A Clean Glowforge is a Happy Glowforge

I got 2 replacement machines (plus and pro) in September and was determined to keep them in tip top shape. I’ve got about 200 cutting hours on each so I’ve been working them hard. It takes a bit of work but so worth the effort. My cuts are clean with little burn and no back flash.

Lenses and windows - I clean these every day, sometimes more.

The Fans - I use a compressor and blow these out every day or two or when ever it starts to flame up. I don’t usually remove the carriage fan. I just remove the head and blow into the funnel. Then get it from the top behind the carriage. I pulled the fan and scraped it with and exacto knife once so far. I blow out the exhaust fan at least once a week. I use an inline fan but the inside fan gets clogged up.

The Crumb Tray. - By far the hardest to maintain. I let my old trays go so long I couldn’t get them clean. I got 2 new trays and I’ve cleaned both now after 150-200 hours. The holes were getting sticky and hard to poke through. I followed a Youtube video and used “LA’s Totally Awesome Cleaner” and they came out spotless! Better than simple green. $15 for 12 qts at dollar tree is a bargain. Takes me 3 qts to soak the tray.

Glass, door, rails, - Every 2-3 days when I can’t see inside.

This is a more aggressive cleaning schedule than I had before but I’m going on 1200 cuts between the 2 machines and these machines are chugging right along. I think having no back flash amazes me more than anything.


A note about fan cleaning if anyone reading this doesn’t know:

Be careful about using a compressor on your fans. If the fan spins too quickly it can cause damage, so hold the blade still as you blow them out.

Electric motors and generators are essentially the same, so as it spins your motor will create electric current. In theory you could damage the circuitry in the fan, the bearings — or worse, the controller board on the Glowforge.


This has nothing to do with cleanliness and everything to do with settings.


Generally I’d say that’s true. I recently cut some acrylic without masking and the grunge on my tray made gross brown smoke marks all over it. It’s kind of a flashback effect, yeah?

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My Vivo external fan runs 24/7 which spins up the main exhaust fan 24/7 and in 5 years has not made an issue. If anything by spending a lot more time spinning without crud being deposited seems to keep it cleaner.

I have less need these days to clean the carriage fan, however, by putting the vacuum cleaner on the exhaust I poured hand sanitizer through and the centrifugal force moved the sludge out and down as the fan spun from the moving air, and did not have an issue.

Perhaps putting a great deal more stress would cause a problem, such as 800 CFM instead of 190 CFM, but what I have done to date has not caused an issue.

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While cleanliness is close to godliness, I just want to point out that the majority of problems we hear about on here actually seem to happen AFTER a cleaning. BE CAREFUL when cleaning your machine. And remember, the magic blue smoke that makes it all work should not be allowed to escape at any cost… Sometimes a little dirt is your friend.


Not even close to how fast a compressor would spin it.