Running with the side door open and resuming a cut after moving a piece

So… either my google foo is failing me or it just hasn’t been asked yet. Or… I am blind. Either way… I am curious about this in a very specific context.

Aside from the obvious safety concerns with running a laser “uncontained” is there a safety switch that will prohibit the unit from running if the side door is down? I’ve seen posts that say there is one for the top lid… but looking for info on the side door seems to be limited or people aren’t curious like I am. =) I did see someone talk about voiding the warranty and cutting their own pass-thru port… but I am not thinking of anything quite that adventurous.

Here comes the second part of the question that dovetails into the question about running open… Say I want to cut a 14" wooden cog. Obviously with a 12" bed that wouldn’t work too well. So would it be possible to cut/engrave say half of the cog with the door open, then rotate the piece and resume the cut on the other half of the piece?

It dawned on me that I could try and just search for info on how passthru works (but the forum software won’t let me open a different browser window to search… it just shows the same post edit). I see in the FAQ it says that you will have passthru software that will use the camera to maintain alignment as material is pushed through… could that same software work in the scenario I am suggesting?

They mentioned somewhere on here that you can probably cut ten inches, move your piece, cut ten more, etc., until the thing is finished. I can’t imagine there is an interlock for the side doors, else there wouldn’t be a point to having them, eh?

My concern with an object greater than 12 inches in diameter is that I don’t see how you’ll ever engrave where the cog is at its widest.

I don’t think the Glowforge’s has a side door, unless you are referring to the pass through slot on the pro model, in which case of course you can run it with the pass through open. That’s why the pro is considered a class 4 laser.

The Glowforge’s bed is 20" wide so a 16" diameter cog shouldn’t be a problem on the pro model assuming the pass through slot runs through the front and back.

So… if you watch the video they have up on the site now you can see that there is indeed a side/front door. In the situation where the young lady is demonstrating the leather cutting to make the wallet she clearly has the front door down while she is placing the leather on the honeycomb.

Additionally… in order to engrave an item that is ~1.5" thick you have to remove the honeycomb (I would assume) and I don’t think lifting it straight through the top would be ideal. It would make sense the that front door opens… it would also make sense if there was a sensor/safety switch that prevented the unit from working if the door was open. By all accounts… a safety switch exists for the lid so that is part of what prompted the question.

Per the bed being 20" wide… The website clearly states that the glowforge basic has a material capacity of 12"x20" So that would mean essentially anything you wanted to make found could not exceed 12".

I am not as concerned with the engraving aspect as I am the cutting aspect for something this large. This was just an idea for a specific use case (a clock piece).

I am curious about the “tracking” software for previous cuts/engravings and the continuation of the process when either paused or the item is moved. There was a discussion about wooden pens (which is also something I am very interested in as I make a boat load of these things every year and the laser will help bring the work to a different level with engraving) and I am curious about how this would work with a cylindrical object. I get that it would take a LONG time to pull something like that off… but if you had the patience to do it how would it work?

There is definitely a safety mechanism on the side door of the basic Glowforge that prevents it from running while the door is open. It’s one of the requirements for class I lasers.
You may be able to cut or engrave long fabric or leather by rolling it up and unrolling it after each cut.
But If you want to cut large cogs out of more rigid materials such as wood then you can get the pro model Glowforge. It is a class IV laser and has a pass through slot going front to back letting you easily cut hard material longer than 12".

As long as it’s 1/4" thick… even with the pass through you can’t do the cut halfway on one side and then flip it and cut the other. Or at least… that’s what it sounds like from what I’ve been reading here. The slot is 3/8" but still intended only for 1/4" material.

@drew_calderone I would be really really careful about making final determinations on capabilities by looking at early videos of prototype units. I do see exactly what you see, and would LOVE to find out more about the side door shown!

If you look at the the tech specs it says nothing about a side door, and I have not seen any mention of such here on the forums. Our best bet is to ask @dan about this…

And that’s perfectly fair… and that’s why I asked the question. =) Looking at the way the box is designed it would seem logical that that front door is not “permanent.” If for no other reason… it means that they don’t have to get crazy about building multiple different cabinets for making the basic vs. the pro… in manufacturing they would just have to use part X for the pro and part Y for the basic… fairly common stuff.

And it also would not surprise me if the dang thing was sonic welded into place… I get that what we see in the video may or may not be what ends up in our shops. So… if you just go on what we’ve seen… it does look like that front bit opens… and it would make perfect sense if it did for larger pieces and removing the honeycomb and even for cleaning debris out of the chassis after a while.

But you are right… @dan would be the right person to say yay or nay…

We do in fact have “double doors” on both models. The top one lifts up, and the bottom one tilts down. I had the actors open it just so that you could see that. : ) It makes it easier to get the “crumb tray” out and to work with the bed.

(The people in the brick-apartment and white-house scenes were all actors; the motley crew in the blue office scene was all us!)


So the million dollar (or $10M for you guys) question is: Will the unit run with the front door open/tilted down?

Ah… I just sorta saw my answer in the Skateboard post.

In order to comply with class I laser rules there has to be a safety switch or lock on all the doors. You could probably find some way to bypass them but that would be a bit dangerous.

And that is a fair point. Dan did express that there is a safety interlock on the door… which makes perfect sense.

So aside from that… my question about the software stopping and restarting on an item rotated still stands.

Hi @drew, I actually had a similar question almost exact, except I’m working with a winery that wants to have their barrel tops engraved. The tops fit into the GlowForge with the front door down, but the unit won’t work unless the door is up. I just want to engrave the top part of the barrel so I don’t need to rotate the object and have it continue like in your example.

From what I understand with these posts it’s really just a safety issue and not a restriction on the physical capabilities. If there was a way to tell the unit the door is closed and proceed then the engrave will work. I’m sure there is a way to ‘fool’ the door sensor, but I’m pretty sure GF wouldn’t want that posted on their forums due to liability concerns. If you figure it out though let me know and maybe we can talk elsewhere :slight_smile:

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Yes, it can be done but probably not allowed to talk about it here. There is a glowforge users group (GUG) on facebook. They have posted about it. Do a search in that group on “semi pro” and you will see how it is done.

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I’m going to move this topic to Beyond the Manual so folks can discuss it to their hearts’ content.


Dan, can I engrave with the side door open?

The quick and safe answer is no. There are interlocks on the door that do now allow the machine to operate while it is open. See above for the long answer.

Would love to know if there was a way to do this! Trying to engrave a long charcuterie board and noodle board for a stove and am stuck keeping it to 23” because I don’t want them to be 1/4 “ deep for pass through slot. If anyone figures this out please respond