Fire is Bad

Hey everyone…

Was cutting some EVA foam (1.5" thick) and turned my back for a minute or so, heard it stop and turned to find the whole thing on fire. Everything is melted beyond repair.

Make sure you keep a fire extinguisher handy (I didn’t… had to use a cup of water) and watch your projects.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

RIP GF. :frowning:

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I hate to hear this but it reinforces that you have to keep an eye on things. We really are playing with fire!
I won’t hardly look away with foams and paper products. Cardboard being the worst I’ve used.
I keep a spray bottle for minor problems and a fire extinguisher for that really bad day if it comes.


I’m sorry to hear that. Loss of a great tool. Hopefully you can get another one soon.

I’m just surprised with what I see some people doing that we don’t see more of these posts.


I had placed a layer of cardboard under the foam to protect the metal bottom of the work area. Pretty sure that’s what caught on fire. What have you used instead of cardboard?


I’m so sorry. Glad no one was injured, but Ouch. :frowning:

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Layering materials gives you the greatest chance of fire… Maybe the safest under-layer option would have been aluminum foil.


Keep in mind that the metal bottom of the work area does not need protection at all from the laser, though you need to make sure the laser will not reflect. The laser cannot affect that metal plate, and the work grid is designed to have exposure to the laser beam. There is no reason not to place your material directly on the work grid, since that is how it is designed to be used. The grid is steel and the laser will not harm it.


For what it’s worth, that advice directly contradicts the manual.

If the crumb tray is removed, use extreme caution to ensure that the laser only strikes
laser-compatible material, and does not touch the metal bottom of the unit which could cause a reflection and damage the unit.


People tend not to share failure for a number of reasons, but it is important to do so and has great benefits to others. Thank you for sharing this experience! It will keep me safer!!!

Maybe, just maybe, you can license these photos to @Dan for a brand new GlowForge and he can use them in some manner in the GF User Documents to educate and remind current and future customers to understand risk and best procedures.

I do really stupid stuff periodically when I have a Brain-Fart (just recovered from a table saw kickback) and have toyed with the idea of starting a Go Fund Me page titled, “Help Tim Recover from His Stupidity” in order to fund the cost of damaged property and medical costs. Just an idea for you.

I have three rules when I start a project:

  1. No one dies
  2. No one gets hurt
  3. No property is damaged

Unfortunately, not all rules get followed perfectly.

Again, thank you for sharing your experience and photos!!!


For some reason whenever someone is scared of one of my tools it is always the band saw. I tell them unless you stick your hand right in the blade this is not the tool that will get you. It will be the table saw or the drill press.


Aw jeez. Table saw kickbacks can be brutal. I’ve seen people get pretty messed up by that, drill presses, and lathes slinging stuff into them. I’m shuddering even trying to type this. Glad you’re recovered.


Thank You for the information regarding your situation. I only use wood, acrylic, ceramic and leather in my forge & I keep watch all the time & sit next to my forge the whole time it is running. Even playing it safe you can still have a problem.

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I have been using table saws for 56 years, since I was 14. Never an accident with a table saw!!! I am a crazed safety nut most of the time because my Grandfather lost a few fingers and that made a great impression. I ALWAYS used a blade guard and riving knives. Pretty good safety record!

I took the blade guard off to use a sled to cut a bunch of pen blanks. My wife wanted some wood squares cut for a pop bottle rocket base for my grandsons. I used my hand circular saw but when she wanted them to be perfectly square, I decided to run them thru the table saw without replacing the guard or knives. Thought just cutting a tiny fraction of an inch off would be ok!

Wow, was I wrong. The kickbacked 3/4 inch piece of plywood was like a flying surgical knife frisbee. Injury not serious, but educational. Now I will always re-install the guard and knives.

Ironic, that I was in the garage this morning and found part of the kick backed piece in the back of the garage. I even had the saw outside in front of the garage.

I tried to respond to you @markevans36301 too at the same time but don’t know how to include two people in the same response. Is that possible to do in Discourse?


I’m sorry your glowforge is no more – that must be devastating – but I’m glad everything else outside of the glowforge is alright.


Although, I haven’t cut anything requiring the removal of my crumb tray yet. I plan to use tile as my back stop material. It won’t catch fire, and based on all the tile etching forgers have been doing it’s obviously pretty darn laser compatible.

Sorry to you lost you GF. Glad to hear it didn’t end up being worse.


Not possible to respond to more than one person in a post but you can @ or quote as many as you want. Works out the same.


Really sorry this happened. I’m glad you are ok and that no other property was damaged.


:+1: Tiles are my go-to backstop, plus they are of uniform thickness, so stacking them allows you to reach the focus range with a number of different materials.

Like this, for example. :sunglasses:


Tile is a great suggestion! Hey @dan… any chance you want to give an idiot who torched his GF a discount on a new one?? Ugh.

Also, I can take some higher quality pictures if you need to show what can happen when there’s a fire.


My table saw response was actually meant for you, but I hit the wrong reply button! @rmaker1952 ended up being the unintended target, sort of like getting hit by a virtual kickback! :slight_smile: