How flame resistant is the tray/bed of the Glowforge?

In the video Q&A you answered about how flame resistant the case itself is, particularly from laser contact. But having worked around lasers in maker spaces and the crazy/misguided things people sometimes do on them like trying to cut highly flammable foam (which predictably went up in high temperature flames and melted most of the tray in that particular laser and creating quite a fun afternoon for the rest of us!) – How flame resistant is the bed of the Glowforge both with and without the tray inserted? Also what type of fire extinguisher would you recommend having around so as to not damage the Glowforge should it be needed? And would that kind of damage be covered under warranty?

I’m particularly asking this question because of the large number of 'forgers that are totally new to CO2 lasers and may find themselves having some bad experiments with new materials that they think are “laser safe”


Was that a metal tray? I think Glowforge has a steel honeycomb with a metal tray underneath, probably aluminium.

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Yep it was a (I believe) steel honeycomb on an Epilog laser that got all sorts of disfigured. Those flames were extremely hot and fairly localized to about 4-6 square inches. Vaporized the 2" foam in a few seconds before anyone could even reach for the fire extinguisher. In all fairness, this was a laser in a maker space so the honeycomb was already in fairly poor shape. I think I have some pictures of the aftermath somewhere, I’ll see if I can find them.

It was almost as much fun as when someone managed to shatter the glass lid on one because they’d had the raster tray in and did some cutting anyways… Best we can tell the laser reflected off the tray and weakened the glass and when they opened it the (uncoated safety glass - the coating GF is using isn’t totally redundant!) just shattered into a million pieces when they let go and let it bounce on the stops… To everyone present it just looked like they opened the lid and it exploded.

Again, I’m asking the question for the newbies among us mostly as a cautionary tale - I already know/suspect the answers but it’s always good to have that kind of thing in plain writing :slight_smile:


The obvious answer to your third question… Guarantee that the Epilog damage was not covered under warranty. Operating outside of the warnings in the user manual (don’t cut stuff that you shouldn’t) are never covered by any manufacturer. Just because the purchase price is lower and the market includes those unfamiliar with lasers does not change a warranty.

The legal issue is a different thing. The Glowforge lawyers are probably hard at work to ensure that there is enough information in the user manual to scare the begeezus out of anyone that plans to experiment. Think how careful you need to be with a common Sears radial arm saw.


What power was the Epilog?

I could imagine even stainless steel melting/warping in a situation like that – the plastic would have been dripping down as it caught fire, so you’d have lots of draft, lots of turbulence for more complete combustion of the soot, and the low heat conductivity of a thin-gauge honeycomb would keep the heat localized. (I’ve done some playing with rocket stoves, and apparently the secondary-combustion zone there can get somewhere around 2800F.)

There are a couple of threads on CO2 and halon extinguishers, and yep, good plan to keep one around.


Two good threads


And that’s exactly the kind of info I was hopping to get in a place people are far more likely too look without needing to understand discourse searching now that we’re getting far closer to needing said info! :smiley:

It should go without saying that fire damage wouldn’t be covered by warranty, and that you should have a non water based fire extinguisher around when operating a laser…
EDIT: removed my apparently bad joke about vapor ware…

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It was only a 60W - not much more than the GF has been projected to be (haven’t read every post so not sure if they released official final power numbers yet)

It is supposed to be 40W for basic and 45W for pro.

I take this as being inflammatory (pun intended). The GF is clearly not vaporware since units are being tested in the “wild” by reputable people and a major manufacturer is building them. So…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: - Rich

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It was certainly vapourware when first marketed and all optical alignment features are still vapourware. I think until recently it was nothing more than a good laser cutter with none of the advertised super powers.

But of course, you don’t really know and that is your opinion, just as I have mine (I don’t know either). Just sayin’…I could be completely wrong. - Rich

Edit: @bookwyrm was speaking of the here and now, and is clearly not correct (my opinion only).

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They only got 3D engraving working recently. They have admitted it has no continuously variable focus yet. No pass through mode, no engrave from both sides, no air filter, no optical alignment and the trace mode has focus issues away from the centre. This is after 15 months of development. Do you seriously think it was any more than a basic laser cutter in a smart box at the launch? Perhaps the built in cooling was working then.

But still not vaporware as units are being tested now and you don’t know what else they are doing right now. Lets just wait and see without all the negativity …please? You can have the last word, I have said all I want. :slight_smile: - Rich

Some of the vapour has condensed over the last 15 months but there is still much software left to write. It was marketed as if all these features were working whereas they were good ideas that needed to be implemented. That is known as vapourware.

Wow. Ya make a joke and it goes up in flames… consider my lousy attempt at humor a mistake.

Also you guys clearly don’t understand what the term vaporware actually refers to. This is not a product that isn’t being built and/or can’t actually be built to the specifications. The technology is all out there and just requires someone (in this case Glowforge) applying it to CO2 lasers. It’s certainly a challenge but not something that won’t happen once dedicated folks start working on it. If we could make a coal mining machine that avtively tracked the walls and ceiling in a dark low ceiling mine using machine vision and lasers to automate much of the mining machine control process 20 years ago (I was involved in a project that did just that) this is child’s play from a technology standpoint.


Is that like the things you use for inhaling essential oils? :wink:

I’ve got a couple of those.

No wait…that’s a vaporizer.


Here…you really need to use emoticons… :slight_smile: - Rich


Especially like this one. :no_mouth: