Air Filter Concerns

So I’ve had my Glowforge and air filter for about a month and a half. I’m very frustrated that after such a short time the filter seems to need replacing already. I failed to realize that the supplied draft board that is sent with the new unit was not good to use with the filter. So that’s my bad.

I’m hoping that this is the reason it is already filled. Is it typical that the filter has to be replaced every other month or should they typically last longer? I’m starting to think that throwing down $1000 fat ones on a filter that’ll cost an additional $250 every other month was a bad move.

Is this typical for the rest of you all or do they seem to last longer? If so how long? (Sure I know it depends on what your using.) I’m using baltic burch now that I know the supplied draft board is a bad idea. I’ve also used some plywood from Lowes which I’ve grown to loathe.

Also, I saw in another thread where someone suggested a “pre-filter” which helps the air filter itself to last longer. Anyone got a link or name for one they are using. Or any other information that would help find a “pre-filter”?

Thanks in advance for the help! I greatly appreciate it!


1 Like

Personally, I don’t use an air filter…but, yes…you are correct about it filling up very quickly depending on what materials you are using most. And, yes…they are incredibly expensive. Do you not have any option at all to vent to the outside?


Well I can if I drill through brick to create a vent hole. But I really don’t want to do that since I hope to eventually build a shop building and don’t want to have to leave behind an unattractive hole in the wall of the house.

Besides, I’ve spent $1000 on the air filter so I really would like to use it if possible. I honestly expected the filters to last longer than one and half months. But I am considering non the less to drill through the brick.

I’m wondering if anyone has tried blowing the filter cartridge out with an air hose?

1 Like

Yes, folks have cleaned their filters - please ignore all the hyperbole here, but the instructions may be helpful:

For pre-filters, they seem to constantly come and go on Amazon so most of the links folks have posted lead to 404 errors - but in general the most basic pre-filter would be a piece of quilt batting cut to size, but you can get fancy and get one designed for an air purifier - just make sure the measurements match :slight_smile:

For your future info - the specs on the filter are in the manual, and here:


This is what I use as a pre-filter. I ordered a couple of rolls and cut them into pieces that fit snugly into the top of the filter case, right on top of the filter cartridge. I use three layers of material for every 1.5-2 hours of cutting/engraving time, then remove and replace with three clean layers of material.

In addition to using pre-filters, I also start the filter about 15 minutes before any cutting /engraving begins, and continue running the filter for an additional 20-30 minutes after all cutting/engraving has stopped. Doing it this way helps to compact the particles that make it past the pre-filters more than normal, and ensures that you get the absolute most use out of the filter’s holding capacity.

I’ve been using the original filter cartridge for almost a year, still have the replacement cartridge I ordered a couple of months ago, sitting on a shelf in the closet, in the original box. I average about 3-4 hours of use per day, changing pre-filters every couple of hours and air drying them after hand washing.


Draftboard and the Medium PG plywoods (they have a draftboard core) will fill up your filter quickly as they are MDF. Non GF branded MDF will have the same problem. MDF is basically glue and sawdust - the vaporized glue + dust is quick filter death.

On the other hand other materials won’t fill it up quickly, if at all. Acrylic and leather for example will hardly fill up the filter at all. I use a high quality Baltic birch plywood from a local lumber supplier and get several months out of a filter. Your mileage will vary.


@yoyodyne2112 thanks so much for the information! I greatly appreciate it! I’ll definitely order some and start using it immediately. Again thanks for the help! :+1:t3::blush:

1 Like

@deirdrebeth thanks so much for the info! That’s great! So I’m curious as to how long ago it was that you did this and if the filter is still holding up?

It wasn’t me - it was @whickmant - I just remembered reading it so was able to search for it :slight_smile: I vent outside.

oh ok gottcha! Thanks for sharing though!

Hello @chadowensgcpd I’m sorry for the rough start with your filter. It’s great to see that you’ve already been able to discuss this with other community members!

Regarding the life of filter cartridges there are a lot of factors that go into the lifespan of your cartridge. Some of those include how often you print, the designs you print, cutting versus engraving, and whether you follow the directions in the user manual for proper operation. For that reason, it is difficult to predict how long a filter cartridge will last.

To estimate, we tested Proofgrade materials with a standard Glowforge test print. It is 11 minutes long (the average duration of a Glowforge print, and is a mix of cutting engraving that reflects typical usage). If used only for cutting, cartridge life may be roughly half as long. If used only for engraving, it may be more than twice as long.

Note that we have only tested, and can only recommend, Proofgrade materials. Materials from other sources may work just as well, but some materials may clog the cartridge almost immediately. For example, MDF products (including Proofgrade Draftboard) will dramatically lower your filter cartridge life.


Test prints before cartridge change

Medium Proofgrade Hardwood (Maple, Cherry, etc) (1/8")


Medium Proofgrade Acrylic (1/8")


Thick Proofgrade Acrylic (1/4")


Medium Proofgrade Plywood (1/8")


Thick Proofgrade Plywood (1/4")


Medium Proofgrade Leather


I noticed that you created another forum post regarding your Air Filter. I’m going to go ahead and close this post and reply to you there as well.