Air assist fan and other fan issues

Just had the dreaded orange light again. Second time in a couple of weeks. Did as suggested to clean (what I thought was) the air assist fan. Turned back on, for it to go orange again. Then discovered this was not the air assist fan and had to take off to find the ‘actual’ air assist fan, which is behind the laser arm. Well we were a tad surprised at how disgustingly dirty and totally gunked up it was. Gave it a good clean and put everything back together.
Did a test print but it sounds different now. The exhaust fan at the back doesn’t appear to be working and there is another fan noise (which I can’t remember hearing before) at the right hand front (can feel the air intake just under the front).
I did another print, engraving onto a wooden hammer - same issue with fan noise AND very smelly from the engraving.

Please help - exactly how many fans are there; what are their jobs; how can I get the exhaust fan to work again? We have the original exhaust tubing connected to a powerful extractor fan and can always hear the exhaust fan kick in when starting up.

Thanks in advance.

The fan not being on in the back could be because you turned on glowforge air filter attached option, on the top bar of the dashboard you will see 3 vertical dots, click that and you will see the filter option near the bottom of the dropdown menu. the slider should be to the left, if it is to the right it shuts off the fan in the back of the machine. Do you use magnets to hold down your material?

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My air assist fan didn’t spin up after I cleaned it the last time – I think some of the liquified “gunk” had gotten down into the mechanism and dried there. Once I broke it free by spinning it manually, it was fine. Might be worth a try.

I know of 4 fans – the exhaust fan, the air assist fan, the tiny one on the back of the head, and the one under the front right.

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Hi, the GF filter option has always been off. It’s strange but I noticed the difference in fan noise straight away.

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The air assist fan was totally gunked up which was obviously why the orange light came on. It’s all clean now and was moving freely but tbh can’t tell if it’s actually working. :thinking:
The exhaust fan is definitely not making the noises it was before so don’t think that is working and then there’s this new fan at the front which is working and can’t remember it working before :flushed:


Sorry, forgot to mention, I don’t use magnets at all.

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If your air assist fan is working, you’ll see the flame and smoke blowing toward the front as the laser cuts.

It doesn’t seem like you should need the exhaust fan, if you’re using an external fan. I keep mine turned off because I have an inline fan. Could your exhaust tubing or vent be blocked somehow?

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We cleaned out the exhaust fan not that long ago and it was working fine before we de-gunked the air assist fan earlier today. A bit worried about the smell coming out now. When the exhaust was clogged before, the smells went away when cleared.
Might have to re-visit the exhaust fan to see if clogged again.

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The air assist fan should not trigger a light by itself, but it will give an error in the UI if not operating correctly. What can happen, however, is a bad connection from removing the head and/or carriage place to get at the air assist fan could have triggered it.

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Hi @tracey_grundy

I’m sorry to hear you are having issues with your air assist fan and exhaust fan. IF you can post a video of the sound you are getting we can review it for you. here are some steps on how to clean your exhaust fan.

I have a method you can use to clean your fan.

First, you’ll need to obtain a can of 3M Novec Electronic Degreaser, which you can purchase from Amazon or Digikey.

That page will walk you through the cleaning process. Brief summary:

  1. Turn off and unplug your unit and move it outside. Make sure it’s in a location where it has power and Wi-Fi

  2. Using the fan maintenance page, you’ll be able to turn the fan on

  3. Following all manufacturer’s safety instructions from 3M, spray the degreaser into the fan while it’s running for approximately 5 - 10 seconds, or until the fan is clean.

  4. When you’re done cleaning, turn off your unit to stop the fan, and return it to its usual home. You should now see considerably better performance from your exhaust fan!

Please let us know if you have any questions!

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Every time I have had the orange light of doom it has been because of a loose connection at the printhead, so that is the first place I check now. Plus if you remove the assist fan for cleaning, make sure you didn’t reinstall it backwards.


Oh now that’s a thought. Which way should it be pointing? Towards the front or back?

Thank you David. Since posting I have turned the GF back on. Something definitely happened at the exhaust end and it was noisy whilst printing (which is probably why I don’t normally hear the fan working at the front of the unit). It definitely needs looking at so will give your suggestion a go.


Like this?

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Ours looked like that, yes, just not as clean or new.

Had to take the back off that fan as it was almost solidified with gunk.

That’s it. It will blow the smoke towards the front as the laser works…

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Thanks for clarifying. The exhaust fan did kick into action when I turned it on again earlier. It was very noisy so going to give it a clean tomorrow, in the day light as according to GF staff will need to take it outside. You don’t realise just how gunked up things can get. I don’t cut anything either, just engraving.

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I have mine in the garage which is heated so I don’t move it anywhere to clean it. Yes, they get gunked up fast when you engrave a lot. Good luck and enjoy…

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