Pro vs Plus vs Basic duty cycle

I have a friend who’s considering buying a GF, and asked me the following question:

We are trying to figure out if the Pro or the Plus is more suited to our needs. I don’t think we need the feed through option, but the cooling sounds good for long prints. Do you have a sense of what the duty cycle of the Plus is? I can’t realistically see us using the laser for more than five hours a day.

I don’t have a Basic or a Plus. Does anyone here have any insights?


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it all comes down to whether or not the GF can stay cool enough to keep working.

That’s got a lot more to do with the environmental temperature than which model you’re using. If the workspace is cooler than the guidelines say (I believe 75 degrees F), then you should be ok to work a lot with the basic. The pro can handle slightly warmer temperatures and has active cooling to help it get back to workable temps if it does happen to get too warm.

I like to keep my pro under 75, personally, and I have never gotten a single cooling message.


Just a very basic theoretical understanding. If your friend is a fellow Canadian who will use it in an office or modern home I don’t think it matters. A Plus in a home or office without AC is probably only going to be marginally better than a Basic in most of Canada. I live in Wisconsin and the number of days this last summer where the house would have stayed below 81, but above 75 without the AC running was pretty small.

If you’re in BC or a maritime province does it even get that warm? With solar gain? I’m only half joking.

I would focus on the five hours a day. Even if it is only three hours on average I would think the increase in tube power would be worth the extra money.


I have a Basic and for what it’s worth, sounds to me like a basic would work just fine for your friend. First of all, unless you live in a very warm climate, I don’t think the cooling would be an issue. Second…at this point in time, no one really can run an engrave for much longer than about 3 or 3.5 hours anyway, which is pretty much maxed out, but I don’t consider that a really long run time. Personally, I don’t average as much as 5 hours per day, but compared to some users on here, I don’t consider that as really heavy use.


I will say that for cutting, the pro is significantly faster. It all comes down to your priorities. I wanted the faster cutting speed and passthrough slots. I’m glad I went with a pro, but it’s a pricey jump for what might seem like marginal increases. I value my time more than anything so it was worth it to me.


It depends.

As mentioned, duty cycle is going to be largely based on ambient temps of the workspace - for either machine.

The rest depends on what they are going to be doing for 5 hours a day.

If they are doing engraves, they’ll have the same throughput (if they stay within temperature parameters).

If they are cutting out parts for 5 hours a day, using full power operations, they will see approximately 20% better throughout using the Pro.


Unfortunately, the vast majority of my cuts are at 100 precision power vs full power. So I lose the speed advantage of the pro. For my particular climate though, it’s much easier to keep the operating environment below 81 (and whatever couple of degrees extra they said they squeezed out of it), than to keep it below 75.

It might not sound like a huge difference in actual temps, but it’s significant in terms of energy usage.


Is that to be more gentle on your puzzles?

There are cases where I go low and slow too to prevent overburn and whatnot. But the majority of my big cuts (cut jobs that are an hour or more), I’m going hot and fast.


Yup. Took a ton of fiddling to figure it out. Two faster passes at 100 is way more gentle on the photo paper than 1 slower pass at Full. And a tighter kerf.


Bingo. I have favorable temperatures in my shop, and I have worked that machine to the bone. No issues whatsoever. Sun up to sundown. Keeping the optics clean is the main maintenance issue.
If the infrared is not transmitted, it is deposited. Infrared is only light until it touches something, then it’s heat. Any build-up on the windows or lens absorbs that energy. Get it dirty enough and the heat will crack it.


Buying a PRO is same reason I advise all truck buyers to get a tow package on a truck even if they never plan on using for that.
Heavy duty transmission, cooling, etc.

The PRO is the same. Heavy duty looty.


If the plus had been an option 3 years ago, I would have ordered that one for sure. As the only options back then were basic and pro, I got a basic because I would never use the passthrough (for space reasons).

That said, I’m not mad about the basic. After nearly a year, I’ve never once had it do the “cooling” thing other people have seen. And I’ve had that sucker going almost constantly for 4-5 hours in August.

I live in Georgia (state, not country), so it’s definitely hot here for much of the year, but its in my home office which is air conditioned (also for much of the year😊). When its very hot or humid, I do keep the blast gate thinger closed while the glowforge isn’t actively cutting just to keep as much of the heat out as possible. I also have the glowforge positoned under an air vent, although that was more dumb luck than careful planning.


I bought the pro for the passthrough. Not because I expected to cut bigger pieces (fantasies I had about that quickly dispelled anyway) but I get much more efficient use of material cutting a 48" x 96" into 5 - 19" x 48" sheets and as so much comes in 24" lengths or more and I have no room for a table saw much less the flexibility to choose to make the odd piece 8" or 4".


I woulda gotten the pro if they had had the passthrough shields when I was making the decision. But I’m pretty darn happy with my basic, and haven’t had cooling issues yet.


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