This is why you NEVER leave your GF while printing

It has taken me since just before Thanksgiving to finally get my very embarrassed self to confess to my incredibly lazy act that could have burned down my home.
I am a founder with a Pro, this should tell most who know that I am now outside of my warranty period.
My BFF was visiting on his way down to S. Florida for Thanksgiving, I’ve known this person since we were 5 years old in 1966, I had not seen him for a few years and I was eager to show him the GF in action.
That was the setup.
As you can see in the timed stamped video (I suggest having a surveillance camera, this answered many questions for me), the fire started small, but could have been a homewrecker.
I wanted to WOW my friend, so I picked the print that I had done many times, the Eiffel Tower, both with PG material and with other material. This time I chose clear .118 acrylic.
I forget to take the paper off the plastic, as this type of thing had happened before with this particular material as it uses a rubber based adhesive.
As it starts to print the Eiffel Tower, my friend Ed asks, “is there supposed to be so much flame?” My proud self says, “I should really take the paper off, but the print is so intense and the cuts are close and abundant it will be fine.”
It was definitely the paper, glue and the concentrated print area, not to mention my laziness that killed my GF.


Now I will speak to my friends in support.
Ok guys, as you can read from my previous emails and challenges of the past, I usually keep my GF very clean, and I inspect parts and visible components regularly as I would in my job as an aircraft tech. I have completely replaced the ribbon cable in the past with great results.
When it comes to troubleshooting electronics on this machine, my hands are tied. I really need your help.
My findings of visible damage are this;

  1. Gantry drive belt just fibers left on about 8 inches.

  2. Some rubber was fused on to the sprocket under the motor

  3. The small plastic bridge that straddles the gantry drive motor as a pathway for the ribbon cable was fried at the weakest center point. I love silicone jacketed ribbon cable, even after the plastic had melted, there was absolutely no damage to the cable.

My damage inspection was superficial but I believe sufficient to cover all of the obvious damage.
Kudos to your design team for putting so much extruded aluminum alloy between the business of the Laser and the Laser tube itself and all of the the really important bits were also well protected.
I was eager to get it back to operational, and since you guys don’t have a good parts stream or a person to actually talk to, I figured I could replace the belt, clean the sprocket, and be back in action in no time.
So my repair progressed nicely, I just needed to know that the electronics were not fried.
I started up my GF, all sounded promising as it progressed through the beginnings of the calibration. Then the yellow light appeared again.
So here is my question, since you have a timestamp (EST), and the video of the incident, can you tell me WHAT was triggered to stop the GF.
Secondly, is there some type of “reset” that you guys can do from your end?
I would much rather do the work myself if possible, parts would be purchased if made available to me.
My plans for Holiday gifts have been dashed.
SANTA, can you make my new year a glowing success?
Please Help.


This is terrible, I’m really bummed for you. Good luck getting it fixed!


There is a used Pro for sale in S Carolina that would have yours for spare parts if you could work out a deal. I am really sorry to hear of your story but hope it can get you back quickly.

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Oh man, that’s a scary scenario and I’m so glad it wasn’t worse! Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you’re able to get your machine back up and running!


I’m so sorry about your Glowforge, and hope you can get up and running again soon.

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Thank you for posting this. I am so glad your house was not damaged, and I am so sorry about the Glowforge. All of us know intellectually that materials are variable and that we are mixing a focused laser beam on a combination of wood, plastic, paper and air, but after many uses we are lulled into thinking everything is and will be routine. I hope that your words of caution will save someone else from this disaster, and I hope you will have an operational Glowforge again soon.

Man… That just sucks.

You seem to agree, ya kinda got off easy. (That is to say, didn’t burn the place down!) And it’s quite possible the damage you’ve found is all the damage there is! Sure, you won’t be up and running in a day or two, but I suspect you won’t need to replace the entire machine.

Don’t beat yourself up too much! Let’s face it… shit happens. We live and learn.

Yeah… I’ve used some similar stuff. Definitely tends to catch fire. Scared the hell outta me the first time I’d used it. I was used to Proofgrade paper. When I peeled this stuff off it was obvious it was NOT the same stuff. That’s when I found ya don’t really need the paper on to protect acrylic. I never seem to see any smoke damage on it without the paper.

I think that’s where the real problem was. Generating more heat and flame right next to existing heat and flame. Just a guess, but I’ve seen that effect when working with acrylic.

Sorry it happened! But thanks for passing it on to others!!!


That was very brave. :sunglasses:

It takes a great deal of courage to admit to goofing up, and scary as it is to watch one get out of control like that, it might help a lot of other people to not do it, so my hat’s off to you.

I’m gonna guess that something in the head was damaged and that’s why it’s currently not working.
Unfortunately, that might mean a trip back to the mothership, but it looks like you caught it fairly early, so it might not be totaled. Fingers crossed that it isn’t. :crossed_fingers:


I admire your courage…as I can only imagine it was a tough pill to swallow to ‘fess up’. Things like this are always a good reminder and a good lesson for everyone and I hope all goes well for you in getting it back up and running.


Thank you for sharing–sad you have to teach us a lesson–so easy to get complacent with jobs and we forget we’re basically playing with high-tech matches!! And Murphy is alive & well still!!


Thanks for sharing the experience and the warning. I hope a repair is possible.

I’m so sorry to hear about the damage to your Glowforge. Thank you for reaching about this right away. I’m going to send you an email shortly with more details to get you back up and running as quick as we can, so I’m going to close this thread.