Cleaning exhaust for the first time

I’m super nervous. I’ve read all the instructions and I’m scared to push the button that turns on the fan because I couldn’t get the 3M Novac, so I got CRC QD Contact cleaner. It’s safe for electronics, plastics, etc. Where my brain is stopped is in the GF instructions, it says simple spray the degreaser on the fan until it’s clean. But on the bottle, it says highly flammable and do not use on anything that is energized?! Does the 3M stuff say this? It just sounds too easy. Am I missing something? Just spray it on the inside of the fan?

You’re risking damage to the machine (or worse) by using a product they have not tested.

“Energized” may be because it is conductive, which would short out the electrical circuits on the main interconnect board in front of the fan. Boom.

1 Like

Oh HELL no! I just realized what that is! I would never use that anywhere near my Glowforge. It is designed for automotive applications, not delicate electronics.


Ok, thanks. I haven’t done it yet. I had read somewhere that someone suggested it. I have sprayed the inside of the fan with “Dust Off” Compressed-gas instant dust remover. Which, I thought was just compressed air. I hope I haven’t really messed up in doing that. This is so stressful. :frowning:

The Novec also comes with a big warning not to use inside and breathe the fumes. which was not an option for me.
@Jules posted a great more hands-on approach, that would be my preference especially with the newer machines that are more open in back.

They built software that runs only the fan and nothing else, but you can to it with the machine off, and use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the vapors and move the fan when there is no power, One thing about that if you use cleaner of any type and then have a puddle of it evaporate it will leave the crud behind as a solid rock. This happened to me and killed that fan.

1 Like

The reason I wanted to clean the fan is it was making a loud noise upon starting and stopping. I haven’t cleaned it yet so figured I better before it catches fire or something. It really doesn’t look very dirty to me but ai stuck some Q-tips in and a hard piece of gunk came out, along with some residue. Maybe that was all that was causing the problem? I’m afraid to turn it back on now that I’ve sprayed that dust remover on it. :frowning: I’m starting to wonder if this machine is for me or not… I’m so stressed out about cleaning it. :frowning:

That was another thing that I didn’t understand. In the cleaning instructions they tell you to make sure it’s unplugged. When I pushed the button to move the laser arm it gave me an error message. Idk…

That was a change from before they had the software done to turn on just the fan. As I noted I would unplug it and follow @Jules method anyway.

1 Like

Thank you

1 Like

I never found the recommended cleaner. Advanced FYI: I’m out of warranty and we are used to working with delicate machinery and circuits in my house.

I had my husband remove the fan (everything was unplugged of course) and I cleaned it, and I also cleaned the opening in the back, because if that’s blocked, that’s not good either. Then I had my husband put the fan back in. I read somewhere that a user 3D printed an alignment tool to get the bottom right screw back in, but my husband did it without any issue. You do need a hex tool with a round top for this to work. We did not remove the glass cover.

I would not recommend this method unless you have complete faith in your ability to take things apart without breaking them (the cables especially). Posting the link that talked about the 3D printed alignment stuff.


That man is good with his hands! That’s not easy.

Fairly impossible with a pro, I’d think. All the cooling components get in the way.

I’ve heard that from the videos. I don’t have a pro, so I wouldn’t know. Good to know though, tells me that if I ever got a pro, I’d probably remove the fan straight away so I’d never have to clean it.

1 Like

If you got a Pro, and an external exhaust over 200 CFM you would never have to clean it. On the other hand, the new design in the back behind the fan is a lot easier to clean :grin:

1 Like

@eflyguy @rbtdanforth

Is there an easy way to determine the “newer” machines? Mine is about 18 months old.

The older ones had a honeycomb design, the new a spiral that matched the blades

1 Like

I believe mine is an older one then, I’ll need to check to be sure.

1 Like

If you ever tried to clean that fan you would know for sure!

My machine has the annoying honeycomb design. I’ve tried shoving q-tips through there when I first got my machine.

1 Like