Once your glowforge is out of warranty, here is one of the few improvements you can make to your machine that doesn’t require an expenditure. Enter a jigsaw with a metal cutting blade.
I’m sure most of you will recognize this as the exhaust fan guard. For liability reasons, this is required of manufacturing in this country to sell to the public, an unguarded fan is bad JuJu for a manufacturer because there is someone out there who is bound to be absent-minded enough to hurt themselves and blame the company for it. (“If you’ve been injured in an accident call Frank Azar!”)
In light of the fact that the exhaust port in practically every circumstance is enclosed within an attached vent tube, this grill presents a redundant safety that requires periodic maintenance. It will eventually face-load to the point of restricting the exhaust. Since by design, the exhaust fan moves more CFM than the intake fans, the machine maintains a negative pressure inside to prevent smoke from escaping… until this grill gets clogged. Then the interior becomes pressurized and it starts pumping out smoke from every crack in it.
My machine developed a hard vibration and a loud buzz because the fan had accumulated enough residue to be out of balance. Getting to the fan on the inside was difficult, to say the least, getting to the backside of the fan through that grill was even harder.
From the vibration, it was clear that running the machine in that condition would kill the fan bearings. I had already brushed and vacuumed the blades as well as I could so action was required.
I wanted that fan in my hands for an up-close inspection, so I needed to remove the top left glass top. Thanks to @scott.wiederhold’s intrepid tear-down of his machine, pictures of that and advice, it was a snap.
So when I removed the fan, there - there was that damn grill, right in my face. The time was now.
I have (had) 2 months left on my machine’s warranty (glowforge feel free to null the remainder) but considering the historic performance of this and the pre-release machine I was graced with, I have no doubt that it will sail through the remainder and well beyond. I just finished a 3,000 order of tokens, which brings the total of those to 5,000 plus enumerable cuts and engraves. This thing is a workhorse.
I think Jules’s recent post on how to clean the fan works fine, but removal of the problematic grill seemed to me to be the answer.
Not only does this action eliminate the need to periodically clean the grill, but it allows increased airflow. Since the heat exchange is a function of airflow across the coolant radiator that efficiency is increased also. I’d make a WAG at 10%. Plus now both sides of the fan can be accessed for cleaning, the effluent airflow is increased and is much less turbulent.
Here is a picture of the open left side after reinstallation of the cleaned fan (and no more grill to blow against). I think this view is superior to an endoscope.
The machine is back together and humming along, smooth as silk. Oh yeah, it’s a bit cleaner in there too.
For as long as your warranty is in effect I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, but beyond that, I think it is a solid improvement. This is a beautiful machine, and I don’t foresee any other modification in its future, but holding that grill in my hand, puts a smile on my face.
Edited to add; There is some question as to whether or not glowforge will perform any repair on a modified machine, so if you choose to, enter into this with that understanding.