CE Markings & Importing Pro into the UK (HSE)

Hello all (and Glowforge staff in particular),

I live in the UK and await with anticipation the Glowforge Pro due to come my way.

I’ve been in touch with Public Health England to check on safety regulations and ask what safety training course would be most suitable for this and found their reply somewhat concerning. In no particular order of alarmingness:

  1. The first thing the professor said:

“The first thing to recognise is that it is not legal for the supplier to sell this laser to you as a Class 4 laser product if you are a member of the public. That is a contravention of the requirements of the General Product Safety Regulations. However, it is not an offence for you to buy it.”

I’m a member of the public. Given that you’re shipping the Pro with metal plates over the flaps, will it now be classified as a class 1 laser? If not, will there be trouble getting it to me?

  1. For the CE mark, which Directives and Standards are you using/following for compliance testing?

  2. Has anyone on the forum been on appropriate safety training courses in the UK? This is the one that was recommended to me: https://www.phe-protectionservices.org.uk/cms/article.php?article=950&course=49&details=true#

I’d really appreciate help with these questions, as my heart is set on the Pro and I’d rather not be forced to switch back to the Basic.


If you are not carrying on a business, so this is for home personal use only, health and safety legislation does not strictly apply. However, you may wish to consider the requirements to ensure your own safety and the safety of anyone else who may be in the vicinity. Of course, if you are operating a business, even in a residential property, then the legislation will apply.

If anyone’s interested, this is the email address I’ve been communicating with: laser@phe.gov.uk



1 Like

It better to ask for forgiveness, than permission. Maybe not in this case, but me personally, I would just start a laser-in.


And with that one post @joshua.gets.junkglow sends all the UK Glowforge Pro order RIIIIIGHT to the back of the waiting line…

Seriously though, Glowforge never has commented on their internal processes, they are extremely unlikely to change that.
I am sure that they are aware of potential regulatory bottlenecks like this, and are just as aware of potential loopholes.


And they send you a ‘safety officer program’ with a Pro to allow for the use without the pass thru block. (class 1 until pass-through is enabled, so not needed unless doing so).
No need to sit through a boring class or three.

It’s important to note that it doesn’t change the classification of the laser from a Class 4 to a Class 1; it only allows it to operate as a Class 1.

In general, I imagine regulations like this are why Glowforge has had lawyers in addition to the logistics / compliance coordinators, etc. involved in getting these things shipped outside of the US.


Reading those regs, it seems that they are almost explicitly speaking to laser pointers.

1 Like

No but they have to send a Declaration of Conformity with units shipped into the EU and that must list which Directives and Standards they conform with.

1 Like

Strange that my Mr Beam 1 was OK to ship from Germany to the UK, and that was a class IV {shrug}.

1 Like

No customs check between EU countries. However I have purchased class 4 lasers from China and Australia without any problems.

Yeh I figured there must be Chinese imports which were in that range. Still, it might be illegal for them to sell it to you but who’s going to try and prosecute a Chinese company for that? Ditto for a US company too tbh.

I think part of the purchase agreement is that you are agreeing to comply with all local laws and regulations that pertain to your use of the machine.

Thanks all for your replies.

@dan - any chance you could chip in here please? I hadn’t heard of the ‘safety officer program’ mentioned by @brokendrum . I’d also appreciate it if you could provide the ‘declaration of conformity’ you plan on shipping it with (mentioned by @palmercr ). Are there any courses you recommend? Is there something I’ve missed from the website which could help?

@jbmanning5 - I agree - they currently only seem to cover laser pointers and health/beauty treatment products and not the more cutting edge uses of lasers in the home. As I’ll be using it non-commercially at home, not many (if any?) of those regulations apply to me - it’s sort of the opposite of a catch-22.

@bdm - I hope not! I’m sure they’ve got it sorted, but I’d like to know how. One of the upsides of a 2 year wait is that there’s plenty of time to go dating and find someone (@dan - why wasn’t that in your marketing material??), but that person wants more reassurance about safety aspects.

1 Like

I’ve had this fairly humorously base level of safety thought up but we’re not really supposed to talk safety specifics here(some lawyer apparently thinks it’s a liability thing because you may get bad/wrong advice from another customer but it’s on a company forum or they find an old answer that’s now bad/wrong from an official source) so you’ll have to wait until you get your e-packet after agreeing to have yours shipped.

…or someone who saved theirs could link it with a note stating how old it is and that it may/may not be up to date.

Think the biggest thing anyone has figured out is that it’s sometimes difficult to get the smell down to tolerable levels, which is of course highly subjective. @chris1 is the resident king of this, I believe.

Here in the US it’s apparently required that someone working around a Class 4 laser (the Pro Models) receive some safety training and assume responsibility for keeping people from getting hurt doing stupid things. They provide a mini-course for Pro owners in the form of a link to a lengthy writeup that outlines some simple safety measures. (Mostly common sense stuff, and don’t laser materials that are not safe to be lasered.)

Tell the person you’re dating that they have an awful lot of safety measures built into this thing, it’s one of the reasons it’s taken so long. :wink: The machine stops instantly if you lift the lid just a fraction of an inch. They have sensors built into it to stop the machine if the head comes close to hitting something, they provide glasses with the Pro models, and they’re not even necessary with the Pro shields in place.

I’m not certain what palmer means by “declaration of conformity”. If he’s talking about the standard Terms of Service, that’s listed on the main Glowforge website and you can read them there. It’s the usual legalese.

I hope you get it soon, you’ll really enjoy it. And congratulations on finding someone special who asks the right questions. :wink:

Just to clarify, so that people do not get the wrong idea about the safety mechanisms…

The built in safety devices do not detect if the head is about to hit something.

There are not any proximity sensors on the device to detect if something is in the path of the motion components.

There is an accelerometer built into the head, but it currently does not stop the device if the head impacts an object. You can see that this is the case by the many posts about the head impacting the front right side during prints. Here’s a video of it happening on my machine.

1 Like

He’s talking about the CE certification that electronics sold in Europe must have.

Ah! Thanks.

Yes as well as the CE mark there must be a DOC signed by someone in authority at the company. It states what standards the machine claims to comply with: https://www.conformance.co.uk/our-services/declaration-of-conformity-ce-marking

1 Like

Gotcha, thanks.

The announcement of the safety officer training provided with the Pro is here:

I’m afraid you’ll need to click through to see the part where he says they’ll provide training materials because that’s all the quote discourse grabbed.