Plastic Body and Fireproofing



I was talking lasers with a colleague recently and I realized that GF had decided to go with a plastic body. Now, I’ve set a thing or two on fire with my 45w laser and I live in the desert (it was >120ºF last week). Has the plastic been extensively heat tested in QA?


Until you get a better answer… A post from Sept.


that’s why I’m staying down here in Tucson ! only 117 degrees!


So that suggests another addition for the @dan hopper - a background process that monitors the lid camera for signs of fire and shuts everything down if a fire is sensed. It’ll need to ignore the small flaring that goes on with some active cuts at the head but doesn’t spread to the material.



I had not seen that particular thread, but I know we had talked about something similar sometime back in November. I more want to make sure that if my A/C goes out for a week that I won’t have to worry about losing the one thing that’ll help me replace the A/C monetarily wise.

I also know there are some solvents you can add to plastic to increase their melting point and harden the cases, but I don’t know that any of them are being implemented. And I also don’t know that the parts manufacturers did any kind of QA testing. I need data points to assuage my fears. (Side effect of working in manufacturing.)


Mother of god, I don’t know how you all do it. I’m hiding inside from 85° here.


Haha, we go from air conditioning to air conditioning. Also, we rarely get over 20% humidity when it’s that hot.


Understood. Think you are worried about two different things though. The fire resistance of the case will have little to do with the external temperature. The temperature at which even paper catches fire is several hundreds of degrees above 120F. So if there is a fire inside the Glowforge the room temperature should not be much of a factor either way. However, the temperature at which you run the Glowforge before affecting the electronics and tube life is a completely different story. There seems to be some sort of operating temperature protection, but if your A/C breaks and the room gets uncomfortable don’t run the Glowforge. It’s not intended to run in an unconditioned environment. 70F yep, 80F probably, 90F wouldn’t bet on it. Which is your question for Dan?


Not to mention the bottom of the forge cutting area is metal. Least I am pretty sure they said that at the latest Makerfaire they did.


Nope, I am worried about one thing that can be affected by both internal and external heat sources. I have a unique set of circumstances that can happen, which is why I’m asking about the one thing - QA testing on the plastic body’s heat resistance. Heat doesn’t always come with fire.

I, of course, have other concerns, but they’re not what I’m asking about in this thread. So, this is me redirecting back onto track. :slight_smile:

To get cutting, you place your material on a metal (usually aluminum) honeycomb that allows the laser to cut through. This is mildly related to my concerns because if it’s plastic under that honeycomb, then what’s the point? The honeycomb would heat up and melt through. I don’t think there will be for my pro version because the air filter is under there.

I’m going to say this, and I don’t mean to sound dismissive of your comments - but I do have over a decade of experience with laser engraving and cutting. I have seen lots of really weird flukes happen that have often had catastrophic results. I want to make sure we minimize fall out from that. I want to know that they’ve tested to find the threshold for quality assurance. I need that assurance. That’s an answer only Glowforge as a company can provide.

It’s very easy for start up companies to overlook certain tests because they don’t know they should perform them.


I mean UNDER the removable honeycomb the bottom of the forge itself is metal. And I confirmed it, found the picture from the Makerfaire that the bottom is metal. Yes, with the honeycomb removed :wink:


You can’t get a more clear answer to your question than this… :grinning:


Sorry to hear about that…I’ve been using laser cutters for over 16 years and thankfully never had an issue with fire…or other bad things…and I’ve experimented with alot of different materials…just always check to see whats safe I guess.:wink:


Worse issue I had was leaving a can of diet coke on a piece of material - outside the intended cut area - to weigh down the warp. Duh.

Darn that pesky moving rail thing.

Diet Coke slammed by a laser head makes a mess and then nothing works until you clean it out of the lens because laser don’t make it across a diet coke bubble laying on the lens :smile:


You wouldn’t believe the crazy chemistry that went into our case. [quote=“emacartoon, post:10, topic:2458”]
QA testing on the plastic body’s heat resistance. Heat doesn’t always come with fire.
As you might imagine, this is one of those places around which our friendly neighborhood lawyer recommend we be extremely noncommunicative. But yes, we do a great deal of design and testing around heat in many forms.

How flame resistant is the tray/bed of the Glowforge?

That’s a great way to phrase “the lawyers said to shut our traps” :smile:

I love lawyers. :slight_smile:


Perfect. Just what I needed to hear. Thanks @dan!