Lid Detached + Overseas (Philippines)

Our lid has detached at the hinges. After doing a quick search here, I realized that we’re not the first ones to have experienced it. I was hoping by now that the GF team would have some sort of protocol in place on instructions on how to re attach it but this is the reply I got:

"I’m so sorry to hear about the trouble with the lid.

I can give you permission to glue it back together yourself. Unfortunately, it’s not a repair we support, so I don’t have any specific advice.

If you’d prefer that we repair your unit, we are happy to do that.

I understand that shipping from your location is difficult. If you do decide to send us your printer, let us know and we’ll follow up with more details."

Huge caveat is I live in the Philippines, which is literally on the other side of the world. And we’ve been on lockdown for 90+ days. Sending it for repairs is not an option. I’m wondering if anyone who experienced the same thing can answer the following questions? (Please note I have not touched it since the lid got detached)

  1. The hinges are stuck in their upright position. Can I force them down? Or should I turn the machine on first?
  2. Will the GF function with the detached lid? I’m guessing it should? I’m the only one using it so I can be extra careful.
  3. If we’ll try to glue the lid back on, is it safe to remove the black ribbon thing that is attached from the lid to that chip at the back? What’s the safest way to remove it? Unscrew the chip?

I’m being overly cautious. Any other advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

-Isa

A piece of advice if you want to try a modification on a Glowforge and operate it: Get proper 11 000 nm laser safety glasses and don’t let any other people/pets into t he room while it is operating. The radiation from the CO2 laser is invisible and can fry your retinas and make you blind. Your unit will probably not work with the lid detached; there are magnetic detectors that tell it to not function if the lid is open. Put up some pics of the problem and someone may be able to help. Check the beyond the manual section of the help.

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As stated, the machine will not operate with the lid removed. The “lid open” interlock sensors are located in the lid, without their signal, that will prevent any operation. It also wouldn’t be able to run the initial head locating (centering) operation which depends on the lid camera, so the machine will be stuck in the startup calibration process.

The black cable that attaches to the small white board on the back of the machine can be removed by carefully sliding the locking clip open. They are not designed for repeated use, so you need to be very careful to not damage it, as the machine will be permanently inoperable if that cable is not properly connected.

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I recently had this same problem, documented here: When It Rains

Here’s my advice on if you’re willing to do the repair yourself, and luckily, requires nothing from the GF company to repair. I recommend getting a few things before doing all of this, including

  1. A straight edge razor blade for scraping the old adhesive off of the glass, and frame.
  2. Rough sandpaper, to roughen the glass and frame for the new adhesive to have a better grip. This isn’t entirely necessary, and if you decide to do this, know that it will scratch the paint that is on the lid and you will be able to see those scrathes when looking at the top of the lid. I prefered having the peace of mind that came with the scratches over the machine looking “good”.
  3. You’ll want to clean the surfaces with some alcohol wipes or a general cleaner so that there isn’t any foreign contaminants in the way of the new adhesive.
  4. A strong adhesive, in my case, I used a two-part epoxy, but others have suggested other options. If you search for lid detached and read through some of those threads, you can find what others have used.
  5. Some clamps would be helpful, I had some of these from amazon, but I’m sure you could find alternatives locally. These are especially helpful if you decide to undo the bolts holding the lid frame to the machine. I don’t think very many people went this route, and just used weight to hold the lid down after putting new adhesive on, but for me, I had an easier time undoing the frame and clamping it to the glass. It’s much easier to clean up this way if you use too much glue.

Unplug the machine, definitely the first step. If you aren’t aware, you can freely move the laser tube around, so I’d suggest moving it towards the front to give you more space to work with in the back. The black ribbon cable is attached to a circuit board that has a second cable attached to it behind the frame of the machine, so unattaching the black ribbon cable, rather than the screws, is easier. There is a black clip that holds the cable in place on that circuit board, as well as a two-sided tape that holds it to the machine. It’s easy enough to open the black clip holding the cable in place, just insert a fingernail between the clip and the cable, and pull down and forward on it. Here are some images of what it should look like before and after being open.

Should look like this when it’s open :arrow_down:

The cable sits in a sort of pocket, so pull it towards you and up, and it will come out. When you eventually go to put the cable back in, just be aware of it needing to go back into that “pocket”. I’ve circled in red where you’ll want to pay attention to.

If you can, you’ll want to heat up the section that’s stuck to the tape so that the adhesive lets go more safely. This cable has been known to break for some people, so the less stress you can cause it, the better. With that out of the way, you shold be able to freely lift your lid off of the machine. It’s heavier than you might think, so be prepared for that.

From here, you’ll just follow the steps I listed at the top. Scrape the old glue off, scratch up the surfaces if you’re going to do that, and clean them up. The piece that attaches to the glass is not metal, it’s a metal coated plastic, so when scraping the old glue off, keep in mind that you might cause gauges in it if you’re not careful. They won’t affect the machine functioning, but it’s something to be aware of.

Yes, the hinges can manually be pushed into any position. This is where you can choose whether you want to do the clamps, or place weight on the lid to glue everything together. If you choose weight with the lid closed, just have something that can catch any excess glue that could drop into the machine. Give it a few days to harden, and be patient. Better to be patient and have it work, than to undo all of your hardwork because you were impatient in testing the lid. Wait until you’re sure that the new glue will hold before plugging your black ribbon cable back in, and once you’re sure of that, you’ll have fixed your machine and saved hundreds of dollars in shipping (and if you’re out of warranty, repairs).

If you decide to go through with this, be patient in every step. You’ll also want to do the Camera Recalibrator, since it’s very likely that the lid is not precisely where it was when it was originally calibrated. Good luck, and I hope that you’re able to find something to work for you!

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Thank you so much! I’m thinking though, if the issue is lack of adhesion between the lid and the hinges, shouldn’t the machine work when the lid and hinges are firmly shut and in place?

Everything that eflyguy mentioned is important for the machine to work properly. Technically you could entirely remove the the hinges from the machine, and so long as the cables and connections were maintained, your machine would run. Everything attached to the lid has to send a signal that everything is where it’s supposed to be, and all of that info is sent through the black ribbon cable. The most important part is the machine needing to know whether the lid is open or closed, which is dependent on those connections and sensors. The hinges add a lot of reinforcement, especially since the glass lid is heavy, and a bonus to that reinforcement is the black ribbon cable dealing with less stress.

So, yes, it may be possible to use the machine with the hinges in the down position at all times, but you’d need some way to ensure that the lid was secure while open, and you’d be risking more damage to your machine, but more importantly, you’d also be putting yourself in more danger. You can always get more money, but your health has a limit to it, so be careful in whatever you feel comfortable in doing.

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