Glowforge Camera Failing to take a photo after deep cleaning

So after deep cleaning my unit, I attempted to start a project, and the unit, when powered on, there is NO fan spin up, and the laser arm/head does not move. It does however calibrate the laser head (clicking clicking sound). Apart from the clicking of the head calibration the machine will not do anything else. I receive a “camera cannot take photo” error message and assumed it was the ribbon connections on the lid.

Here is a list of the actions I have taken to diagnose the issue:
-Cleaned camera lens
-check ribbon seating
-opened ribbon seat tabs to dry up any possible moisture that may be causing the error.
-Reset browser
-reset router
-rebooted computer

Error still appears. Im assuming this is an issue with the black lid cable. If that is the case I have a spare here with me just incase. But I would like for support to pull my logs and weigh in on the issue. Maybe they can find something I cannot. Im assuming that it has to be an issue with one of the ribbons, I am praying it is the black ribbon and not the ribbon that connects directly to the camera as I only have a spare black ribbon, not the white ribbon. I have included photos of the ribbon seats below for support. Every day my machine is down, I am losing money. So hopefully support can get back with me in a timely manner lol.


Liked only for the thoroughness of the post.



I am sorry to hear you are running into this trouble with your Glowforge. Thank you for sending the photos and going through all those troubleshooting steps. After taking a look at the printer logs it does appear to be an issue with the black lid cable. I am glad to hear that you have a spare to replace it.

Can you please change the black lid cable with the spare that you have? I have included a link with instructions below.

If you are still having trouble after replacing it please let me know so we can take a further look into this issue for you.

Best Regards,

I have changed the cable, the arm is now moving and currently the unit is following the centering process. About to do a test project and I will update you afterwards.

Looks like the test cut is going fine however the exhaust fan is not turning on. I have a powerful exhaust fan connected to the glowforge that works 3 times better than the standard fan installed on the unit, had the extra fan installed on the exhaust hose since the first time I used the unit. So other than the standard exhaust fan, looks like the issue has been cleared up. I do have the (air filter attached) button selected to keep the internal exhaust fan from spinning up fully to lessen any strain on my external exhaust fan.

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UPDATE: During my initial deep clean I cleaned the fan with 3M degreaser, looks like I didn’t let the fan run at full speed for long enough after spraying the 3M electronic degreaser. Some of the remnants settled around the path of the edge of the fa blades blocking them from spinning. Everything seems to be in working order now.


that is great. thanks for the follow up.

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I am having the same exact problem as Forest, however I have not heard back from support and I am in desperate need of a new part - I would pay for the quickest shipping possible because I have a huge show end of october that I have been preparing for and with all of these early christmas orders I am losing money without my machine running.

You can purchase the black ribbon cable from the “Parts” section of the glowforge shop. Explain your experience, when you turn your unit on do the lights turn on, does the fan spin up? Did the problem occur after cleaning?

After I cleaned my glowforge it then said my camera was not connected or something so I went back checked everything like the steps it told me to and nothing, the fan turns on the head makes clicking noises but is stuck “scanning” and never moves towards the middle to finish finding the head or whatever it has to do before you can print anything. I looked into purchasing the extra part but it only has basic shipping option and I need something quicker is why I am trying to get support to answer me about this issue.

contacting Support rarely ends in expedited orders. Only on rare occasions does that ever happen. As craptastic as it sounds, your best bet is to order two of them and sit patiently and wait. They arrive fairly quickly. Order two so you have an extra for when this happens in the future. And TRUST ME this WILL happen again in the future. That black ribbon cable is about as durable as a wet paper towel against a bullet. Best bet in the future is to only open your lid, no more than 45 degrees. I crossed the line when cleaning the inside of the lid so it was clear and shiny because Im anal like that. I opened the lid all the way open to clean the underside and I am betting that’s when the ribbon cable crapped out on me.

I’m glad to hear your Glowforge is working and everything is up and running again. I’m going to close this thread. If you run into any other trouble, please start a new topic, or email us at We’re here to help!