“Clean” Glowforge

I just find it funny that every YT video that talks about cleaning the Glowforge often start off by showing their “filthy” machine… and it’s cleaner than mine is AFTER I’ve cleaned it, lol.

Seriously… how do people keep their machines so clean? Just watched a video where the guy hasn’t cleaned his Glowforge ONCE since he got it in December 2018 and it’s PRISTINE compared to mine.

Meanwhile my lenses and mirror have to get cleaned every other cut because there’s visible soot on them. My circuit boards, vent fan, and main belt are CAKED in dust/soot so thick even scrubbing with a tooth brush (on the areas I can reach anyway) doesn’t get it off… let alone the recommended “can of compressed air”, haha.

If I could, I’d disassemble, or open beyond just the lid, my Glowforge and spend 6 straight hours getting my machine cleaned to near pristine just so I could maintain it moving forward, but I don’t think that’s possible.

And yeah… 99.99% or the time I’m cutting/engraving draft board and plywood (veneer with MDF core), all PG wood… I know that stuff produces the most dust. But still…

I’m legit JEALOUS of everyone’s “filthy” machines!


Sounds like you know what’s causing it. These materials don’t produce the most dust, they produce sticky dust because MDF is mostly glue.

(In contrast, I cut mostly Baltic birch, acrylic, and other plastics and have never even cleaned the fan in over 6 years)


Yeah… it’s just crazy what the difference is. I like the finish of PG wood and selling stuff on etsy becomes too labor intensive if I have to sand and finish my wood. In the end I maintain my optics well enough. Honestly, if I could clean my machine completely, I’d consider changing materials and trying that out for a while.

Also, not sure why someone this post… it was in General since I’m not necessarily asking for help, just musing on the difference.


Many seasoned owners / users on here would venture to say that if you ‘deep cleaned’ your Glowforge to that point, you would end up with problems you never had before. Aside from the aesthetics of a sparkling clean machine, keeping the optics clean and the fans running properly are the most important ways to keep on keeping on. As @ekla pointed out, choice of materials is the key take-away. I seldom use MDF, but do use a lot of acrylic. You would probably be surprised to see how clean my 5 years and 4 mos. old machine still is.


Yeah, maybe I should look in to Baltic Birch as a primary material…

The only "cleaning I’ve done in over 5 years is to wipe the optics as prescribed by support (not some random YouTuber), and use the same wipe to rub down the rails.

I do not have an exhaust fan, it died and I removed it less than 2 years in.

As stated above, a significant number of problems reported here were rooted in people attempting to make their machines look like new again.


Many of these videos are made by people that either produce content as an income source, or produce it only as marketing for their businesses selling something (supplies, designs, accessories) to laser owners. Their machines look pristine because they only use them on rare occasion to produce that content, and they keep them pristine to look good on video. They’re not making stuff with their Glowforge day in and day out like their potential customers.


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