Why is there so much noise at Idle

I saw a thread earlier with a suggestion that there should be settings for the exhaust fan control for different materials, I would have posted this feature request there, but support closed the discussion.

I wonder why the fans are ramped up so much when the unit is idle? Can there be a
“Standby” or “Sleep” Mode? It seems the noise and energy required to run the fans is unnecessary until an event happens (Lid open/close, GFUI activity, Cooling, etc) The LEDs could be dimmed or . turned off as well, with maybe a pulsing color on the button.

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Could be ambient temperature.

I thought the fans don’t normally run at idle, just the pump runs. Is it a new behaviour?

I am surprised it passed CE because appliances need to take less than 2W when they are idle and the GF clearly takes more.

I think the intake fan runs?

Not sure why your GF :glowforge: is spinning up its fan when idle.

The intake fan runs at very low speed while on and even well the room is getting into the mid-70’s and higher range, I have not experienced any random cutting speed ramp ups.

My unit is on pretty much 24/7 (next to me at my home office) and the exhaust fan only spins up at the “press the button” moment.

Do you feel an increase in air intake (on the right side) beyond the normal power on movement?

Also, do you have an external assist fan with your setup? With mine, when I turn on the external, it sounds like the internal exhaust fan has spun up. When I start a print job, the internal intake and exhaust fans get even more noticeable (over what my external fan has caused the internal fans noise).

If your house is well insulated and weather sealed, when your furnace/air conditioner kicks on, it will cause the internal exhaust fan to spin up (somewhat) and you will hear it.

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The exhaust and intake fans are off at idle. Though, at least on my unit, the intake fans still turn (very slowly) even when being commanded to be off. Not sure why…

The power supply fan runs full tilt, all the time. This fan is completely inside the unit. I am not aware of any hardware/software control capability for this fan, so there may not be any other option than “always on”.

The water pump runs continuously. This is the source of the continuous “wheerrrrrr” sound. It is under control of the firmware and pauses for a brief second during various init routines.

The lights are obviously under full control of the firmware. They could set these to dim after a set period of inactivity.


I am not sure that applies to none sleep mode devices. If it went into sleep/standy mode, then it would need to be between 3 to 12 Watts (See Standby and off-mode - European Commission).

It could very well be the PSU fan I hear running. If there is no throttling it, that is an unfortunate design choice.

The water pump would certainly only need to run to cool while cutting. or during cool down. Why it would need to run when the unit is not in use is beyond me.

The only ramp up I hear is when a print starts. The noise level does not change unless I ask it to do something.

It would be nice to not have to listen to it the whole time it is on.

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I’d like a proper standby/sleep mode too

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Just turning it all the way off works.

Since the GF :glowforge: is more of computer appliance than a networking device, it cannot sleep (like a laptop or desktop computer) because it has to stay in constant communication with off site servers to respond to requests from more than one device and maintain consistent temp, positioning and optical recognitions.

For those with highly computerized refrigerators (that are cloud connected), their frig does not go into a computer sleep mode due to lack of use. It is an appliance.

And unlike a network copier/printer, there are safety and integrity checks that a laser unit needs to verify and maintain. I guess the GF :glowforge: could go into a computer sleep mode, but do you want to wait the 60 to 120 seconds with nearly every print job (wake up, alignment and calibration process) because it had to go into a computerized sleep?

Walking up to the GF :glowforge: and turning it on, wait the initial 60 to 120 seconds once before using it for one or more jobs and then turning it off unit the next time (hours, days or strangely weeks later for the next job) makes more sense that a built in sleep mode.


Or it could just turn everything off and wait for a request from the server. It would use vastly less power and be a lot quieter. That is what my 3D printers do. They can put the ATX PSU into standby mode and the keeps the RPI running OctoPrint. I can remotely power it up and start a print.


Maybe with Scott’s OpenGlow design, that could be implemented.

That still requires the power up calibrations, optical material validations and safety/integrity checks before someone can load their project in order to “press the button”.

All of this to save what $25 per year just have sleep mode and still have to wait over just turning the power off versus the device going to sleep?

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No, really to save my sanity. I could put it on a smart switch but it just seems the noise is unnessary. It’s one of those things I’m surprised passed all the way through the design process.

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I will agree with you on the fan noise. The low level spinning noise (from the power supply) is more noticeable because unlike having a desktop computer (which tends to be under a desk/table) the sound is made more noticeable on a table that allows great broadcasting.

Even worse, when you on a quiet laptop and/or a normally quiet room/office.

BTW, I have found some nice over the ears noise cancelling bluetooth capable headphones that kills the low level droning from my equipment fans (computers, venting and Glowforge) effectively. Not too bad on pricing when it goes on Amazon Deals.


They were $35 when on sale.

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Agree on the lid led timing out after a while. One of the very first emails I sent in the PRU days was for that to happen. Since the main cut off is a toggle switch in the bottom rear of the machine, and in my case the PVC exhaust passes over it. Getting to the switch is a PITA. And for the first couple months of the PRU we left it running all the time. But with the lid LED illuminated it completely lights up the office, hallway and that light can be seen from under the bedroom door.

My solution then (and now) was to use a z-wave switch to remote power off/on the unit via SmartThings & Alexa. But this saved our bacon at Makerfaire a couple years back because you can not ‘preview’ a job with out an active Glowforge online. So I from CA, I had to turn on the Glowforge in VA to see how long something would run in the Glowforge in CA. (Another issue that I’ve been asking for a solution for - Basically having the ability to upload a file and check how long its going to take with out an active Glowforge powered up.)


even less sometimes. i paid $30 for mine.

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I too have mine wired into my custom Zwave based home automation

I just ask Alexa to power up the Lasers and I’m ready to forge!

OMG! I bought the same exact pair for the same exact reason.

Thank you for the feedback! I’ll make sure the team gets it.