PROBLEMS: Orange light, laser bucking and misaligning multiple pass cuts, what's next?

Been a super frustrating last few weeks. All the sudden, a bunch of problems have started and I’m trying so hard to find work arounds but my business is suffering and customers are noticing. I took a huge financial risk and bought this machine with confidence, and had that for over a year! NOW, I’m getting nervous.

Problem 1: began a month or so ago. I believe the problem may be that the motors on the Y axis are not moving perfectly in sync. It SEEMS like it’s creating a binding situation and the entire X axis/arm isn’t staying perfectly perpendicular once it bucks a tiny bit, then it is OFF for the next pass, making cuts misaligned by a degree or two (as if bicycle handlebars have turned a couple degrees). When the machine is off, there is no issue, everything is smooth. This binding/bucking issue seems to only happen when the laser speed is higher, like the motors can’t keep up with the settings.

 I've tightened/checked all the belts, cleaned everything best I could, wheels all spin freely. I've reconfigured power and settings to overcome the problem, but I can tell its still bucking a little bit and it's a problem that needs a real solution, not a band aid.

Problem 2: began a couple days ago. Orange/yellow/amber light says my GF is too cold to start. It’s 70 degrees in my garage. So I put a small heater nearby, then inside the GF, it warms slowly, enough that when I put my hand anywhere in the machine, it’s obviously warm inside. Still: ORANGE glow. Finally it turns off, then back on, then off. Heater OFF… I laser a few small bits, it paused due to overheating, maybe 2 minutes in… really??? 5 minutes or so later, it resumes, finishes the 3 minute project.

Now orders are past due, customers are asking about their stuff, and I’m left with a $5000 paper weight. I assume I’ll need to take a bunch of fun pictures of the inside and go through the entire process. I see others doing the same thing, but never see the results as the post gets locked and I move on to look for help elsewhere.

I’m waiting on new lenses to be in stock, some have a few scratches. Maybe I’ll order new belts as well? Not sure if they’re in stock…

EDIT: Sorry if I sound rude, I’m just frustrated and worried.

How is your GF vented? Cold air coming in the exhaust tube can chill it.

Have you checked your wheels? It sounds like you may have one that’s broken or cracked. Could also just be some debris on a track or stuck in a belt.

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You might also go look back at your previous posts in P&S – Support asked you for some additional information to help with troubleshooting that you never supplied.

the long aluminum vent tube goes outside, though a small hole. It vents downwind so not like the wind is blowing hard INTO the tube. I put the small heater blowing either INSIDE the GF to start, or blowing near the intake on the right side.

Where is the temp sensor exactly?

My wheels all seem fine, I have cleaned them with Qtips and rubbing alcohol and there’s no rough/flat/odd spots. Belt is clean and no teeth missing…

Could the Yaxis motors be out of sync? I swear it seems more mechanical, but that means I should be able to see it/fix it. If it’s electronic or software, I’m gonna cry.

In your earlier problem report, you stated that there was some play in the gantry, left to right, but then never followed up with pictures that were asked for. I assume those are pictures of the action? Are you running multiple passes without moving the material and that is the result?

I’m not sure if anyone else answered on your other post, but no, there is not supposed to be horizontal movement on the gantry. The wheels should ride on that little ridge on the tracks. If that is still happening, try to shoot a video with your iphone of the movement during a job and post it to YouTube so that support can see it.

If you are talking about the head bumping a little bit left to right, that is probably going to be a belt issue or possibly a loose belt pulley. You can remove the belt and inspect it closely for fraying or missing teeth…the process is described here:

Also you can see a lot more of what is going on underneath the gantry by laying a flat mirror on the bed and shine a small flashlight under it.

I’d check that out first, then deal with the temperature issue.

(Oh and multiple pass cuts are generally file related. Check the file to make sure you just have one set of cut paths in it…but it does display your wiggle problem very well, so that might have been a blessing in disguise. You’ve definitely got some play going on.)

yeah i was in a hurry and didn’t have time to start at the, “restart your machine” step… lol… I’ve got more time, and well, now, more issues so need to go through the whole deal now.

The play isn’t exactly left TO right, but up and down on each side. Like handlebars on a bicycle, clockwise or counterclockwise. The gantry has play there, and might be the reason it’s bucking/binding. Then on the 2nd and 3rd passes the laser isn’t properly aligned and that is in the photos above.

The wheels on the RIGHT side are not tight. However, the screw holding it IS tight. So the wheel can slide left/right on the shaft/screw holding it to the gantry. Is that normal?

As far as a file issue, it was working fine prior to this binding issue, so I dont think its in the design. You can feel the whole machine buck/bind when the gantry moves along the Y-axis. Seems to occur when it moves quickly for small bits in the design.

Can you shoot a short video of the action? It’s just hard to picture what could be wrong with it without seeing it.

There are several: on the lid, on the laser head, in the coolant, and on various boards. Support can check the logs and advise what to do next. Hopefully it’s something user-servicable.

oh man, wow quite a few!

yeah I’m guessing once they check logs they can see if one went bad. HOPING I can do it myself.

Of the bucking/binding issue? Probably impossible to video. I can hear it, and with my hands on the machine, I can feel it, more so on the left side I think, but it’s tough.

Nothing looks out of the ordinary. Thats a reason I think it might just be an issue with the motors not running perfectly in sync, causing the gantry/arm/yaxis to move not perfectly perpendicular, but instead it twists/binds and shifts the laser, which THEN becomes obvious on the next pass because it’s now lasering a degree or two off the original path.

If it’s that slight, you might want to make sure that the tracks are all cleaned. It doesn’t take a lot of sticky resin buildup to cause a slight hangup, and it’s simple to resolve. Wipe down all four sets of tracks (Two under the gantry where the wheels run, and one on each side.)

I use a rag moistened with 50/50 vinegar and water, then let it dry completely.
(Turn off the machine before cleaning.)

Tracks are spotless. Wheels are spotless and smooth. I use a microfiber towel and rubbing alcohol on the tracks multiple times a day to keep build up down.

Okay some photos!

I’m sorry for the trouble with your unit. Thank you for the detailed information and photos you’ve provided so far. After reviewing everything along with the logs from your Glowforge, unfortunately, it looks like your unit is experiencing an issue that we can’t resolve remotely. I want you to have a reliable unit, so I’ll be in touch via email very soon to share additional details and next steps with you. I’m so sorry about the bad news.