Well, today was a hot day here in the San Francisco area.
I wanted to make a single round cut on my GlowForge, and it could not. Before it started, it gave me an alert and told me that it would cool the unit before proceeding. It tried, but given that the air in the room it is in is about 85 degrees, it never started the cut.
Unfortunately, my unit is not in an air conditioned room. I wasn’t planning on cooling this room. Can the GlowForge seriously not function at 80-90 degrees? My computers, and electronics perfectly fine with the temperature. I’m curious why the GlowForge folks picked such a low max.
Do you have a Basic or a Pro model? The Basic is good up to about 75°F and the Pro up to 81°F, if I recall correctly. It has active cooling built in.
You can try a fan pointed at the bottom on the right side, where the air intake is located to cool it off inside the machine, but if you are way out of range for your model, your best bet is a portable air conditioner to bring the temp down around it. There have been some creative solutions in the Beyond the Manual category too.
It’s the laser tube, not the electronics. There are several problems running it over temp. One is a significant drop off in power produced, another is that it can reduce the lifetime.
The tube consumes significantly more power than the beam it creates (45W) the excess power is lost to heat which is carried away by a liquid medium which is pumped in a loop. It radiates this excess heat through a heat sink which is cooled by air movement across the fins produced by the fans. The Pro adds a bit of extra cooling via a Peltier cooler, without that you’re entirely dependent on the ambient air being cool enough to carry the heat away. 85 degree air won’t be able to cool the tube below 85 degrees.
This limitation isn’t particular to the Glowforge which is why you’ll often see water chillers as a recommended accessory for laser cutters of other makes, particularly if they’re intended for use in a production system.
Think we might be seeing a lot of these in the near future (we had 100 today - and just getting started). I wonder if a preemptive email from Glowforge with a reminder of suggested operating conditions and recommendations for warm weather operations might be a good idea!