Hi, I had a small contained fire inside my GF tonight. I had a 4" cut circle piece of clear acrylic that I thought was half an inch thick. I have a bunch of cut shapes of clear acrylic that I keep in a bag that I use for display pieces for jewelry and whatnot. I grabbed what I thought was .50 inch but turned out was .25 inch. I had masking on the backside but not the front side. To make it easier to see the piece inside the GF, I had a piece of thick white cardstock underneath it. Which is something I’ve done before, and I’ve cut paper many times before, and no issue with the right settings. For this, my goal was really just to cut/engrave stuff into it that piece so it would go part of the way through but not all of the way through. Basically just to give it a groove in the center and a small area to set a small item onto it for product photos.
I used “uncertified material” and set it to .50 inch. Because I assumed I had .50 inch in there, which from my experience needs a lot of passes and a slower speed/full power, I had the speed down to like 125 and 3 passes, full power for both the cut line and engrave. The cut line, was fine. Looked like it went most of the way through, which is what my intention was. The engrave area started next and it looked like it was operating fine, so I went into the other room.
I went back in a couple minutes later and noticed that a small fire had started. I immediately turned it off, opened the lid, which didn’t extinguish the flames, and put the fire blanket onto it.
It appears what happened was when I thought I had .50 in there, I actually had .25 inch in there, so the number of passes and speed were too much/too low for what was actually in there and by the time the laser had ended up ablating away the acrylic all the way through, it started into the paper or perhaps started to try to engrave the crumb tray directly, either way, it created a spark and the acrylic was now on fire and melting.
I have already sent an email to support. I THINK I may have gotten to it in time, and hope I have avoided any serious damage. Nothing inside looks to have taken any damage but I’m not an expert at this so I just don’t know. The print head was directly above the flames when I got to it so I’m wondering if the print head and/or lenses sustained any damage and how would I even check for that?
Right now the machine is off and unplugged. There doesn’t look to be any sort of damage to anything inside. What steps should I go through now to see if its working properly and safely? It doesn’t look like it was bad enough to warrant any sort of service but I just don’t know what the protocol for this is.
You’ve opened another support ticket by posting here, so they’ll end up closing this thread when they get them reconciled, but in the meantime…
I’d check the belts that move the head back and forth, and the bottom of the head, and see if anything looks damaged. In my (admittedly not expert) opinion those are the places that would have been most likely to be exposed to the flames.
I hope it turns out to be okay!
Absolutely nothing looks damaged. The print head was right over it so I would have expected to see scorching on the bottom side of the print head but don’t see evidence of anything. Belts are fine. Everything LOOKS fine. But I don’t know if there might be issue with anything that I can’t readily see.
I hope everything is fine!
Pictures always help! If you post pictures of the area, the community can let you know if they see anything that might be an issue, based on our collective experience.
I mean, I could post photos, but there honestly really isn’t anything to see. The inside looks exactly like it always did. The print head doesn’t appear to have taken any damage to it either. I inspected all the lenses and they appear to my eye ok. The camera seems fine. I guess I could just attempt a small cut with proofgrade material and see if it works? I don’t really want to attempt anything at all until support says to.
That is fine. Just wait to hear what they say. They should get back to you sometime tomorrow.
Going forward, you might want to pay attention to the very clear instructions to never leave the machine unattended while running.
Was the fan still blowing the flames forward when you saw it? The most likely damage that would be hard to see I would think to be the plastic mechanism focusing the lens up in the hole where the lens is. If the fans were doing their job and not sucking heated air to blast those parts, melting them, you might get away with just a good scare.
I would keep an eye on the belts as while they may look good now they may not hold up as well under use.
Most of my print jobs are less than 30 mins (most of the time less than 10) and I actually do stay in the same room pretty much almost all the time. I left the room for a couple of minutes, I didn’t leave my house to go shopping or fall asleep. Not to mention that if I was someone who frequently does jobs that take a long time, absolutely no one hovers over their machine for 1-2 hour prints. No one. Your comment was more snarky than it was helpful. I had already bought a Blink camera to set up to watch things when I leave the room but ironically, I hadn’t set it up yet.
I don’t recall. Honestly, I moved on it so fast that I didn’t take the time to pay attention to any of that, I just opened the lid and grabbed my fire blanket as fast as I could.
It looks like I got out of this unscathed and caught it in time. I still haven’t heard back from support and I do have orders I need to fulfill so after giving it a thorough cleaning, cleaning the lenses and camera and the crumb tray clean out, I decided to do a small test on some of the proofgrade walnut. Just simple cuts. It appears that the machine is fully operational as if nothing happened so it looks like I got really lucky.
The biggest take away is honestly I should have paid better attention to the thickness of the material I put in there, which was the issue in the first place having put .25 thick clear acrylic in there when I thought I put .50 inch and using my .50 settings on .25 material. I had both in the bag I grabbed from and if I had taken 10 seconds to just double check the thickness, there wouldn’t have been the issue I had. I believe I learned my lesson that I need to separate my acrylic scraps by thickness to avoid this from happening again.
And, as stated above and clearly highlighted in the instructions, you should not leave the room at all while the machine is operating. If you can’t manage that, you might consider re-arranging your workspace so that you can monitor the machine while printing.
There is a pause function for situations where you must step out for a moment.
It is hard to miss the difference between a quarter and half inch thickness, 3/8 and 7/16 perhaps, but if you do not have enough experience for that you need to take every precaution until you do, even beyond normal workflow.
I see you already emailed us about this and we’re working on it there, so I’m going to close this topic.