Another crumb tray cleaning question :D air compressor?

Has anyone used an air compressor to blow out all of the little bits that are stuck inside and don’t shake out?

I keep the crumb tray relatively clean, but would like to do a deeper clean. I really don’t want to take it apart and I don’t want to do anything that will damage it. Was just wondering if an air compressor would work without doing any harm. :slight_smile:

I use a very high velocity air sprayer (to replace me buying compressed air) I also have started cleaning the crumb tray with vinegar and water, and then blowing the tray dry.

Forge ahead!


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Hmmm… Can you elaborate on how you clean it with vinegar and water? The thought of getting it wet makes me concerned about rust. Does the air compressor just remove that concern given that you’re blasting out all of the air? My air compressor is very small btw :smiley: Nothing great. A cheapie from HF. I don’t know if that will make a difference in terms of whether this is a good idea for me. lol

I think you’ll be fine, but it’s gonna be loud. All that air going through those small channels, it’s a heck of a racket. I use a blower to dry mine after a deep clean.

Do it outside and maybe wear earplugs.

That being said, here’s my process:
Taking it apart is super easy, it’s just a few torx screws. Take the honeycomb and manually push the stuck bits out with a chopstick or something.

Once most of the bits are out, I put the entire thing in a tub of ammonia/water mix, but you can use soapy water too.

Let it soak for a few minutes, give it a light brushing, then drain and rinse thoroughly (I rinse three times, and am continually astounded at the amount of gunk that comes out. The waste water is black like coca cola or the darkest coffee you’ve ever seen, really pure black).

Then I take the air compressor/blower to it to knock the water off… let it fully dry in the sun.

While the honeycomb is drying I manually soak, scrub, rinse and wipe down the frame of the tray, and them blow the water off the frame with the compressor. Once everything is dried, I reassemble the whole thing. It’s really easy and the only way I know to get the sticky gunk off of the thing.


:arrow_up: :arrow_up: :arrow_up: :arrow_up: :arrow_up:

it’s amazing how black and dirty that things gets!

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Rust may happen, but the degree of rusting depends on duration of exposure to the water. If you clean it, then immediately blow the water out of the thing and let it dry in the sun, it really shouldn’t have time to rust in any meaningful way. I’ve cleaned my honeycomb probably 6 or 8 times this way and it’s not rusted. I’m really careful to blow the water out of any screw holes or other places where it might hang out (like in the comb holes that have the vertical supports running through them). A little extra care to blow those out is a good preventative measure.


ok… Your very detailed description makes me feel more confident that I could hopefully follow these instructions without screwing something up. LOL

my air compressor is this really cheap quiet one from HF, I haven’t even used it yet.

Oh I know it’s gonna be like coffee concentrate when I clean that sucker out. :smiley: So gross. I kinda wanna get a second crumb tray. (Although my husband would kick me since we don’t really have room for more stuff. LOL)

as long as you treat the crumbtray like its wood, DO NOT PUT IN THE DISHWASHER
(lol) you should be fine… @evansd2 can you put a crumbtray in the dishwasher??


Semper Forge

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You can, I’ll pass.

In all seriousness, as a thought experiment… it might work, but the big problems with a dishwasher that come to mind are:

  • The gunk on your tray is probably really bad for you, I wouldn’t want to contaminate my dishwasher… I put my forks in there, man.
  • Bits of laser debris might cause problems in the water pump/drain.
  • The heat from the dry stage of a normal dishwasher run might be too intense, especially for the plastic parts. I would avoid high heat for fear of warp/damage. At the very least, I’d put things on the top shelf, and/or turn off the dry feature.

In all, I’ll stick to my manual process.


Me? I wish glowforge would release a half-height tray and a long focus lens. I’d buy one without hesitation. It would allow for engraving the inside of deep trays, etc.


After going through 7 months of hell (unplanned kitchen remodel with a contractor who turned out to be awful) related to what started as a leak with the hose from the dishwasher, I’ll pass… :laughing:

Seriously, had so many plans for this year but my Glowforge was inaccessible for months this year. Sorry I’m still a little emotionally triggered if you can’t tell :rofl::rofl::rofl:

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Kitchen remodeling stinks. Been there. Not 7 months, but like a month or so was plenty.

Supply shortages due to covid played a part but the contractors being @$$&%#%$ was worst. lol Anyway, I digress… :smiley:
I am going to try to plan on deep cleaning the crumb tray in the next couple of weeks. :slight_smile: We will see… lol

Word of caution about dismantling the crumb tray for cleaning – @evansd2 and others have successfully done so, but other users have not been so lucky. The trick is to get it back together perfectly square so that the focal plane doesn’t go all cattywampus (yes, it’s a technical term :grin: ).

I took apart the tray on my first unit 4+ years ago and wished I hadn’t - it was never quite the same afterward. The only cleaning I undertake on my current machine is to vacuum it out with a 1-gal shop-vac I mounted next to it for that specific use. I’ve never had a problem with char or crumb buildup in the past four years.

No disrespect to anyone else, but if it ain’t actually broke, don’t fix it. Just my opinion, YMMV of course. Good luck.


I wonder if there has been some sort of design change to crumb trays since then? Mine is sort of bulletproof; I can’t imagine how I could do anything to reassemble it “incorrectly”.

Anyway yeah, YMMV — your tray, your risk, etc.

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EEK. This is what I’m afraid of.
Maybe I’ll just keep pushing the little bits down into the tray and keep trying to dump them all out and cleaning it the best I can. :smiley:
And maybe try the air compressor for the parts i can’t seem to get out. (Using ear plugs though, I would not have even thought of that being an issue.)

Just out of curiosity, why?
There’s really no functional need to unless it’s affecting your cut quality.


I can’t speak for anyone else but I do it for a few reasons:

  • My tray gets so dirty that it can mark the back of materials with sticky black residue.

  • Small cutouts get stuck in the comb more often because of said residue.

  • The residue gets thick enough that it makes it difficult to put pins in the comb.

  • When removing pins, bits of black tar come up with them, getting on my material and sometimes marking the surface or getting on my hands where I inevitably smear it.

  • I’ve never tried it but I suspect that stuff is flammable. I’m not worried about fire per se but I’ve always suspected that it can contribute to the amount of smoke generated by a cut.

So it’s a bit of a pain but I think it’s worth it for me.


“a clean glowforge is a happy glowforge”


I know you were specifically discussing using an air compressor and not having to take it apart, but for all the newcomers who see this topic, I do want to link to the ur-post about crumb tray cleaning, which was magnificent. Back in the day before the black crumb trays one really wanted to clean these things.