Before You Start
Improperly operating the Glowforge unit can cause fire, eye or skin injury from laser exposure, or exposure to chemicals that may be health hazards. These can result in serious injury or even death.
- Read this section before using your Glowforge unit, and ensure everyone else who uses it reads this too.
- Always follow all instructions in this section and in the Glowforge App.
- Children require the supervision and assistance of an adult at all times.
- Do not use your Glowforge unit while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Lasers may be subject to regulations and standards, particularly when installed in an educational institution or place of work. Ensure that you comply with all applicable rules.
- Do not touch the head or arm of the Glowforge unit while the power is on. If you do so by accident, turn it off, then back on again to prevent the possibility of damage.
- Under rare circumstances, materials or components inside your Glowforge unit may become hot during printing. Use caution before touching surfaces inside the printer.
To reduce the risk of electric shock or fire:
- Do not try to service, repair, or modify the Glowforge unit.
- Never try to access the wiring of the Glowforge unit.
- Do not open the power supply or any sealed portion of the Glowforge unit.
- If the Glowforge unit is damaged, unplug the power cord and contact email@example.com immediately.
- In the event of any emergency or malfunction, unplug the power cord on the back of the unit.
- Use only a properly grounded outlet that meets local building codes and has at least 300 watts of power available.
- The power cord is intended to serve as the disconnect device. Make sure the outlet is near the equipment and easily accessible, so you can unplug the unit if needed.
- The minimum rating of the circuit breaker, also known as an overcurrent protective device, on this circuit feeding the outlet should be at least 5 amps.
The Glowforge unit’s laser cuts and engraves with a beam of high-intensity visible light. The laser can generate extremely high temperatures in the material being cut or engraved. Under some circumstances, it is possible for the material inside the Glowforge unit to ignite and for the flame to spread outside of the area being cut or engraved. If ignited, the flame could destroy your unit and spread, potentially setting fire to the building.
- Do not put anything inside the Glowforge unit that is not laser-compatible, even if you do not intend to cut or engrave it. Learn more about laser-compatible materials below.
- Do not stack materials; for example attempting to cut two or more sheets of material at a time. Multiple sheets are more likely to burn.
- Clean out leftover bits inside the Glowforge unit when it builds up. (See “Cleaning”)
- Do not place anything on top of the Glowforge unit. Do not store things that can catch fire above it.
- Do not store sources of flammable vapors like oil-based paint, acetone, gasoline, or alcohol in the same room as your Glowforge unit. Flammable vapors could be ignited during operation.
- When a print is complete, certain materials, like plastics, can remain hot. Allow them to cool down before you touch them.
Keep watch during operation
- Never leave the Glowforge unit unattended while operating – either when it’s paused and ready to print (with the button flashing) or while it’s actually printing (with the button on). Always stay within sight and look inside frequently.
- A small, candle-like flame where the laser beam strikes the material is normal. This flame should move with the laser and should not remain lit when the laser has moved past.
- If there is a lasting flame inside the Glowforge unit that does not extinguish when the laser has moved past:
- Pull the plug on the back of the unit.
- If it is safe to do so, extinguish the fire with a wet towel. Note that water may damage your Glowforge.
- If that is not an option, then if it is safe to do so, extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher. Note that fire extinguishers may cause damage to your Glowforge.
- If the fire cannot be safely extinguished or if it spreads outside the Glowforge unit, call your local emergency number (for example 911) and evacuate the building.
- Do not operate the unit further until you have contacted Glowforge for service information through our Help & Learning Center at support.glowforge.com
The Glowforge Aura 3D Laser Printer is certified as a Class 1 laser product containing an embedded Class 4 laser. The embedded laser emits enough visible light energy to cause instant injury to the skin and eye if directly exposed, or start a fire when exposed to flammable materials. The Glowforge Aura provides an engineered protective housing which blocks harmful levels of laser light, allowing you to safely utilize this versatile tool.
CAUTION! Use of controls or adjustments or performance of procedures other than those specified herein may result in hazardous radiation exposure.
Do not use if the case is damaged or modified.
Any damage or modifications could allow dangerous contact with moving and/or electrical parts, and/or allow visible and invisible light, heat, smoke, and fumes to escape.
The lid has gyroscopic and magnetic safety interlock switches that turn off the laser immediately if the lid is opened. Do not place magnets near the lid or doors as they can interfere with the switches. Do not try to defeat the switches.
Do not modify or service.
CAUTION ! Attempting to modify or service the Glowforge unit may result in hazardous laser light exposure.
To reduce the risk of injury:
- Do not attempt service. All service must be performed only by the Glowforge factory or by factory-authorized technicians.
- Do not attempt to alter or modify the unit.
- Only use the top lid to open the case. Do not try to open the case any other way, such as by drilling holes, removing fasteners, or removing coverings.
- Do not try to disassemble or open sealed portions of the Glowforge unit, including any protective coverings or housings.
- If the crumb tray is removed, use extreme caution to ensure that the laser only strikes laser-compatible material, and does not touch the metal bottom of the unit which could cause a reflection and damage the unit.
Additional Laser Safety Information
The Glowforge Aura (Model Number GFD200) is a Class 1 laser product as defined in International Standard IEC 60825-1.
The Aura contains a Class 4 embedded laser source, known as the Laser Head, which is fully enclosed by the product safety enclosure with safety interlock that reduces the product to a Class 1 laser product.
In the image below the Laser Head is indicated, all operators should be aware that the Laser Head is a class 4 laser source with the laser beam path exiting from the bottom of the head towards the base plate of the product.
Figure 1: Glowforge Aura with Laser Head location shown.
Figure 2: Laser Beam path as viewed from the front on the unit inside the safety enclosure.
Exposure to Hazardous laser light (Class 4) may result if misuse occurs.
CAUTION ! Do not modify or tamper with the safety enclosure, viewing window or interlocks of your Glowforge.
CAUTION ! Do not attempt to use a Glowforge unit that has suffered physical damage to the safety enclosure, viewing window or interlocks.
Smoke and Fume Safety
When you use your Glowforge unit, the laser creates visible and invisible aerosols, gasses, vapors, and particulates (referred to here as “smoke and fumes”). The smoke and fumes can include carbon monoxide and other chemicals which present health hazards, as well as being unpleasant and stinky. The chemical composition of the smoke and fumes depend on the material being lasered. Smoke and fumes from laser-compatible materials are controlled by exhaust or filtration.
Only operate your Glowforge unit when it is exhausted to the outdoors or through the Glowforge Personal Filter™. Failure to exhaust will cause smoke and fumes to escape into the room, presenting a risk of health hazards or death.
If you exhaust outdoors, be sure that the exhaust location won’t be bothersome to neighbors or passers-by, and don’t forget to check your local rules for air quality regulations that may apply to you.
To prevent smoke and fumes from escaping the unit, do not open the lid until the fans stop. Follow all of the instructions in “Setting Up” carefully.
There may be some odor present while printing. However, if you detect a strong, sharp smell that also causes eyes, nose, or throat irritation, or if there is visible smoke escaping while the lid is closed, stop immediately and re-check your exhaust setup. If the irritation and/or smoke emissions do not abate, discontinue using your Glowforge unit and contact support.
There may be small openings around the edges of the passthrough slot. This is expected; your Glowforge unit’s powerful fans will whisk smoke and fumes away into the exhaust hose.
Be sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed and tested in the building as recommended by local codes and manufacturer recommendations.
“Laser-compatible” refers to materials that can be safely processed with the diode laser in the Glowforge unit. Materials that are not laser-compatible may catch fire, emit hazardous smoke and fumes that cannot be controlled by exhaust or filtration, and are a health hazard to you, your neighbors, and your Glowforge unit. For this reason, you must only put laser-compatible materials in the Glowforge unit.
Glowforge sells a line of Proofgrade materials that are laser-compatible and give top-quality results when used with your Glowforge Aura printer. To learn more about Proofgrade materials, go to glowforge.com/materials.
Laser-compatible materials from other suppliers
Other suppliers like Inventables.com sell material that they indicate is laser-compatible. If you are uncertain, ask the supplier if the material may be processed safely with a diode laser.
Many food products can be engraved, and some can even be cut. However, residue from prints on acrylic or other materials might be present in your Glowforge and could contaminate food that you put in your Glowforge. For that reason, if you use your Glowforge for materials other than food, then don’t eat any food you put inside it.
What if I’m not certain whether my materials are laser-compatible?
If you aren’t completely sure that your material is laser-compatible, do not put it in the Glowforge unit.
- Some materials look similar to laser-compatible materials, but are different. For example, vinyl can be mistaken for some laser-compatible materials but emits harmful and destructive smoke and fumes. Printing on vinyl, even briefly, will permanently destroy your Glowforge Aura.
- Materials may have contaminants, coatings, or additives that are not laser-compatible. For example, certain plywood glues, inks, adhesives, dyes, and paints may not be laser-compatible.
- Some materials can reflect the laser and damage your Glowforge unit. For example, mirrors or shiny surfaces can reflect the laser light.
Materials must fit
Materials that do not fit properly may obstruct operation and result in damage and increased risk of fire.
- With the cutting tray installed, materials must be no more than ¼ in (6.75 mm) in height and must be no more than 12 in (30.4 cm) in length or width.
- With the cutting tray removed, materials must be no more than ¾ in (20mm) in height and must be no more than 12 in (30.4 cm) in length or width.
- With the passthrough doors open, materials may be of unlimited width but must be no more than 3/16 in (4.7 mm) in height and must be no more than 12 in (30.4 cm) in length.
- Do not place rolled-up material in the Glowforge. It may be too tall, or unroll during printing, obstructing operation.
Materials must be flat
- Materials must be flat so they rest on the cutting tray.
- While a bulge is acceptable, for example from warped wood, the highest point of the material may not extend more than ¼ in (6.75 mm above the cutting tray.
- Material must never double back on itself, for example curling up.
- Should material curl or bend so it reaches more than ¼ in (6.75 mm above the cutting tray during a print, turn off the power immediately.
- If the material has a protective paper or plastic coating, that coating must be firmly affixed to the material. If it begins to peel off, discard the material and do not print on it.