Burn Dust Hovering in the Air

So I have been using the Glowforge for a month now and venting out the window, this works very well and I am not getting much of a smell inside but after running it for about 1 hour and opening the lid 3-4 times, I do get a light smell in the air predominantly when I open the GF. The smell also hangs around long after I have finished using the GF.

Today I noticed that the smell really comes when I handle the material (cut wood). When I looked on the table it was full of tiny shiny black particles which is actually from the cutting (the burn marks around the edge). I have realised these are filling the air every time I touch the wood or open the GF lid.

How are others handling this? Does everyone wear respirators the whole time? I have started vacuuming the edges of the wood using the brush attachment to try and get it off.


Sounds to me like you’re overpowering your cut and getting excess soot. I would try doing a material test and see if you can get better results. Baltic birch ply cuts like that should be more golden-colored than blackened.

Check out #6 if you’ve never seen it:


thanks @evansd2, I was testing a few times with this wood, its 4mm thick, I was using passthrough to make a sign. I tested at 150 speed / full power and it wasn’t going through, so I changed it to 125 speed and full power and that gave me a nice consistent cut for all the letters.

At 135 I was getting certain parts of the wood not cut.

It looks like overpowering . try 170 speed 85 power it should look like this

nice clean cuts


That’s maple hardwood, looks like. With BB plywood, it’ll look a bit like this:

You get some variation in the layers, but it should never be black and flaky/dusty as a rule.


Ah, well in general char increases with power and with slower speeds.

In your case (where it might not be BB ply, and is definitely not 1/8"/3mm… try doing 2 passes at higher speeds. It will take longer overall to cut but the cleaner edges may be worth it to you. Hot and fast is always best for avoiding char and fire.

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Certainly not with anything you should responsibly be putting in the gf. I’ll either use an alcohol rag or fine sand paper to edge off any over burn like that. Honestly, sanding could be more dangerous than the gf left overs for normal laser materials.

I do sometimes wear an N95 mask when cutting a lot of MDF and the smoke is irritating me.

This is definitely a hobby/occupation that’s not good for your lungs.

If you add an inline fan to your vent setup you can keep it running after cuts which will pull residual smoke out rather than letting it out into your room when you open the lid. Bonus - it’s a ton quieter than the built in fan.


I use an inline fan that vents out the window, but I also have an “Odor-Stop” air purifier in the room, which we notice does help a lot with any residual smell in the air. I really notice it when I use acrylic, and I can hear the purifier kick it up a notch to get rid of the particles that may linger.