carry both safety glasses and signage:

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If I understood correctly @dan.

The glass in the Pro would shield your eyes against nasty stuff just like if we would wear protective glasses?

And only the hole from the pass through is a risk because there could be some stray beams that could find their way through that opening?

In that case I’m gonna make a flap for it until I get more eye protection.

I would also like to see 2x protective glasses in PRO model, so you can start working with the machine right away without worrying about eye protection.

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You can start working right away. Just try to avoid looking directly at the bright cutting spot for too long. It will be difficult…you’ll want to watch your new toy do it’s thing, but that’s where the secondary radiation is coming from.


Actually it would be really great if the GF used tinted polycarbonate for the window to reduce the UV and near-IR transmission plus reduce the brightness of the visible light generated by cutting. Shouldn’t affect costs and would help keep your customers’ eyes safe.

Wow ok so that makes the glasses a non-trivial cost accessory.

@dan Following up here. With the PRO model can you confirm a couple things.

1, can the pass through be closed to keep all potentially harmful light within
2, is the glass top on the PRO model the same as in in the Basic model, “shielded”?
3, can you recommend specific spec safety glasses for the PRO model

+1 for a couple pairs of glasses on the PRO model
nice to see you allowed for an optional upgrade from Basic to PRO without filter

I have a todo item to talk with our friendly neighborhood lawyer about this thread, as there’s some incorrect information here and I don’t want to confuse or aggravate issues by wading in. Please don’t take anything in this thread as gospel.


Much appreciated. We simply want to be safe. Thanks for looking into it. Looking forward to an update after your talk.

The video shows what look like ‘flaps’ on sides of the Pro. So I’d guess that when the flaps are closed it’s as safe as the basic model, but the fact that someone could poke the flap open and the laser could reflect out and blind someone means that the Pro model is legally considered more dangerous, requiring goggles and warning signs.

I’d also like to see two pairs of goggles and a warning sign in the Pro model. Admittedly we could laser cut the sign. :slight_smile: I like the ones that read “do not look into laser with remaining eye”.

@dan If the pass through slot on the pro is closed (does it close?), is it reasonably safe to use without safety glasses? I’m thinking about upgrading from the basic to the pro, but I have a four year old. I’d probably try to get her to wear safety glasses anyways, as it’s a good habit to form, and I’d never operate it with the pass through slot open with her around (in case she decides to take the glasses off halfway through a print job) but it would be nice to have the pass through option, and it would also obviously be nice if my daughter can keep using her eyes. :slight_smile: Or is this something you can’t answer without the aforementioned lawyer? :stuck_out_tongue:

It would be neat if the Pro came with a pair or two of safety glasses… Glowforge branded safety glasses. Additional pairs would obviously then be available to purchase through the marketplace.
This may not be feasible due to time restraints, legal/liability reasons, or you just might not want to…
but if it is a possability, and if you decide to do it… make them “glowforge green” and I would order a few extra pair.

For 2½ years I’ve been watching my laser score & etch while wearing the glasses it came with, I just found out today on a forum that the lid blocks the laser wavelengths, mind blown! I just came here to verify. BTW, I’ve rarely used my feed-through door.
R.L. Hamm

Since you’re asking about operation of a laser in an educational setting, I would advise that safety equipment be required at all times, regardless of any precautions that might be built into the Glowforge unit. Use of proper safety equipment should be stressed at all times, but especially when being operated in an educational institution.

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I feel like this response is correct, however adds to the confusion. I’ve been using my laser for years and still cannot confidently answer this question…