Afraid to Clean It!

I don’t think it needs to be cleaned yet, but I’m afraid to do it when it’s time. It seems like people start having issues after they clean the machine. At least that’s what I gather from the Facebook groups. Is there something I need to do to avoid having issues after cleaning? I plan to follow exactly what the manual says to do. Any tips here would be appreciated. I don’t really want to wait until it’s too dirty to clean it. That brings up another question. How often does everyone clean their machine? I assume it based on use of course. The manual says after 40 hours of use. Is there a timer somewhere?


Please don’t let what gets posted on Facebook influence your behavior too much.

There is no timer to tell you when to clean.
The optics are simple and easy to clean and should be done often. There is no risk of breaking things when you clean the optics. The only time people have issues it seems to me is when they remove the carriage to clean the air assist fan and either don’t get the fan back on properly or don’t get the belt tension correct.


No timer, I clean my machine often. I clean the lenses all the time, because they get dirty quick and it affects the cut almost right away.

The exhaust fan in the back or any external fan you use probably needs to be cleaned any time you notice the smoke gathering in the bed (by that point it’s probably super dirty since it’s impeding airflow.)

The air assist fan I also clean often. Sometimes I have to clean the air assist and lenses several times during a cut job (I cut alot of mdf/Baltic birch and it gets sticky/dirty fast).

I also keep the rails clean. The machine makes noises and can get visibly dirty quick. I clean it whenever I feel like it because it’s easier to keep up with than trying to scrape a year of gunk off a fan after it starts making lots noises (uhhh…my first thorough air assist fan cleaning was gross)


Or when they use liquid solvents and spray them onto the glowforge. That’s just bad policy.

Always use solvents in small amounts, like with a damp wipe. Never spray onto the Glowforge, it’s asking to get liquid into your electronics. (And yes I am including the fans, that degreaser spray may be official advice but I think it’s a bad plan)


As long as you follow the instructions provided by Glowforge (link below), cleaning is completely safe and will keep your machine running optimally for years to come (I’m on year 4 :sunglasses: ).

As others have said, FB is not a good place to find reliable info about your GF.


I mostly only clean the “things that need cleaning,” as listed on the support site. The rest of the machine can just be dirty, it’s not going to hurt anything. It’s the “deep cleaning” that gets people in trouble, and there’s just no need for that!


THIS!!! WTF with all the FBers who invented a completely unnecessary, non-recommended cleaning routine and then wonder why their machines don’t work properly? :woman_facepalming:t2:


I have cleaned everything but the air assist fan. I am afraid to take it off as that is when people run into trouble. I’m afraid I won’t be able to get it back to the way it was.

I clean my optics at least once a week, sometimes more often, depending on what I’ve been cutting. I also clean the crumb tray, the bottom of the machine, and the rails where the wheels travel. I clean the lid inside and out when I clean the optics. I also clean the laser tube occasionally. I know it does not affect the way the machine works, but it looks better clean.


Yeah I put it in the dishwasher, but I put it on the gentle cycle. Why do you ask?


Haha! You mean I shouldn’t take a pressure washer to it? Lol

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You can. I just don’t know if I would.

It’d probably be super clean though…

The microfiber alcohol wipes only on lenses. If you use the blue thing to remove the lens remember “cup side up” when you put it back. So many complaints from folk who forgot that. :man_facepalming:

I have used name-brand hand sanitizer on the carriage fan without removing it, but first used the vacuum cleaner hooked up to pull any excess through and totally dry for an hour before removing the shopvac
The sanitizer on a cloth also does windows .


The people that seem to have problems when it goes back together are those taking a shortcut and loosening the tensioner.

If that was the recommended way, or a better way, that’s what would be stated in the directions. It’s not.

As far as putting the belt back on using the recommended method, you need to make mechanical leverage work in your favor. You don’t try and stretch the belt on, you only get it in position to have enough bite for the motion system to pull it on for you.


Just do what the manual says, and you’ll be ok.

Don’t look for shortcuts.

Don’t clean visually clean optics. Just if they need cleaning. Treat them gently. Make sure to follow the arrow when putting the lens back in.

Don’t spray liquids anywhere into the system. Cleaning the lid, etc. — just spray a paper towel and gently wipe the lid.

It’s an expensive piece of equipment so you’re going to have to learn to clean it, as recommended, or it will be an expensive thing just sitting there.

Once you do it, you’ll feel more comfortable. If you get hung up on something and aren’t sure, just pop into the forum, post a question and a picture, and you’ll get advice really quick. The advice posted here generally comes from people that have been around a long time — the signal to noise ratio on Facebook is bad. Some of the advice there makes me just want to yell no, no, noooooo.


I think a clean machine works better.

Keep the areas cleaned, the lenses wiped down with zeiss wipes, i keep a shop vac and give the unit a vacuuming with a soft brush after each use, I use a vinegar / water mix as my liquid (also an ad hock fire extinguisher) the suggestion, is take a peice of packing tape, and stick it on a paper towel, and ‘floss’ the laser tube (with the GF unplugged thank you very much) - common sense seems to be the message of the day

as far as the fan. IF YOU PULL THE LASER CARRIAGE (gently) to the front of the unit, LOOK ON THE LEFT SIDE – you can CLEAN THE FAN with a bottle brush, with no fuss, no muss, no sprays, no nothing!!! (well, maybe some compressed air)



This trick is less true if you’ve got a pro, the heat exchanger gets in the way. It’s possible but just tougher to get at the exhaust fan.


Why they don’t make that fan removable from the outside I’ll never understand. Seems like such a simple solution. Maybe there’s something I’m missing though.

You and me both.

that seems to be a common thread, spend $10 million dollars on development, and then use a cheap radio shack part for the most important pieces, the whole fan / exhaust feels like it was slapped on as an after thought. – It’s like a custom made $600 designer shirt, and a .29 label sewed into the back on your neck, itching and irritating the skin.

– with customer feedback the next version will be better.


Yeah. I’m not an engineer, so I don’t know if they have their reasons. Most likely something to do with cost over function. But, again, I’m not an expert in this area. Overall, I think the machine is pretty well designed and definitely something I enjoy. So, instead of complaining I’ll just enjoy what it does and deal with what it doesn’t.