So recently my GF has not been clearing the smoke as well as it used to, but also I was getting bursts of flame, sometimes for quite a few seconds, while cutting MDF/draftboard.
I had cleaned the exhaust port a couple of times with no change so decided to give it a really good scrub out with a pipe cleaner. Loads more junk cleared out.
But also, while cleaning the lens, I noticed the little micro fan was also full of gunk & debris. So I cleaned that out too. (NOTE: keep the unit pointing downwards while cleaning the micro fan, you don’t want crap falling onto the internal mirror.
End result is better throughput of air and also it looks like better smoke clearance around the laser itself.
I’m still getting a little flaring, but not as much as before. After all this I’m not sure what’s started this, material change? firmware change? air flow change? Any suggestions?
Sounds like you are cleaning the head fan? That is intended to keep the lens internals clean. The larger air assist fan, attached to the head mounting plate, is the fan that handles flare-ups. Make sure that one is clean. You can get to it by moving the gantry all the way forward and looking behind and under the laser tube. Or the entire plate with fan can be removed for cleaning, but make sure you have the removal directions.
I have cleaned mine many times with alcohol hand cleaner. It has managed to get so full of gunk as to stop spinning entirely and yes lots of flare and burning at the cut happens.
By putting one end of a C-Pap hose in a shop vac the rubbery end is small and flexible enough to jam into the chute that the air comes out of and pull lots of air through even with the Glowforge shut down.
Under these conditions the fan will only spin when it is freed up and I dump quite a bit of the cleaner into the fan intake . the cleaner dissolves the gunk and the vacuum sucks out everything so there is nothing particle or liquid that does not make it .
When the fan is free it will spin up and I leave it doing so for a half hour drying out and staying freed up for some time after but it still needs frequent attention as now that I am aware of the need I have much less tolerance for the flaring, though it never totally ceases.
You are right! Didn’t realise that fan was there!!!
Gave it one clean out while it was still fitted to the gantry and although lots came out it made no difference. So took it off the gantry as per the instructions and gate it a clean on the desk. Loads more gunk and a proper air flow now - thank you.