Air Filter (Working?) Questions

Question about the GF air filter. My GF started really smoking up the bed when printing on some uncertified Maple (1/8") today. I turned the filter to the max, which helped a little, until that print was done. I thought it may have been the wood since I got it from Home Depot and started on some old MDF that was left over from other projects so I know it is good, but it is still excessively smokey. The bed was so smokey, I canceled it cause I couldn’t see the project being cut.

So my question is - can the filter go from filtering (at half setting) to fully not working in just one 7 minute print job?
Second, is it the filter or could there be another problem with the venting?
What would you recommend?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions - apparently the replacement filters are sold out so I am at no GF’ing until a new filter can be replaced. :pleading_face:

My guess is that your filter is full. MDF is not something to cut if you are using the filter system. It fills the filter really quickly.

The other thing to check is whether the filter accidentally got toggled off.


Thanks, I read that MDF will fill a filter quickly, but I have to use the filter so I am kind of stuck. The filter was running - sounds like a 747 - can’t miss it in my small office :laughing:

I pulled the filter cartridge out but I can’t really tell if it is full or not. The bottom is still white and seems clean, but I have no idea if that means anything or not. The top has some dust, but that is about all I can see.

I guess I was concerned cause it was fine the last time I used it, but today, it just suddenly started smoking up. Guess when the filter gets full - it does it quickly.

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A filter is a last resort and for light, occasional use. You’ll note they don’t even list specs for MDF (Draftboard) as it’s abysmal. You can fill a cartridge in just a few hours of use.


When you are able to get another cartridge, get some cut-to-fit carbon filter pad and cut a rectangle of it to sit on top of the big cartridge. It’ll catch a lot of the larger debris cutting MDF/plywood creates. You can wash or replace that pad cheaply, and it’ll keep the expensive cartridge from filling up so fast, so you don’t have to replace it as often. Something like this:


Wow - thanks, I guess I need to re-think how I GF :thinking: I knew MDF was not good for the filter, but did not realize it was that bad.

Thank you for that info and link!!! - I will give that a go with the new filter and see what I can do about using the window - at least part of the time when I am cutting MDF.

Problem is my neighbors are close and even the slightest breeze will carry the smell onto their screened porch. Maybe I can make some type of screen to keep the fumes from blowing their way.

I have been using something similar (now just on the house AC intake) but without the charcoal addition, and yes it is pretty good about grabbing the big stuff and the sticky gummy stuff and can be washed with soap to get rid of that. (it would probably make the charcoal part non-operational to do that but there is charcoal protected by the HEPA filter in the box) If you leave the filter running all the time it will last longer than running it just when you are cutting.

As for the neighbors, the prevailing winds will say where the smoke will go, and if there are other buildings 30 feet away the smoke will usually just go up or down the canyon. If you can get the exhaust above the roof you should be ok. I have neighbors 15 feet away, but they go outside to smoke cigarettes and produce far more smoke than I do and more frequently.

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Great info, I will let the filter run.

Thanks to everyone for all the advice, my husband ran to the hardware store to pick up some of the items you suggested. We are going to vent the GF out the window and put up some type of cheap furnace filter type barrier that will help diffuse the exhaust so it does not choke out the neighbors.

I will definitely use the GF filter sparingly from now on and never with MDF - good thing is that I cut cardstock and chipboard most of the time.

Thanks again for all the great advice, you guys rock!!


Think of chipboard as another kind of MDF I think.

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Looks like I just need to stick with the window for venting :wink:

One thing I found out with chipboard is that you have to read the details before purchasing. I have some that is just cardstock, while some others I bought are super heavy/thick cardstock.

The kind I use the most is just really thick cardstock with a white paper covering. It can even be cut with my Circut Maker, but it comes out better with the GF.


It all depends on what they are calling chips :rofl: and what glue they are holding the chips together with. MDF with submillimeter chips or with 2-inch sized chips is about the same. Actual cardboard might be something else :thinking:

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Chipboard in the art community is a heavy paper product - it’s sized in “mills” or “points” although I see that Dick Blicks is now advertising it in “plies” :man_shrugging:

It’s the same thing as cereal box cardboard and is good for testing projects before upscaling them to wood or acrylic.

Chipboard in the construction industry is made from large woodchips and resins and is seriously not suitable for cutting in a GF. It’s also known as Low Density Particleboard.

Not only is it not a good laser material, it’s really pretty crappy for building anything although a lot of that cheap d-i-y furniture is made out of it.


Good points about knowing that the same name is used for many different products. It’s a lesson in making sure you know what you are buying :face_with_monocle:
I remember my dad telling me not to use particle board because it had (in his opinion) little practical use. Never knew it was called chipboard - I learn something new every time I visit this forum :+1:


I didn’t know about paper (cardboard) chipboard until I started lasering things and helping a guy who was into paper arts.


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