Would it be safe to use an indoor propane heater in my garage with the glowforge running?

Hello everyone,

I am relatively new to the whole high powered laser industry. We’ve been using our Glowforge Pro since May and we live in the North. Now that winter is coming, I am concerned about operating my Glowforge, which resides in my garage. It will likely get too cold to operate in the garage without an extra heating source. I was wondering if it would be safe to use an indoor propane heating unit in my garage while the Glowforge is running.

Thank you, in advance, for the insights.

You don’t say how far north but you have two issues how warm it needs to work and how cold you need to assure it never gets,

There are many threads here about both. but a heatrer safe to sleep in the room with should be ok,

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Large enough space, adequate ventilation, blah, blah, blah… That’s what they are built for. There isn’t any reason that I can think to worry. Nothing flammable that the laser wouldn’t ignite by itself. Propane is a fairly clean fuel so I wouldn’t expect it will mess with anything internal to the unit.

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Temp minimums from the users manual:

Operating Environment
To prolong the life of your Glowforge unit and to reduce the risk of fire or mechanical failure, do not put the Glowforge unit where it could experience:

  • Temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius) or over 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 Celsius)
  • Extreme humidity conditions (below 10% or more than 75%)
  • If venting outdoors, ensure that changing conditions do not cause extreme temperatures or humidity to enter the Glowforge unit through the exhaust hose. Disconnect the hose from the outside air when the Glowforge is not in use.

Print when the ambient temperature is within the following ranges. Printing outside these ranges may cause your print to pause periodically or fail to complete.

  • Basic and Plus: Between 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24
    Celsius)
  • Pro: Between 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) and 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius)
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Depending on how “cold” it gets you may need to have the room heated at all times. I would advise against a propane heater as the excess condensation combined with cold machine parts is a recipe for releasing that magical blue smoke out of your machine. I would go with electric heat of some sort, either base board or oil heater.

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Don’t know about the heater aspect since I live in the SF Bay Area. I use a small electric heater where I stand since we don’t get truly cold weather here.

But when we do get colder nights in Jan/Feb (and cold of us is about 36-40 degrees) I keep 2 reptile tank heat mats inside my GF. I have them on a timer that comes on about 9pm and turns off about 7am. And I keep the unit covered with a heavy blanket. I’ve seen comments that others use a heating blanket to keep the unit warm when not in use. Another factor in the temp issue to consider.

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I would definitely avoid the propane due to humidity as mentioned above. The oil-filled radiator electric heaters are much better, and dirt cheap.

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and those suckers THROW off the heat too!

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If by north, you mean the upper Great Lakes, I wouldn’t store my glowforge in an unheated garage. I would be fearful of the freeze thaw cycles. I’d want the garage at operating temp for 2, 3 days just to be sure all the condensation has evaporated.

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I have to agree with @primal_healer, propane heat will cause a lot of condensation on cool metal surfaces.

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