Air Quality ALERT

Hi there!
We are having a serious problem with the air quality after using the Glowforge. We have written to the company and on every platform we could. We are using draftboard and filtering out of our window. We previously were using the compact filter but when that wasn’t working we switched to outdoors.

Basically what is happening is that after a few minutes of the laser being on, the entire room smells almost like burnt wood. It is giving me a headache and makes it difficult to breathe. The smell lingers for days and into our home where our two small children also reside. We have checked the connection and made sure to patch up any space air could be escaping. We have cleaned the machine and the fan as per recommendations from glowforge.

Is this due to the material we are using? Has anyone had this problem? I feel like I’m seeing so many people use the machine without hassle. Wondering if it is maybe just my machine? I’m nervous about harmful chemicals being emitted into my home!

Thank you for your help!

It sounds like you have pinholes in the vent tube going to your vent area and you may not have sealed the exit as well as you thought. If you are getting that much smoke and smell into your work area you have a leak. There is a lot of reference material on this forum for dealing with the leaks, but the first thing that is usually recommended is that you replace the vent hose that comes with the GF with a better quality hose.

I run an air filter during and after I use the GF to clear out those smells and they rarely last longer than a few hours.


Make sure you have turned off the “Compact Filter attached” setting:


When that setting is enabled it turns off the fan that’s built in to the Glowforge (to prevent interfering with the filter’s fan). When you don’t have the filter attached you want the built-in fan to be running in order to push the air outside. :slight_smile:


If the Compact Filter button is ok, you’ll want to also post pictures of how your exhaust system is routed.


WHen this happens to me it is the fan. Is it possible the smoke is blowing back through the window? This happens to me, too. Need a longer hose.


Agree with everyone so far that you shouldn’t have that much smoke and smell, and posting some pictures of your ventilation set-up might help us give you some ideas.


I’m so sorry to hear that you’re running into this snag.

When your Glowforge and Compact Filter are properly set up, you may have some harmless odor during printing which will rapidly dissipate. You may also smell something when you open the Glowforge lid after a print is complete. This is not harmful.

However, if you notice a strong, unpleasant or irritating odor when printing, or see smoke, shut off your Glowforge unit immediately. Smoke and fumes could be entering the room in excessive concentrations.

We’ve created a troubleshooting guide with illustrations. You can see it here:

If you’re still seeing or smelling excessive smoke or fumes when using Proofgrade materials, we’re here for you. Email us again and send us:

  1. The name of the material you’re using

  2. A description of where the smoke/fumes are coming from: the door, lid, or hose

  3. When you smell the fumes: during the print or after it has completed

  4. Photos of your Glowforge and your exhaust system

To help troubleshoot your exhaust, could you send me a few photos of your exhaust system? Specifically, please include pictures of the following:

  1. The exhaust fan from the inside of the unit. To capture this photo:

  2. Turn your Glowforge off

  3. Open the lid

  4. Using both hands, gently pull the printer arm towards you as shown below:

  5. Move your phone or camera inside the Glowforge on the left-hand side, past the metal rail, pointed away from you towards the exhaust hose, to capture a photo like the one below:

  6. A photo of where your exhaust hose attaches to the Glowforge, where your exhaust hose exits the room, and the path your exhaust hose takes from your Glowforge to the exterior vent or Compact Filter

  7. The exhaust connection on the back of your Glowforge, with the exhaust hose removed:

  8. Any area where you see smoke escaping from your Glowforge while printing

Once we can review these images, we’ll send over the next best steps.


There will be a fix for this.
You should not smell anything, except sometimes when some lingering scent when door is open and piece removed allowing for some trapped smoke to dissipate.
Normal cutting engrave and score operations should remain odor free if all is in order.


There is always a little smell because the GF isn’t airtight. But it if it’s as bad as OP says, then I suspect [a] fan, [b] hose, or [c] overall bad ventilation.

In my office, I have a 20"x20" box fan that has an FPR 10 furnace filter taped to the front. (A poor-man’s hepa filter.) Works great for cleaning the air and cheap to replace.

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It took me a while, but after sealing all of my long exhaust run I have zero smell during even 2 hour engraves.

Has it always been this way? If so there is a/are leak(s) in the exhaust setup if the exhaust fan is running.

The fan guard for the exhaust (picture #7 in the reply from support) will eventually get blocked by debris, so check that the grill isn’t clogged.

@dr.krawetz, it isn’t air tight, but the exhaust fan moves more CFM than the intake fan, so there is a negative pressure inside the machine, so very crack in the case should be sucking air in…
Over 3 years of use and there is zero smell during operation. Only a whiff when opening the lid after an operation.

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If the hose is flopped out an open window, a surprising amount of odor will blow back in to the room. You need to create some kind of a baffle with an airtight hose connection, if you haven’t already.

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It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email