Constantly Running Compact Filter

I’m looking for advice about how best to use the compact filter and thank you in advance to those who respond. I just finish our first day at a large festival where we were engraving the backs of pre-cut keychains made from proofgrade medium basswood plywood. The Glowforge and compact filter were running off and on for about 9 hours engraving in 10-12 minute bursts. We engraved about 300 small keychains with personal pictures on the back. The day went well will no issues with the filter. When we finished for the day I went to make 55 new keychain blanks which takes just under 3 hours of engraving and cutting. Almost as soon as I started the run I saw smoke coming out of the back of the machine around the hose and above the filter followed very shortly by smoke above the machine. I stopped the print and turned off the Glowforge leaving the filter to run overnight. I am hoping the that letting the filter run for twelve hours or so will pull enough down that I don’t have to change the filter since I just ordered a new one and don’t have it yet.

Has anyone had similar experiences with their filters with running them for extended periods of time? Note: I may have had a total of 25-30 hours of engraving and cutting proofgrade plywood with the filter before the show today.

Which plywood/thickness?

It was mostly all medium basswood plywood and some medium cherry plywood.

All have MDF centers which will fill up a filter very quickly. I dearly wish it was possible to run them backwards or under a vacuum cleaner., but that much MDF is about the limit.

if you did the engraving lightly enough to not go through the regular wood you could do quite a but more, but as soon as the smoke from the MDF goes through it is like leaded gasoline through the car’s pollution control device.


Okay, the bad news is, the average life on the Compact Filters with the plywoods is about 30 hours of actual cutting/engraving time, the Glowforge filters are supposed to last about 20% longer without filling up, so given the actual time spent cutting, you have likely just reached the life of the filter.

There’s a chart that shows the average lifespan for the Compact Filters here…I’m not sure they had the ones for the Glowforge unit filters yet, they haven’t been out long enough.

Filter Cartridge Lifespan

Don’t know if running it longer will help…but it can’t hurt. Good luck with it.


The only thing I didn’t see you address is at what speed you have the filter - it has a dial on the front and if you’ve still got it in the starting position you may be able to get some more life by turning it up…

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Even with a significant pre-filter I was never able to get much more than 30 hours out of a cartridge. With a good pre-filter it’s not even a clogging issue, the carbon is just done and the smell will start overwhelming you.


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