Non-Pro Performance in warmer climates

cooling

#1

I was wondering how the non-Pro Glowforge performs in warmer climates. Even with the A/C at full blast, it’s not going to get much colder than 77F/25C where I live, and there had never been any mention of an operating temperature range until recently. I was wondering if anyone who has used their unit yet would be able to tell me a bit about the difference in quality and print time for engraving something like this in a 78F room vs a 74F room.

I asked the support team, but they didn’t provide any helpful information. I had to go back and forth with them for a while until the got the following response:
"Previously, the Glowforge unit would not attempt to start a print if it might pause during the print. Now, it will start, then pause to cool - but if the conditions are poor it may never be able to cool off enough to finish the print. Performance depends on a variety of factors including the humidity, the type of print, the ambient temperature, and more. For example, cutting operations generate more heat than engraving operations. If you plan to use your Glowforge unit in ambient temperatures up to 75F, your Basic should be fine. If you are operating up to 81F, we’d recommend upgrading to the Glowforge Pro."
So their only recommendation is to drop another couple grand on a device I haven’t even seen yet. Especially frustrating given this is a device that’s advertised as being able to be used at home and in schools, and now they’re saying it can’t be used in what most of the world would consider “room temperature”. This is hardly sounding like a consumer-ready product. The fact that I had to reach out to them to gather information that should have been made available a long time ago is also troubling.


#2

It’s possible your question has been answered here…


#3

I haven’t done that engrave and I am running a PRU so the results may not be the same as a production unit. However, I was down for about 3 weeks while the temp in my basement was over 80F and the GF would simply refuse to do anything - startup resulted in the amber alert with the GFUI showing the temperature warning. Since the new cooling fix came out, I’ve done a fair amount of work - mostly engraving though - that has run in multiple hour run-times with multiple jobs stacked back to back. The only downtime was that which occurred while waiting on the GFUI to render a job for print. The temps have been between 75 and 82F consistently. The relative humidity is always about 40 (38-40% is the norm). Your response from them is the first time I saw that humidity also played a part in their temperature controls so not sure if higher humidity is better or worse.

The results I’m seeing are better than before but they also came out with new power controls and settings so can’t do an apples to apples comparison.


#4

That post is what prompted me to reach out to support in the first place. It doesn’t really cover the performance issue they mention in other places.


#5

Do you have a link to those recently mentioned specs?

I’m still waiting on a basic unit, but I’ve never seen any warnings about required ambient conditions, and never even knew these cutters were that sensitive to temperature ranges that would be comfortable to some humans. We keep it around 81-82 most of the year, certainly a little warmer than some like, but we’re okay with it. It is a bit cooler inside during the short Phoenix winter.

If that’s well out of the operating range, well, shoot. I guess I just can’t use one.


#6

I believe >80ºF will, unfortunately, meet that criteria. I think you’ll want to either find a way to cool your Glowforge area or upgrade to a Pro. When my unit ran too hot a few weeks ago, I purchased an A/C unit that immediately resolved the issue. However, soon after that, Glowforge made changes to how the units operate in, what it considers, higher temperatures. So it’s possible I no longer need one, but I haven’t put it to the test.


#7

Optimum operating conditions are listed in the Manual that was posted a couple of updates ago.

Before I give you the link to it, you need to understand that the Basic unit is going to be designed to “pause” operations if it gets too warm and needs to cool off for a while. It’s designed to extend the life of the tube.

So if you can lower the temperature to something closer to that suggested range, you’re going to have a much longer life out of it, and won’t have the machine taking rest breaks all the time.

Or you can upgrade to the Pro model, which has active cooling.


#8

I’m at work and don’t have the chance to read all the other replies. I can tell you I’ve had my unit for a few weeks now and we’re in the middle of a heat wave here in California. For the first weeks or so I had to drop the air conditioning to get it run during the peak heat indoors. Since the update to fix the issue, I haven’t had one instance of it not running because of temperature. During the highest temps my house hits about 81 and no issues so far. Of course you’re mileage may vary.


#9

I had to email support to get the details in my original post. You would think they would let us know about those kind of limitations when they took our money, especially considering there is zero return policy once they collect your shipping address.

As for an update to the Pro, I just don’t have the money now. Regardless, the “Basic” unit should be able to operate in “Basic” conditions.


#10

Is that for the Non-Pro version? If so, that sounds pretty good.


#11

Oh, look. That’s v2.1 of the manual. I’ll have to read that one.


#12

Correct, mine is the basic. I don’t want to say you won’t experience problems, but I run my house normally at about 77-78 and I haven’t had any real issues since they fixed the tempature sensitivity. It was a real pain at first as it went down every night. There has been a significant improvement though.


#13

I’m right there with you.
A lot of people keep saying that those of us in warm climates (I managed to get my shop down to 90F yesterday after running the A/C for several hours) would be better off if we upgrade to Pros, but I think we’d be better off if the Basic were designed to operate within common workshop environments.


#14

I can’t say anything about how it preforms in that kind heat but i can say without a doubt that if you can get the room, or at least the air going into the unit, into the acceptable range the basic will run all day and night without any major issues.

It hasn’t been too warm out this weekend so our AC has been off which means my basement is much warmer then normal, around 72-74. I know that is still cold compared to what you need, but my unit has been cutting almost non-stop since Friday night. I am averaging around 18-20 hrs of run time each day with no issues.

I still have about 3 mores days of this pace before it will have a break so i’ll let you know if it runs into any problems.


#15

While I can’t say something is impossible - but the premise of the Glowforge seems to be an all-in-one self-contained unit. Other laser cutters on the market will operate at higher ambient temps. They also have quite expensive chillers or buckets of ice water sitting to the side. Not having expensive chillers or buckets of ice water sitting to the side is a selling point for me - however, selling points differ from person to person.

That they’ve actually managed to create a unit that is self-contained and will run at fairly reasonable temps is unlike anything else on the market, to the best of my knowledge.

I hate to sound unreasonable but if you’re looking at 90 degrees, you’re potentially going to be quite disappointed.


#16

Yeah, it’s been a surprise because the original info never mentioned any real temperature restrictions. And in the ensuing dialogue when it hit a lot of us last month, it looked like there was a huge variation in what people thought were “normal” and acceptable temperatures - I’m an 80F/low-humidity guy as are lots of people in the U.S. Southwest and other (relatively) arid climates vs 75F and high humidity like the PAC NW :slight_smile:

I do expect that active cooling is required above 85F regardless. That’s pretty consistent with all the other lasers I’ve used. Once the laser’s cooling jacket hits that, the CO2 laser just doesn’t play nicely. And without active cooling, it’s hard to see how a laser generating a ton of heat (remember 80% of the power does not end up in the laser beam) can be cooled below ambient air temps that are over 85F.

I’m hoping the Pro comes with some big Peltier coolers. I’ve had my Redsail shutdown when the A/C was out and the chiller (CW 5000) wasn’t able to keep up with really long jobs but it doesn’t (didn’t) happen often.


#17

on the plus side if you live in a pretty low humidity environment, swamp coolers might actually benefit you…


#18

The manual @Jules linked says keep the temperature below 75F for the basic and 81F for the pro to prolong the life. So although people are saying their basic is running fine above 75F, presumably it is reducing the tube life.

81F for the pro is not very high. It is occasionally warmer than that here in the UK. 75F is a joke as that is normal ideal room temperature.


#19

I would highly doubt that the Pro come with an external cooling. I’m guessing it will just be a small Peltier unit added to the same system as the basic.

Which is why the Pros operating temp isn’t much higher then the basic.


#20

I live in San diego near the ocean so it’s a bit cooler here than the rest of SD. My unit has refused to run twice on 80ish degree days. BUT that was before the update, after the update I haven’t seen the overheating warning again.

I hope they didn’t sacrifice too much tube life for running temps, but yeah, no problems so far.