Class 4 (IV) laser in schools and makerspaces

I received my email to ship my Pro GF with filter this December (!!!) after being part of the original kickstarter. Really excited, but getting really nervous about the Class IV designation. I’m planning on using the glowforge in a school makerspace that I run and the the need (potentially) for multiple pairs of glasses and and continual supervision is a major deterrent.

The last thread I read on the topics of safety and schools and/or makerfaires was in '16, so I wanted to revisit here. The upshot of that thread was one user was going to downgrade to a Basic w/ filter so that he could use in public. I’m considering the same, but want more info.

@dan can you say more about this note in the shipping email:

We hired a team of laser safety experts to create specialized Pro Training for every customer, and we developed a set of Pro Shields that let you use your Pro in public and around kids.

I don’t want to be put in a bad situation and jeopardize safety around kids, so I’d love to know more of the nuts and bolt of what protocols need to happen around the laser. Maybe even a preview of the laser training?? I love the pass-thru and higher end optics, but truth is that we could probably get along just fine with Basic based on usage (not high production; more 1 off prototypes for student projects). In fact if I downgraded, I might be tempted to get 2 basics if I could possibly get in at kickstarter rate. :grimacing:

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Just so you know, we, the community, are not allowed to discuss safety issues. So your answer will need to come directly from Support for this question. :slight_smile:


Thanks @Tom_A. Makes sense. At same time I’m just frustrated /nervous about pre-ordering something but not really knowing what I’m getting into. Hoping that support will chime in here and maybe also see who else on the forum is planning on using a GF in schools or makerspaces.

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They’ll soon send you an email with a link to the training information - which basically deals with the responsibilities assumed by the Laser Safety Officer and highlights what you need to keep an eye out for. Most of it boils down to common sense - it’s a power tool, like any other shop tool. You don’t walk away while it’s burning things up, you keep an eye on it. (And that applies to the Basic models as well.)

The good news is, (depending on the age and curiosity level of the kids of course), as long as the Passthrough Shields are in place inside the machine, the Pro model operates as a Class I and you don’t have to have everyone in glasses.

Shame really. The glasses are cool. I don’t get to wear them very often.) :smile:


Dan has said that glowforge does not monitor the Beyond the Manual area of the forum. so it is unlikely support will see this. You can email them OR post in Problems and Support (but don’t do both.) Moving this thread to Problems and Support also won’t notify them, apparently it is a Discourse thing.

That said, once your unit ships (or maybe when you get the email??) you should get your laser safety training materials and your question should be answered in it. My pro shipped before the training materials were ready, so I’m a bit fuzzy on timing and delivery methods. As Jules said, the shields that are now shipping with pro units should allay your concerns, but you’ll need to read the training materials.

Your Glowforge Pro comes with $1000 worth of laser safety officer (LSO) training, some of which may explain how to operate the machine under class 1 conditions. Unfortunately, AFAIK, you don’t receive these materials until after you’ve made your decision to accept the Pro. I don’t think my copy says I’m not allowed to distribute or talk about the contents, but to be safe I’m not going to do either. Assuming everyone else has been equally careful to protect their copy, it’s not the sort of thing you could find with a search engine by plugging in the right keywords.


I shifted it to BTM when I answered it. (Only place we can discuss safety concerns, unless I’m totally confused again about what we’re supposed to be doing, which might not be much of a stretch.) :roll_eyes:

Precisely! Blocked & shielded passthrough slots = Class I operations.


Are you sure they are offering to ship your glowforge with air filter? AFAIK, they’re not shipping air filters yet - I’d guess if you look more closely the air filter is actually deferred several months and will ship separately.

I also was under the impression that current models do not have NRTL classification or something else needed in a public business/school environment - but this isn’t something I’ve been following closely.

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@tedwards, thanks for reaching out here!

As you know, the Glowforge Pro is a Class 4 laser. That means someone needs to be assigned as a “Laser Safety Officer” (LSO). The LSO makes sure your Glowforge Pro is used safely. We’ve worked with Pat Harris of Kentek Laser Safety University to provide training materials, included for free when your Glowforge Pro ships, so you can be a responsible LSO for your Glowforge Pro.

The LSO training we provide recommends safety precautions to create “Class 1 conditions”. These safety precautions include using Proofgrade materials or Pro Shields. When Class 1 conditions exist, the Glowforge Pro does not create any additional laser safety hazards.

The Glowforge Pro should only be used in public or around children when the Pro Shields are in place.

For advanced users who create their own laser safety plan, additional safety precautions such as signs and the included laser safety glasses may be required.