How long should I leave the Glowforge on?

@dan, some equipment (like our xerox color copier) actually runs through a shut down sequence when shut off with the switch, and it’s preferable to turn the machine off through the switch. other equipment is 6 of one, half dozen of the other because either way it’s just a switch closing the power circuit. does the GF run any kind of shut down sequence when you turn it off from the switch?


The switch in the rear is a ‘hard’ switch not a ‘soft’ switch. So powering off via this switch just kills the mains directly.


No shutdown sequence! The firmware folks saved me a lot of work on that one.


I use a WeMo to turn it on and off because reaching to the back is not optimal. Has Glowforge gotten to test with one to make sure they don’t do nothing weird?
Voice control, it is the future!

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i like this idea. connect to a wemo, and a command to alexa… “alexa, turn off glowforge.”


That is exactly what I do. Of course Alexa is still learning an odd word like Glowforge so she has heard ‘glow farge’ and ‘glow flirt’ and ‘ball farce’ but I think she is getting it pretty accurate now.


that’s my plan. Just set up my outdoor outlet from iDevices to turn on and off My wife’s water fountain in the garden yesterday.


Perhaps we will then evolve to not have arms.


y’all’re more trustworthy than i am; i wouldn’t connect the laser to voice control simply to avoid accidentally turning it off in the middle of a cut.


At least there isn’t voice control for setting and the Big Button. “Alexa, set power to 100 and inches per minute to 1. Alexa, start print.”


Kinda unlikely. Nothing else in my device list remotely sound like the word ‘Glowforge’ and even starts with the word ‘glow’. In SmartThings it is in own ‘room’ and as for the Amazon Echo its in its own device list. So nothing else can turn it off unless it’s directly specified. The only thing linked to it is the booster. And even then its a slave device as it reacts if the Glowforge 1. starts pulling more than 80W and 2. the hall effect sensor at the first blast gate is ‘high’. Then afterwards it stays active for 2 mins then shuts back off.

And at any rate. It just convenience. If either my wife or myself is downstairs or the garage and we want to use it. Then we can remote fire it up before we get back in the office. So by the time either of use gets there- it ready to go. Necessary? Nope. Hella convenient? Yup.

*Edit. Here’s and example.

We were at Makerfaire CA. We were using the unit provided to us. And at the end of the day, it was powered off. But items my wife made had cuts times that were too long. As lines started to back up. When we got back to the hotel she made changes and I remote fired up the glowforge back at home (VA) and she sent ‘jobs’ to it so she can see if changes from AI would reduce the job time. Also remember that nothing will happen unless you physically press the button on the machine.

(I sent an email to support a couple months back about being able to send virtual jobs just to see the motion planning and the time without having a glowforge in your account powered on.)


just noticed the back home (VA) comment and realized you’re in springfield. i live in falls church and work in arlington. howdy neighbor.

Does leaving the glowforge on shorten the life of the laser? Also does different power levels of cutting age the laser differently for example cutting cardboard vs hardwood? Is there some way to see how many hours you have cut cumulatively?

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Not materially - power cycles do more harm to most electronics than sustained runtimes. However, they have noted in the past that the alignment can drift over time so it’s good to reboot once in awhile. I do that about once a week. I think @rpegg does something similar.

The power used vs life of tube is not a linear relationship. It’s very flat for almost all power settings up into the 98% range. That means there’s almost no difference in burning cardboard at 10% for 2000 hours and hardwood at 95%. However, I asked Dan earlier this year whether we needed to avoid 100% (or Full Power now) and he said they take care of that in the software and there’s no need to avoid full power. I expect that they’re doing something similar to what I do on the Redsail - set the machine to not exceed 95% power no matter what’s called for by the software.


Oh thanks for this.I had been wondering as I know it can be a concern for some tubes. Good to know we don’t need to worry about it.

As @jamesdhatch mentioned, “Power cycles do more harm to most electronics than sustained run-times.” I work in the IT industry and hard power cycles (Pull the plug) are only a last resort.

On occasion I had to re-align due to user error. Does the Glowforge web interface have a soft reset or manual re-calibration function?

Just got our GF a couple of weeks ago. Living in a old house there’s bound to be some drops in the power. I’ve put UPS’s on all my electronics and 3D printer(XYZprinting).

Can we use a wemo? I thought they said not to use any sort of extension cord or surge protector. I was thinking this meant no wemo. If love to have Alexa participate.

Not to fix the “drift” issue where it accumulates tiny errors over many prints. I usually power cycle it once a week. There’s nothing scientific about that frequency but it’s easy to remember :slight_smile:️ It really should be usage based since the drift grows with each print so if you’re printing lots of things all day at might make sense to do it every few days. Conversely if you only do a few prints a week, you might be fine waiting a couple or three weeks.

@scott.wiederhold did the calculations for the drift per print a couple of weeks ago. Not huge but also not zero.

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You can do whatever you want. But they recommend, for no good reason that I’ve seen, against plugging it into anything except your wall outlet.