Pro downgrade?

I have looked everywhere (with search) but haven’t seen the answer to this question. I am a pre 24th backer with going for the full package (Pro model w/filter). Was wondering if I downgrade to the basic if I lose my place. My concern is that the basic is the hardware being tested and haven’t heard anything about the progress of the Pro model testing. I am concerned I won’t get mine by the Dec 2016 prospective ship date. Info about Pro model progress and downgrade would be much appreciated.


I wouldn’t give up due to fear of them not testing the Pro.

The pro and the basic have more similarities than differences.

You aren’t likely to see a Pro out in the wild though. It’s the difference for laster Safety on Class I vs. Class IV.

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Thanks @karaelena !

That’s another reason I’m thinking of downgrading to a Basic. Some of the ideas I have involve bringing the GF out to Maker Fairs and such. I don’t know the regulations (yet) of having a Class IV at or if it would be allowed at places like trade shows, art shows, etc. (with some sort of booth enclosure or extra insurance). Also going to be using this at a Maker’s Space and some of the use would be for school age kids. But man don’t I LOVE the idea of the passthrough! (hint: packable furniture). Ahhhhhhhh I’m so torn!

It doesn’t seem that the GF Pro should be a Class 4 just because of the pass thru. Also those require safety interlocks (which I think the even the GF basic has) and a key switch which I don’t think the Pro has (at least it’s not been mentioned that I recall). I know I’ve seen something that suggests you can open up the Pro by bypassing the safeties but I can do that with most any safety interlocked machine I’ve used (laser or not) and the classification is based on normal use not as modified by a crazy person.

The pass thru would seem to only create a Class 4 scenario based on the potential for laser refraction but that could be obviated by an absorptive bed so regardless of the material (or lack of material) that is being cut/engraved with the door open, the beam wouldn’t shard out and hurt someone. Putting a key lock on the pass thru door and only using it locked at a fair or somewhere should garner Class 1 compliance.

If @Dan ever has a chance to comment on this I’d love to understand the whys of the difference in the two.


That is a good question!

So the upgraded laser (45w) wouldn’t constitute the Class shift? Maybe the power upgrade and the pass through combined? Hopefully @dan does respond. I am sure it’s been explained somewhere here…

Not by itself. There are 80W lasers that are Class 1. A raw unprotected laser is only Class 1 when 25 milliwatts or less. What makes a 40W laser cutter qualify as a Class 1 is because it’s enclosed such that harm to the operator cannot occur during normal use.

I think it’s the pass-thru which converts it to an “open” laser that causes the uptick to Class 4 (the most dangerous classification by the way). But all the ones I’ve seen with a pass-thru have large openings not the thin one the GF has. With a large opening laser reflection is far more possible than the GF. I don’t do laser certification so I’m not an expert, but I would think the combination of the minimal opening with an absorptive bed (and other internal parts) could be demonstrated to eliminate the possibility of escaping laser light in a dangerous collimated beam.

It may just be simpler for GF to accept a Class 4 rating than go to the trouble of proving design features that make an ostensibly Class 4 into a Class 1. After all most people won’t be impacted so the return on effort investment in trying for a Class 1 ratin might not be justified.


Unfortunately class is assigned at manufacture time and can’t be end-user modified, IIRC.

No, it’s about the enclosure, not the laser itself.

If you’re planning schools and maker faire’s, go for the basic. It’ll serve you well!


Is the Pro being tested at all? Are there safety precautions we can take when using the Pro?

Sorry for the wall of text, folks. I just didn’t know how to stop myself.

some general info hashed out in the past:


I think this one discusses cheap vs not-cheap safety glasses

also a good idea:

I’d reccomend reviewing those threads at least since my memory may be fuzzy at this point, and the fire extinguisher and safety glasses threads have good links in them.

Glowforge legaly won’t say anything about modifications to the Pro to make it as safe as the Basic but as the numerous warning do not look into laser with remaining good eye threads point out eyes that can see perfectly are a limited quantity on most readers of this forum. I surely won’t tell you to throw caution to the wind and different Jurisdictions/Countries/counties/provinces/municipalities/homes might have different safety restrictions. You’ll need to find out yours.

In the US OSHA Technical Manual (OTM) | Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Excerpt relevant to basic:

Class I: cannot emit laser radiation at known hazard levels (typically continuous wave: cw 0.4 μW at visible wavelengths). Users of Class I laser products are generally exempt from radiation hazard controls during operation and maintenance (but not necessarily during service).

Since lasers are not classified on beam access during service, most Class I industrial lasers will consist of a higher class (high power) laser enclosed in a properly interlocked and labeled protective enclosure. In some cases, the enclosure may be a room (walk-in protective housing) which requires a means to prevent operation when operators are inside the room.
Excerpt on description for Pro:
Class IV: High power lasers (cw: 500 mW, pulsed: 10 J/cm2 or the diffuse reflection limit) are hazardous to view under any condition (directly or diffusely scattered) and are a potential fire hazard and a skin hazard. Significant controls are required of Class IV laser facilities.

Part of the Glowforge laser safety rating is it’s light frequency placement in infrared non-visible. So you won’t see it coming for you.

Personally following a boat load of restrictions I’ll do electrical work on my home without turning off the mains. I know I can’t see the electricity and have a very healthy respect that it can kill me. It’s not likely to be illegal in my area, but for most people it’s not smart(probably including me.) I’d never play around with the laser, it’s permanent damage invisible and just takes one bad reflection off a reflective surface. So warning signs/doors to protect others, and safety glasses for anyone near with my pro.


Good approach. I actually wear my glasses with my K40 (Class 1) because I will at times run it with the top up as I align the mirrors or getting a piece of material right where I want it. I’m unwilling to suffer the damage of an errant reflection.

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Same - trying to get in the habit of putting them on before I power it up.

A kindred spirit!
Replaced all of the wall switches in the house and a half dozen light fixtures while the circuit was hot. For me getting hit by 110 is a minor annoyance, and serves as a sovereign reflex test… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

From what I have read, the first indication from a laser to the eye is likely to be a “pop” you hear and feel as the fluid in your eye boils.
Hence the reason for the classifications, and why a class IV cannot be used in a public setting like a maker faire.


Thank you @dan ,I was torn but want to be able to be more free with the GF and the basic I think will serve me better! Wondering when I downgrade if I will just get the refund based on the original preorder price or the current price.

That’s how I used to feel about it until I got one bad bite from an outlet that put me on the floor with some missing time and an ozone smell. Since then, I’ve been much more apt to throw the breaker first.


Never found 110 to be that bad. Worked for years as a telephone tech. You do most of your work on live systems. Granted, normal Dial Tone (DT) is negligible on incoming phone lines…until a call comes in and you’re in a(usually) tiny and hot space making you a sweaty mess having to lean on the blocks and zzzt. Ringing Voltage comes through(110v - what tells the phone to ring and used to be the sole power source for old, non-message/wireless phones).
Now, a hot 220 lighting line sitting loose in a ceiling in a construction zone on your arm unexpectedly…that’ll give you a head-snaps-back-and-makes-you-hop-off-a-ladder-real-quick kind of feeling.

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I’d be very surprised if your K40 was a Class 1 laser device. The ones I’ve seen are definitely not compliant with any regulatory regime, US, EU, or otherwise.


Being I’m from where I’m from and 240v is the standard line voltage I’ve found myself sitting down on the other side of the room a couple of times. :grimacing: