Building a shop to get GF out of the house

After 10 months of having my GFpro inside my office, in the upstairs of my house, I can’t take the noise and smell. I have had the exhaust fan going out a sliding glass door, and extending about 5’ away. But my entire office, and most of the upstairs, smells like burned wood for a day or so after I make something. And if I use acrylic, it smells like chemicals. I don’t want to breathe this stuff in, or have anyone in my family breathe it in. I’m sure the glue on non-GF plywood is toxic. And then the sound…it’s like someone running a Dyson vacuum non-stop. Even with the doors closed, you can hear it. And because the glass sliding door is open, the neighbors can all hear it, too.

So, I have decided to build a shop in the back corner of my yard to house the GF, wood, paint, accessories, etc… A laser shop. The only thing, is is that if I want to stay within city regulation, it has to be 120sq feet or less. And my space is more like 8x14, so it’s a bit narrow. Can maybe push to 10x12, but would be really tight.

Does anybody else have a dedicated shop, or even a small shop for their forge? I’m looking for ideas with such a small space to create. I’ll insulate it well for sound, and add AC, along with ventilation. My GF complains regularly that it’s too hot when I’m using it. Turning on the AC gets it going again.

Any advice, direction, ideas, or discussion is very welcome!


It wont help the sound, but there is filter options you can buy… Probably cheaper than building a shed

1 Like

Make sure you’re going to be happy with a detached workspace that is far enough away that it will not create the same noise or odor problem for your neighbors.

For me, that would likely diminish my use by 1/2. Especially on bad weather days.

Also remember you will need to stay with the machine 100% of the time it’s cutting, so no bathroom or food breaks to run back to the house.

You will also want Phone, WiFi and some sort of surveillance / intrusion prevention setup.

1 Like

I have not been able to hook it up to the Glowforge as yet but it will clear the house of all smells and smoke faster than a clogged smoking Glowforge can create it.

I haven’t tried it yet but I understand if you get insulated 4" ducting, that will calm them noise down drastically. I also just ordered one of the carbon filters from Ebay (I guess they are for grow houses… :grimacing: Not me ATF! That burning smell is a freakin’ laser!) that is 700+ CFM compatible, which I’m hoping will help with smoke and smell.Ebay also has ducting mufflers which look like a round tube with egg crate foam in them. Anyway, that might be some ideas to help you quiet down the GF in your shed or maybe will help you not have to build a shed.

1 Like

There are many kit and finished sheds that fit your space. But pay attention to the head room, windows, door seals. Around here every postal code has an shed outlet. A guy down the road lives in a slightly larger version of this.

The sheds will be empty 2x4 construction ready to do with as you will. Insulation, inside wall board, electricity, shelves, vent, heating/AC would be your problem. But prebuilt might be an option depending on your carpentry skills.


If you get a shed be prepared also to air condition it in summer and heat it in winter. It would almost be worth it to just fill a small shed filled with activated charcoal and hepa filters on the windows!


Costco has some sheds and outbuildings for sale that may help with inspiration, even if they end up not being exactly what you want.

If you do this, I’d suggest venting up, not just straight through the wall – even a little extra vertical distance really helps with the dispersal.

(Sorry for no links, I’m in my phone)

(late edit: for example — )

1 Like

I built myself an 8’x14’ art shed, but this seems to be the only photo of it on my phone:

I made a double door on one of the short sides, one side was three feet wide and closed with a normal doorknob, the other side was two feet wide and normally locked into place with latches, but I could open both to get a 5’ opening. The other short side had a large window with a built-in workbench/desk 8’ wide and 3’ deep. I framed it for windows on both long sides as well, but then started using those sides to paint murals and ditched the idea of more windows.

Totally worth it for me.

Oh, it was also built on skids, resting on buried concrete blocks, so it was considered ‘temporary’. It could have been moved around with a tractor if need be.


I have a14x10 would be bedroom that is my shop, and I found it helpful to think in terms of cubic footage instead of square.
For example, the existing surface areas were dedicated and full. I found perfect placement for my machine under a tall work bench on a retractable shelf. 500 lb. capacity glides, the glowforge tucks neatly out of the way when not in use.

Google Photos

I also know when the exhaust run is completely sealed there is zero odor during operation. A whiff is detectable when the lid is opened, but that’s it.
I have an extended exhaust run that uses the standard galvanized 4" pipe, and I had to seal every seam and joint in the run with silicone because everything downstream of the exhaust fan is pressurized. Took me a while to nail it, but it makes me smile when large amounts of smoke are produced in the laser and I don’t smell a thing.
Are you sure that having the slider open is not allowing odor back inside?
I second the idea of venting up as @martin.anderson suggested, as well as the insulated duct as @mandmgarrett said.


I am still running with a hose out the door, and to be honest it seems like there’s no exhaust hookup at all. My laundry room smells terrible when I use the machine, and it’s probably killing me.

The only time it works out as I’d hope is when the breeze outside works in my favor, coming through one door, and exiting the other door where the hose is. That’s a rare day, though. And even when the air is still, plenty of stink works its way back inside.

I’d make a hole in the wall for a proper vent, or build an airtight insert for the slider before I undertook the expense and hassle of relocating to a shed.

1 Like

I ordered an air filter, haven’t received it yet…

Thanks. I actually WANT to be further away. My inlaws live upstairs and that severely limits the hours I can run the forge. Can only use it from 10am - 5pm without too much hassle.

This shed location is less than 50ft from my front door, and 20ft from where I would unload wood. Right now, I’m cutting full sheets of plywood down outside, then carrying through the downstairs, up the stairs, and storing some/all in my office where the forge is currently located.

I have power and cat6 running to my garage already, along with a slew of cameras. We live less than a mile from Waikiki and crime has grown significantly in the last two years. I had some chronics snooping in my driveway just last week. Paradise has been lost, that’s for sure.


Do you have a link or name? I pre-ordered a filter too during the original 30-day campaign. Have yet to receive it, like everyone else. Been using it for 10 months, filter-less.

Thank You. It’s also carrying pieces of plywood through the house. I can’t stain/paint inside the house anyway, so everything has to go outside after I burn it. And all of the scrap pieces of wood that I cut from all stink like a campfire too.

Thanks. Unfortunately my costco doesn’t carry sheds.

Thanks. Unfortunately in Honolulu, there are no shed kits that I can purchase or even order. I have to build it myself, or have someone build it.

1 Like

Thanks. Do you have a link for that slider? Looks cool! I like that when the GF is put away, the top is protected. I’m always worried something will fall on the top and break the glass.
I bought an extra-long duct, so right now there are no seams. But the end of the exhaust is not too far from the open door like I said. But all of the scrap pieces of wood that I cut out of all stink as well. So it’s not just during the operation of the forge.

1 Like

Is the city regs actually limiting you to 120 sq ft, or is that just the size you can add without getting a permit? Since you’ll need to run wiring (in addition to the unit & computer, you’ll need to have heat and some sort of fan or A/C to keep the temp in the shed in operating temps), you’d likely be best doing it via a permit anyway, and not restrict yourself to the footprint. And likely want to place it on a poured slab, or at least more pier blocks and joists than normal for a yard shed.

I added a 8x12’ shed for storage only, and it has the slant-roof style, which allows for more vertical storage. But do a lot of checking on shed/out building companies–you want something that will be well made, as well as easy for you to do any modifications yourself.

That’s the limit without a permit. To get a permit, you need to submit a plan and have it approved. You can have electric or water without a permit, but not both. Any unpermitted structure cannot be on a permanent foundation. Either pier blocks or similar. I was going to use at least 8 blocks.

No heat is needed, and air is only needed about 6 weeks out of the year. We just got AC in our house last year, in fact.

There’s also a 5-foot setback on all sides for the foundation. If I didn’t want to stay in the 120sq foot limit, the largest I could go would be 12x14 at the very most. That’s a LOT bigger, but we’ll see.

There’s a guy who builds sheds here on Oahu. Here are his prices with materials. 3-day turnaround.

Here is an 8x12 shed: