Endurance testing

I have really been putting my Glowforge through some heavy duty endurance testing over the past few days. Overall i am really impressed with how well it handled it. In fact I think i am in worse shape then it is.

For those who haven’t seen my other posts, i am in the process of making 160 wooden boxes. Unfortunately the timeline is fairly tight due to the timing of my vacation, which i really need at this point.

I’m currently in the processes of cutting the engraved tops for the boxes. After a few hiccups getting my files prepared in a way that kept the print times under the magic 4 hour mark. In the end i was able to get 8 tops on each sheet of PG walnut plywood. Each one printed in about 3.5 hours at 270 LPI. We ended up dropping down to 225 after we awhile to help shorten the total print time.

The total print time for the top alone will be around 65 hrs plus another 12-15 hrs for the personalized engravings on the front face.

Now the endurance part, to make the deadline i need to keep this thing cutting for as long as i could each day. With a little help from a friend we kept it running for about 18-20 hr a day, giving it a short break now and then. This has been going on since Saturday morning and we are getting closer to the end but we still have a bunch to go.

Overall it has been running like a champ. The engrave is running at 100% power and 880 speed so it is not an easy job when it comes to wear on the tube.

I know people are upset with the operating temperature of the GF, but for a unit that has no external cooling this is impressive. Current the ambient temperature in the room is about 72-74 F so it is not running a hot environment but i don’t think it is reasonable to expect self contained unit like this to operate in a 90F room.

The only small issue i ran into during the engraves was about half way through the weekend i noticed that the top left top was cutting all the way the the backing paper. This ended up being caused by the unit getting super dirty. So after a break for a little lens cleaning i was back to normal. I’m also starting to hear a little extra noise from the fan behind the head which i think is also caused by build up.

This has been a super messy job. Just look at the build up on the tube. This is after i already cleaned it twice.

Here are a few more picture of the piles of parts and partially finished boxes.

Please excuse my rambling and any typos, I’m a little low on sleep right now. :slight_smile:
Now back to glueing boxes.


That is some truly impressive endurance by both you and your Glowforge. You’ve definitely earned your vacation, enjoy it!


A lot of work! And holy crap that’s a lot of residue on the tube! In your case I might recommend a quick cleaning every couple of runs!

Hope you get it all done in time to enjoy your vacation!


That’s quite a test for the Glowforge! Glad to hear it is holding up.


Yup i have been cleaning it as much as i can during our short breaks. The exposed plastic at the front is starting to look like a PC from the 80s, a ugly shade of yellowish brown.

It cleans off with a little scrubbing but i don’t have time for that until after the job.


I’m impressed by your endurance just as much as I am with the Glowforge :wink: Both seem to be doing an excellent job. Hope everything finishes up smoothly without any more hiccups!


Yeah, that’s been a mighty impressive run with a Basic. slightly_smiling_face


The boxes look great! Well done, that wood is gorgeous. I remember the days on end when doing that order for 1,000 tokens, and that was a simple project compared to yours.


Very impressive! I don’t envy you that weeding job, even with gorilla tape. Do you have any fingerprints left?


What a remarkable job you’ve done (are doing)…and a great report. I hope the recipients will appreciate the heart and soul from you (and Glowforge) that went into the box they receive.


Cool update. You’ve been putting the Glowforge through the paces for sure. Good information and good luck finishing!


Does it affect performance or will running it dirty like this shorten the life of the tube? I’m unaware.

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Really impressive! They look great, I can’t wait to get my hands on some walnut plywood…and my glowforge :joy::weary:


Definitely YES, and

quite possibly yes.


I don’t know why it would. It will reduce delivered power to the material if the lens and mirrors aren’t clean but that happens with every laser. GF recommends a cleaning cycle that in this use case would be every couple of days based on their non-stop use. Of course, that’s like oil change intervals - I’d say this is the laser equivalent of hot, dirty operating environments :slight_smile:

@Dan has posted pictures & comments about one they have in the GF office that they’ve never cleaned and is still working fine.


As long as the lens are clean i’m not sure it affect the performance that much. I know i have seen @dan mention that they only clean the lens of the units in house.

The only performance decrease i saw was when the lens and camera for too dirty.

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I think it depends on what “IT” is. The tube being dirty? No impact. The case/plastic being dirty? No impact. The lens/mirrors dirty? Yes, to performance impact.

As you stated, shorten the life? I don’t see exactly why it would shorten the life of the tube other than you would have to compensate for addl power to make up for the inefficiencies caused by the cleanliness - if you could… if you’re running max cut power, then it is what it is.


Those two statements contradict each other. Reducing delivered power is literally a performance hit.

Correct. Which is why I said definitely yes. If dirty, you’ll get poor performance.

Sorry, I thought you were saying that the build up on the tube and case would affect performance.
I would also think too much build up on the gantry track would have a small affect.

The question asked was whether it would affect tube life. (The quote in my posting.) My answer “I don’t see why it would.” is my read on that. (And I see it is contrary to your thoughts that it would “quite possibly yes”.)

I further expanded on my comment to note that it would affect performance but that wasn’t the question asked or initially answered.