Bad odor while cutting or etching

I just bought my Glowforge Pro about a week ago. I have it on top of a big wooden top of a tool box right next to my window. I had a wooden board made to fit the window and even dressed it up with a white thin board inside and outside for looks. I tried the foil hose first (Horrible) kept tearing when we were putting it on. I made a sign that took about an hour and did some Acrylic that took like 30 minutes I didn’t realize that there was a hole in the foil hose. We fixed that and put a plastic dryer vent hose with some good ends to connect to the Glowforge and the exhaust vent. I even put duct tape to seal both ends. Put window foam insulation on top and bottom of the window vent and even put an inline vent block to stop anything from coming back in through the hose from outside. Anyways after all this there is still such a strong Oder in my living room while I do anything with my Glowforge, is this normal? I don’t think it can be because it’s so bad it plugs up my sinuses and smells the house up really bad. To avoid the materials I already cut from smelling the room up I put them in my Art Room with the door closed. Someone please tell me if I get the filter from Glowforge, is that going to do stop the strong odor in the house while the Glowforge is in operation? By the way I already cleaned the Glowforge once already cause there was a lot of smoke dust in it. I don’t care about spending $1000 for the Glowforge filter if it will take care of at least 95% of that strong smell while it’s etching and cutting. Please chime in I’m open to any advice or suggestions that you guys may have. Thank you all and hello to everyone, I am new to the Glowforge community.

I did this:

And it reduced noise and smell from my Glowforge.


As it happens many plastic food bottles are the same diameter as a Glowforge exhaust! The V-8 bottle I bought has ribs under the label that are just under that size and when forced will stretch and hold on tight to the Glowforge making adding or removal for cleaning very easy.

Before that I had a 2 liter soda bottle that I cut and just barely touched to a hot frying pan that shrunk the end a bit and accomplished the same, but it is tricker and the lack of ribs made it floppier.

If either was used in the hole in your window cover then the 4" exhaust hose will attach better with less room for leakage there.
I also added a 190 CFM Vivosun 4" exhaust that runs 24/7 and is quite enough for Acrylic or most wood engraving but can be over-run if cutting a smoky wood.

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I went with the larger 390 CFM Vinosun 6" exhaust. I returned the 190 CFM Vivosun, it just seemed to weak to me.

I don’t have a filter system, so I cannot say if it reduces smell or not. But I have heard of them being suddenly full and then smoke backs-up into the room. That sounds really bad.


It is. However It works for most cases and I can use the Glowforge internal fan in those cases where it needs the help. I would like to find a 4" high volume fan but not seen one yet.

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The 4" 190cfm is not sufficient for use alone except for very small jobs or light work, even with the original fan and grate removed, I noticed a significant build-up of deposits inside the machine within a short time.

The 6", however, works better alone than the 4" WITH the original fan - and is so quiet, I sometimes forget and leave it on overnight…


This looks interesting:

I’m so sorry to hear that you’re running into trouble properly ventilating your Glowforge.

When your Glowforge is 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 detect a strong, sharp smell that also causes eyes, nose, or throat irritation, or if there is visible smoke escaping while the lid is closed, 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:

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.

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Unless you have to use the filter (absolutely no way to vent), I would stay away from that option. From what I understand, you will need to replace the filter at $250 each more often than most folks are comfortable. I have the 6" external vivosun exhaust fan and am very happy with it. I also upgraded my hose. Make sure you do not have any leaking around the hose or connections. I have taped up the connection from the GF to the hose, and every other connection well. I also added a blast gate between window vent and my exhaust fan.


It’s been seven days since we’ve heard from you, so I’m going to close this post.

If you are still having trouble, please start a new thread or reach out at We’ll be happy to take a look.