Cleaning your GF?

My observation there is that the pitch of the fan will change. The pipe cleaners with a vacuum hose attachment works pretty well.


I don’t think you should clean the optics any more frequently than necessary. Just like your glasses, or a camera lens, excessive cleaning will degrade the glass. I have a couple of SLA 3D printers (which also use lasers) and cleaning the optics more than absolutely required is a definite no-no. Each time you wipe things down they end up just a little less as good as a result.

Especially if your lasering materials that blow off abrasives, like Tile. The laser doesn’t burn that stuff, it atomizes it. So the optics aren’t hazed by volatile gases, they’re dusty with grit that will scratch the GF’s optics even with the most careful use of Zeiss Wipes.

When performance is negatively affected, clean. Otherwise, IMO it’s best to avoid the OCD impulse to wipe things down just because they’re starting to look a little hazy.


Very true.

I use a little rocket blower across the surface before wiping to minimize grit. Not perfect but better than nothing. The side window doesn’t seem to really get dirty from what I can see. The window on the side of the head gets dirty pretty quick, on mine at least. The mirror inside the head seems to be good for the longest (since it’s relatively self-contained).

Ultimately, the window and lens are a consumable type item, just like the tube. Replacements are available in the shop.


I received my GF at the end of November. I guess I should probably clean it soon. :wink:


I always think it’s funny when I go to clean my 'forge and I look at the camera lens and think “Nice. It’s still good and clear.” And then I rub the Zeiss wipe on it anyway and I kinda go… “Oh… Now it’s clear.”


Unfortunately, the camera is of limited value even when the lens is spotlessly clean. One of those ideas that’s great in concept but not so much in execution.

Guess it just depends on use case. Is it perfectly accurate? No. But I can drag and drop around a cut up board with no problem. But I’m also not as concerned as others about having a 1/4” of uncut material.


Yeah, what @jbmanning5 said. Unless I’m doing a multipart job or I’m on my last sample of a material and need to cut right up to the edge, the camera is fine. It’s just not worth the time to fool with it otherwise. I mean always try to avoid waste, but there’s a break point.

I break down the cost reasoning here:
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I myself take steps cleaning my lenses, Just like I do with my camera lenses.

Step 1. Blow lens off with a squeeze ball blower to get loose particles off.
Step 2. Use a high quality lens brush I like a the “Arctic Butterfly” style cleaner to break loose the more stubborn flakes of dust.
Step 3. Back to the blower to get any particles loosened up but not removed from the lens.
Step 4. (When needed) Use a high quality disposable lens cleaner so you don’t reuse a contaminated cloth over. I did buy the Zeiss wipes that glowforge recommends.

Anytime you touch a lens with any cleaning material you risk micro scratches to the lens or it coatings, and chemical cleaners including Zeiss wipes has the potential to deteriorates coating either by stripping off small amounts of the coating or causing them to develop a haze. Either way not good for the lens.

Not cleaning a laser lens can also cause damage over time and makes the laser less effective by absorption or reflection of part of the laser light. So I clean as necessary and 40 hours seems to be a good average between cleanings. Just be very careful when touching the lenses.


Maybe a quick rinse with isopropyl alcohol and then drop it in some DI water in a little ultrasonic cleaner. Repeat until water sheets away.

…everybody has these things, right?


Yep! :smile:

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Dunno how my boss would feel(actually I do) about using the ultrasonic washer at the hospital…

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So wouldn’t it be nice if the GF had a dashboard with an odometer that told you how many hours of operation it had seen, so you could figure out a regular preventative maintenance schedule?


Hopefully @dan is listening :slight_smile:
It should show: Total Hours running : Hours Cutting: Hours Engraving : Hours Scoring
and Hours since last Cleaning (with an option to reset that :slight_smile: )


I concur. An odometer, maybe with a scheduled maintenance pop up warning, would be very useful.


If you do cut a tile how do you clean the lens? Still Zeiss Wipe gently?

I’d blow the glass off with some “light” compressed air, and then lightly drag the wipe across the lens. Like, use gravity to push the wipe on to the lens, not your finger.

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A number of my cuts did not go all the way through the proofgrade medium draftboard. Does this mean that I need to clean my lens?

That’s a good idea.

I will try that and see if the cut quality improves. Thank you for your reply!