Transporting the Glowforge

So I have purchased a Glowforge for a new maker space in Birmingham, Al. Part of that maker space is to engage with various STEM programs in our areas. We are wanting to be able to take the Glowforge on site to our local high schools and science center. Are there any special methods for transporting a Glowforge?

I know that the Glowforge team as been traveling around for demos. Are there any tips that you can share?

We have been looking into a hardcase with custom cutout foam, any suggestions.


We’ve been using Pelican cases, but they’re crazy expensive. Production GFs will be tougher, and will come in cardboard boxes that are designed to keep them safe.

Is the Glowforge + air filter transportable as a single unit or will they need to be disassembled before traveling?

Would the Pelican 1780W HL Long Case (interior: 42 x 22 x 15.1") work? Is the actual height of Glowforge + air filter 8.25" + 7" = 15.25"?

There are some other companies that make cases similar to Pelican but for a lot less money. I was looking pretty heavily at Seahorse Cases ( but I ended up finding a screaming deal on a pelican before I bought it so I don’t have direct experience. There are options, though!


Thanks @dan

Do you have to do anything to protect the tube when transporting. Do we need to realign anything?

We’re designing it to be aligned once at the factory, then not again.

We ship the 'forge+filter separately. Noted that we’ll want to figure out a solution for shipping them together soon, though, for our own use!

You can always use the GF to build a custom case. Additionally I bet plans will be available very shortly after people start receiving their GF units. When I say plans I mean there will be many different creative people with many different needs designing and building cases. Due to the community nature of this device I am sure they will be good too. I can see someone putting plans up that spark many creative revisions.


Having had to ship some equipment around the NASCAR circuit I would be hesitant to build my own case for trade shows. The amount of abuse these cases take is astounding. We used pelican cases as well and we still had damage to some equipment. We just had a packing expert in our office about some other equipment for a different project and the key recommendation was layers of different materials to provide the widest range of protection from a multitude of different impacts.

Wrapping my mind around what a GlowForge generated case for a GlowForge would look like:

you obviously have to use 1/4" material. And while I would love to think up a viable solution for the non-pro Forge owners… I am not going to try that right off.

So, you have 20" width to work with, and 1/4" depth. With the 20" width you cannot make a single layer case, which is fine since 1/4" material ought not to be sufficient anyway.

from Shipping and customs:

So we would be looking at something like 46"x29"x28" and 110 lbs.

Along every side of the case, you will have a seam to deal with. Obviously this seam will run in the 49" direction since otherwise you need 3 pieces to run perpendicular to that direction. Though having your two layers not sharing an axis will be a wise move if you build this case with wood that has a grain.

Okay, so you cut two slats per side, one at 20" full width, and the other at the remainder (8" or 9"). You do two such layers per container side, placing the 20" portion on opposite ends per layer so that the seams are not aligned.

Leave holes in the panels that you can stick stock material through, then twist key-style to lock them together (Like the last item on this list, the double lapped slotting joint with key). Or if you used acrylic, use acetone in the space between layers to chemically bond into a 1/2" layer.

You will want padding, especially since those key-hole penetrations will be sticking out and pointed at your Forge. Egg Carton foam (the stuff with pointy bits on one side) would be decent here. But as others have stated… not JUST that.

I could see doing a doubled case. The weight will increase, and the awkwardness to carry. But at 110 lbs and 46" x 29" already, I don’t picture people lugging this around briefcase style anyway. A carrying cart (or built in coasters) is reasonable.

So… let us add an inch in each dimension for packing material inside the inner layer, then add 1/2" for that inner layer, and then another inch of packing material and finally an outer case.

Now we are making two double layer cases:
50"x30"x30" (Yes, 29" it should be, but I prefer a nice square, and extra padding on the bottom makes a ton of sense, doesn’t it?)
and another around that at
52"x32"x32" (yeah, I said 1" of packing material and 1/2" for the inside case, but I don’t want to plan with 1/2" measures because decimals and fractions are messy – EDIT ON RE-READING… of course you have to add 1" since there are two sides at 1/2" each. So I wasn’t adding arbitrarily, I just had no idea that my subconscious mind thinks the rest of me is an idiot. This also means only 1/2" of padding along each side between cases.)

Overall, fairly reasonably achieved. You can even pre-cut the holes for where you would attach the casters (whatever the right name is for wheels on a cart. And since I can never remember if the front or the back should be the side with the swivel joint, make all four have it). You could even add an extra panel on one end to affix a handle for pulling it behind you.

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If I found myself needing to transport this relatively often, I’d build a custom road case like bands use for sound equipment. You could go so far as have built-in legs and a pass-through for power and exhaust.

@jacobturner you once again do not disappoint. Thanks for spelling it out. I hadn’t thought about this and missed this thread. I remember the routine I had to go through to pack and move my scanner. Making the Glowforge robust enough to ship I am sure has been fun for the team. Something more to learn about.

What pelican case do you use for transportation and do they also make one that will fit it with the air filter attached?

The majority of the cases I am finding are in the 30" range for length on average and the very few that reach 40" internal length are very pricy (some rifles/guitars) and many of those lack the width/depth. However, some of the very pricy ones that seem to fit internal dimensions have a strange resemblance to those military foot lockers. The average foot lockers are also in the 30" length range but when I start searching for things like “Trunk” instead of “Case” I found a few more results. here is one called the Rhino Jumbo Armored Trunk and it’s internal dimensions measure:

  • internal case dimensions of Rhino: 39.25” L x 21.25” W x 19.25” H
  • Dimensions of GF: 38"L x 20.75"W x 8.25"H
    It appears that theoretically, you could have just barely enough room around the sides (with a small amount of DIY foam liner?) and also enough room to transport a Glowforge + Air filter unit in one trunk. the price is about half of what I saw Pelican cases are. there is a note that it is not suited for use as shipping container, but looks like you were thinking of taking it around locally to different schools etc…
    I might have to keep my eyes peeled for others.

I have RoadReady cases for my turntables that are incredible. Strong and modular for transport, carry handles located at the center of mass, lift-away lid for use without fully unloading, use as a stand when on location.
Too bad they do not make anything quite big enough for the glowforge, but they do sell spare parts like hinges, latches, and corner guards. The “lift-away” style cases may provide someone with inspiration.
If you are making a case to hold the 'forge and filter together it’s gonna be a big and unwieldy thing, so I would think about adding feet or wheels in such a way as to be leaving space for a hand-truck or pallet-mover to fit underneath.

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Most of you have an experienced sense of the massive case size required for transport protection. Just glad my days of being the soundman for a road band is over. Will never have need for more than the original shipping box. Might never move it. Keep in mind that you will need to keep the factory foam shims or whatever they provide to keep the tube gantry from sliding around. It might just be duct tape.

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