Magnetic fields affecting Air assist fan and stopping jobs?


Was able to work around it but ran into a new interaction between the GF and the magnets I use to secure my material.

I have the 1/8"x Ø1-1/4" neo magnets on a piece I was running yesterday and noticed that the GF was pausing mid-print, briefly, and returning to work. After a couple times I returned to the GFUI to see a message to the effect of “There’s something wrong with the fan on the head of the GF, contact support”.

I figured it was a buildup of lasergunk™ on the air assist fan and endeavored to clean it up a bit. After cleaning what I could of the fan I cleaned the contacts on the head/gantry interface and tried running the job again. I changed what I was cutting, and it stopped completely in the middle of the job. Tried again, and made it all the way to the point where it had failed before, the first position where the air assist was directly over a magnet. I reset the unit, resent the job and watched the AA fan stop in the middle of the job, at the exact same place.

This is the first that I have seen of a magnet causing issues like this, has anyone else seen this behavior? I have been running jobs with these magnets since I’ve received my GF, and I recall passing over magnets without issue in the past. Maybe the AA fan is going bad? Software update?



The November update mentioned in the software updates that they added fan monitoring. I wonder of the magnets might be affecting the fan speed and setting off some sort of flag.


FWIW, I use magnets salvaged from hard drives and have not had this problem, but others’ magnets may be much more powerful.


Last Night I was able to observe magnets affecting the air assist fan. I was using 1/8" material (not thick) and strong magnets (these). I was watching the laser run and at one point I noticed more billowing smoke. I thought “oh crap my air assist fan stopped” but a few seconds later the smoke was blowing off the material like normal. Later the laser passed over the same area where I saw the billowing smoke and it happened again. That’s when I noticed that in that area the air assist was passing over top of one of my magnets. It was not really a problem for me but certainly something to watch for future troubleshooting.


What if the strength of your magnets is stopping the air assist fan. Just a thought. :thinking:


I’m quite sure that is what was happening.


It didn’t cause an issue for me. I was cutting and scoring so the laser did not linger very long in the area but if someone was engraving I could see a potential problem.


I use magnets that I salvaged from old hard drives with no problems. They have a plate on top of them that seems to disrupt the magnetic field in the upward direction. I use the edge of the plate to put over the edge of the material. Works great for me. I have seen them for sale on eBay if you don’t have access to old hard drives. :grinning:


I do have hard drives. What proper tinkerer wouldn’t have a couple of old hard drives laying around? :slight_smile: I can use hold down clips too. I guess I just want to make people aware for troubleshooting and to avoid problems. Maybe in the near future I may test my theory by setting up a potential scenario with a magnet and an engraved area.


Do you know what they look like?


I’ve destroyed and disassembled many hard drives. I cringe when someone throws away a broken computer without removing and destroying the hard drive. I demonstrated that to my nephew when he brought home a computer he found in the garbage. It didn’t start up but I had no problem pulling the hard drive and installing in my computer to show him all the info and photos someone left to be discovered.


It’s very possible that the height of your magnet interrupted the air flow.


This is interesting to me as I have a LOT of magnets from old hard drives (I’ve been heading up technology departments for 25+ years) and have used them for all manner of things. Never thought that the plate the magnet is glued to would stop or disrupt the field, but it makes sense. Iron will do that.

So - makes me wonder if magnets should be used without some kind of shielding? Is there anything official from Glowforge on that?


I guess it’s possible but they are only 1/8" thick and the material was 1/8" (1/4" total off the crumb tray). I’m pretty convinced it stopped the fan for a short time.


It doesn’t take a lot because the air outlet scoop is pretty well offset, and at a relatively flat angle from the beam outlet. But, anything is possible also :slight_smile:

The official line is to not use magnets.


But that doesn’t make sense - you can’t cut paper on the GF without hold downs, I guess because it’s not proofgrade they don’t have a suggestion for that?

This is really perplexing.


If you don’t use magnets for paper, you can use a Seklema mat or a home-made adhesive board. And just as an aside, I haven’t had any issues at all with magnets. I cut and engrave paper a lot and have used small flat magnets to hold it down.


it very much does. i’ve found that if i pull the HD magnet off the material and flip it upside down (metal plate on the honeycomb), it doesn’t hold to the honeycomb at all. very convenient when you’re shifting stuff around that you don’t necessarily have to take the magnets out, you can just put them off to the side.


I am experiencing this same problem. I used magnets with no issues in the past, but now when the air assist fan is directly over a magnet it will stop spinning. It attempts to restart but eventually gives the air assist alert and I have to cancel the job. If I remove the magnets and use the hold down pins I have no issues. Guess no more magnets for me. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: