Compact filter.... not filtering

I’ve had the compact filter setup for about 2 weeks, and I haven’t ran any MDF through it, just 3 edge light acrylic pieces a few inches diameter, some proof grade maple and cherry (a few keychains) and about 4 or 5 dozen sheets of Baltic birch ply.

It seems that the smoke isn’t coming out of the machine with last night’s jobs. I had the filter on the lowest setting so far. Even cranking it up to max the filter gets louder but air is not significantly moving out the sides of the filter like it used to a couple days ago. Smoke is not vacating the machine well either, at full blast.

I understand Baltic birch ply from local lumberyard isn’t proof grade, but it has to be agreed that it’s pretty much a laser cutting standard material. I would think that the filters would last longer than what anyone could possibly throw at it in 2 weeks worth of jobs.

It seems odd also that turning up the knob did not improve performance as instructed.

How do I resolve?


Did you turn on the CF in the UI? If you haven’t just press the gear icon, then click on the filter. If it is on, then maybe check your exhaust hose, and make sure it’s fully clamped on both the Glowforge and the filter. If those don’t help, then someone else might have some other ideas, but that’s where I would start.



Yes, of course that was all checked.

I think that the filter block is clogged, or defective?

Would it be safe to vacuum the top of the filter block? It still looks white, though a bit off-white from wood dust.

I wonder if it would work again if you opened it up and re-seated the filter block inside? For some reason the first time I tried firing up the filter I didn’t see any suction, then I heard a clunk and it started really pulling. Not sure what I did.

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Should I give the block a shake? Try pushing canned air through certain spots? Try to suck dust out with vacuum?

Did the dust compact inside the filter or did the suction pack the activated charcoal into a tightly packed brick?

No idea, sorry!

Just thinking out loud…

I wouldn’t think so. Depending on what you were cutting, (because some of the BB I have here has an MDF style core) I guess clogged is possible. Sixty or so sheets of it can be a lot depending on how much cutting was going on on each sheet. (Hinges, deep engraves and intricate detailed cutouts burn a lot of material and throw a lot of junk…cutting a couple of boxes from each sheet wouldn’t)

Is the plywood that you are using laminated sheets in alternate directions, or does it have a manufactured & glued core? It’s possible that the glues used in it are sticky, and clogging the filter cartridge more than usual.

You could try vacuuming it…probably wouldn’t hurt. (Don’t shake it, it will sound like there is a pile of loose stuff in the bottom but i think that’s charcoal for filtering.)

If it has started to clog, you might want to think about getting a replacement to have on hand. (Send an email to support, they don’t have it up in the shop yet, and it might take a little time for it to come in if they don’t have them in stock yet.)

This BB Is a wood core, not MDF. Splinters like a pita when snapped. I noticed the charcoal rattlers when I inspected it, but the defective suggestion is that after about 30 hours of use could the insides pack down and clog itself…Was the idea.

Yes, mostly boxes or detailed engraving, nothing I haven’t done already the last two years. I probably had close to 900-1000 hours before the exhaust fan died last fall, and this filter only lasted 30 tops.

I feel I should mention, as an afterthought, yes the machine was sent back for the fan replacement last fall. Then I ran it for just a couple of jobs before the cold really started setting in and it wasn’t feasible to vent out the window anymore with temps and winds like I had.

The jobs in birch were about a half dozen 2 hour full sheet engraves(think wall art pictures) and the rest were cutouts for boxes and my patented dungeon tiles

What you’re describing sounds like a full filter. We’re still working to add them to the shop. Since they’re not available there yet, I’ll reach out by email to arrange a replacement.