Projects that take a long time (1 hour)

Hello everyone,
I have 2 questions.

  1. I engraved and cut a project (medium maple hardwood) that took 1 hour (non stop). Is that bad for the glowforge? Do i need to worry about heating up or damaging the machine?

  2. what will happen if i remove the tape on the wood prior to engraving and cutting?

Go for it. 3-1/2 hours is the S/W max right now. Removing the mask is not bad but may stain the material during an engrave.


what happens after 3-1/2 hours? does it shut down automatically?

No. The project will not load because the buffer is full. At some point I would think the system will allow a buffer refresh for longer engraves.

If temperature limits are reached the system will pause until it cools. No damage.

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Pro or basic? both should handle it fine, but the Pro has enhanced cooling, so even less chance of thermal shutdown.

Removing the masking (aka tape) from the wood first is sometimes exactly the right thing to do, if you search the forum for “masking engraving”, you’ll find many hours of reading on the subject.

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Don’t worry about the time taken or heat. For those things, the machine takes care of itself.

If you are doing very light engraving sometimes you want to take the masking off. If you are engraving anything covered with plastic film instead of paper masking, removing it usually seems like the right move.

If you are unsure, leaving masking on is usually the right move. It helps to keep smoke and goop from getting on the rest of the material.

GS hinted at it, but the reason to remove masking is usually to allow subtle details in engravings to be transferred to the material, as opposed to being “soaked up” (or masked) by the masking paper.

You have to test a section of your desired design on the target material with and without masking to ensure you’ll get the result you’re expecting. I’d wager virtually every member here has experienced loss of detail because the masking was left in place.

On the other hand, if you are cutting or scoring, the mask will protect the surface from the charring/staining that the vaporized material will leave on the surface.