Advice on Fumes and Ventilation

I’ve had the glowforge for almost 2 years now and continually have had smells liner. I have since moved the device downstairs in my basement and have had block windows installed with a vent. The machines sits on a table and the dryer house goes from the machine upto the window to vent out. I still get pretty heavy smells at times that fills the basement and even travels upstairs. Is there any advice anyone has on:

  1. How to minimize or reduce fully the smell ?
  2. What equipment I should have while down engraving to secure myself and my lungs?
  3. Any recommended engraving masks?
  4. Any ideas on how to reduce, trap or vent the remaining smell that may be left over after an engrave.
  5. How to test to ensure my vent hose or machine is not leaking access smoke in?

There are quite a few previous discussions about this – have you looked through them for ideas?

1 Like

While there may be a slight smell after opening the lid, I do not experience fumes or any indication that there is a leak with my setup. Folks have done lots of work documenting how they ensure good exhaust containment, so read up on the links @geek2nurse posted.

First remove your vent hose, get a flashlight and check that the exhaust fan is not clogged. It needs attention from time to time.

When you put it back on, ensure that your exhaust hose is firmly seated on the ring. That is a short surface for attachment. Many folks get screw clamps to replace the ring, spring clamps. Also, many get better exhaust hoses that are less prone to micro holes in them.

@chris1 has a particularly inspiring description of his venting effort.

Here is another one to give you some ideas.

One way to check for leaks is during a print, cover the lid of the Glowforge to cut down lights (only the lid. don’t want to block an intake air, including where lid glass edges are.

Darken the room and get a candle to see if anything escapes from your exhaust port.

Minimize your bends. Double check for leaks all through the system.

Many people are turning to supplementary or replacement inline fans which can be quieter and controlled so that you can keep exhausting the bed area longer to evacuate smell.

Maybe you can post pics of your venting setup and we can see if anything is amiss.

Some folks have containers or bags to put scraps and freshly cut materials to minimize lingering smell.


If your exhaust hose doesn’t have any pin holes in it, both ends are well seated and your exhaust fan is relatively clean then it could be your nose. Some people are very sensitive to odors or to the odors certain materials in the glowforge make. There will always be some odor and a little odor goes a long way. After a session with my machine, especially if I am removing a lot of masking from wood and plywood, that camp fire odor follows me around on my fingers. I wash and scrub them and it is there for a few hours. But it is on my fingers, not in the air. If it really bothered me I may use a degreaser or something stronger than soap on them, but luckily for me it doesn’t.

1 Like

I think @rbtdanforth suggested the excellent addition to this idea to use a laser pointer to spot the smoke. Seems like it’d be highly effective, though he’d have to confirm how well it works in practice (if I’m even right that it was him).


Thanks for “pointing that out”. In my mind I knew there was some trick that I was forgetting. Don’t have a working laser pointer so it’s not in my tool repository at the moment in the brain!


You know I was just thinking the same thing, but then I remembered my laser level. That’ll do it too.

1 Like

it was me and the laser pointer lit up the smoke nicely.

1 Like

One thought comes to my mind: is your house at a negative pressure inside? Here is what I mean. In order to pump air out of your house with the fan in the Glowforge, air must also be able to enter your house. If the air pressure in your house is lower than outdoors, your fan will not be very effective, and when you open the 'Forge after you use it all the smoke in your vent will come back into your room. Maybe try opening a window somewhere not near where your vent is and see if that helps.


Thanks so much for all your feedbaxk I will try a few of these tips, however still wondering for the fumes if a mask is needed while down there If so what is a mask that one would recommend ?

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.