In case of fire - can/does the GF turn the fans off?

Just wondering - fortunately I’ve never had a fire but I was wondering what happens if the GF goes into serious over heat mode?

  1. Does the print head return to base away from any fire?
  2. Do the fans turn off - seems to me they should and would help suffocate or at least slow any fire
  3. Is there any audible alarm - maybe back through the UI if no alarm on the GF.
  4. If there is no alarm on the GF, maybe there should be on future versions
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As there is a lot of heat from the laser it would take a bit for the laser to note and from the photos the head kept going until the belt broke. I expect that far from turning the fans off the fan will increase the flame.

I trying to cut zebrawood a coal would stay lit and every time the fan passed it would find new life. I was watching like a hawk and tried pausing the machine but if the head was near the coal the fan would make it worse.

It does stop and throw an error if it overheats, which would certainly apply if there’s a fire… The photos I’ve seen, even of pretty serious fires (like enough to melt the glass) indicate the Glowforge is built to contain fires pretty effectively. I haven’t yet heard of a Glowforge fire where anything was damaged outside of the machine.

There’s no audible alarm, since you’re supposed to be right there looking at it, and adding an audible alarm would be like giving your permission not to, which I would think could have legal implications for the company.


Yes, that’s what I thought. It seems to me in an “overheat” moving the laser home and turning fans off would make a big difference to both preserving the machine and preventing any hot-spots flaring.

I know exactly what you mean about supposed to be watching and audible alarm - but an audible alarm for an “overheat” would apply when temperature was just too high, not necessarily because of a fire - that should get round it.

The honest truth is no-one watches their GF 100% if even 5% of the time. I will sit right by the machine, with the machine in view while cutting acrylic - but even then my attention is not 100%

Sooner or later, one of these fires is going to go horribly wrong and I’m pretty sure there are things that could be done now and later to ameliorate this.

Certainly if it was shown that the GF sat there blowing air over a point on fire I would think that it is an immediate action against GF

Anyhow - basically I figure that despite who is responsible it must be possible to make the GF safer

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I have been trying to figure how to sneak an outlet through the back passthrough of a pro and connect it to a small CO2 bottle from a sodastream or similar. The tricky bit is the connection and means of setting it off in a fire and not an engrave.

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What if the fire is AT the home position? I don’t think you can really create a standard head movement action that will make it move away from the fire in every instance.

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I know there are fire detectors are opposed to smoke detectors. No idea how they work though

Fire is most likely where it’s cutting which is least likely to be home…

I actually typically place my pieces at the top left and fill in from there. And I’ve had a fire. And that’s where it was. Try again. :wink:

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Actually my fire was a little toward center from home. But homing wouldn’t have protected the head OR the gantry, since the fire was right there.

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We have a laser cutter at work and the presumably-know-what-they’re-doing safety people who wrote the operating procedures advised to leave the exhaust system on in the event of a fire.


Ha ha - yes, so do I. I guess something would be better than nothing. If it came to it, the GF knows where the head is when it overheats, it could move based on getting as far away as possible - which might not be very far I grant.

But for example, if you could move the head and gantry away from the overheat that could help a lot.

It’s not a case of 100% solution, just something that could work in a some cases.

But for MK II, it should have a flame detector and audible alarm and do whatever is best fan wise

For MK I we all have, the fans are under software control and an audible alarm could be controlled by the UI - still better than nothing

I wonder why? Seems counter-intuitive - anybody out there who knows something want to comment?

In many the top glass exploded, so that might be a part of it, though eventually it obviously did not matter.

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