Cut/Engraved Draftboard & set off smoke detectors

I cut a 7" x 1" piece from draft board and engraved a name. WOW! The smell, it set off the smoke detectors in the house and the carbon monoxide detector too. The GF is vented properly. Suggestions?

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You will probably want to provide a few photos of your venting setup to support so they can check it out. You should not have any smell during operation, and no visible smoke, although you might smell a whiff when you open the lid after a cut.

(And if you are getting enough smoke to set off a smoke detector, stop trying to use the machine until it gets squared away.)


Thanks! I have cut acrylic and the medium basswood plywood with out a problem.

The PG plywood is nothing but draftboard with a couple of veneer faces ironed onto it. It wasn’t the material. :slightly_smiling_face:

The machine is supposed to maintain a negative pressure, so that fresh air comes into the machine through the cracks around the lid and from the intake on the side. If you had enough smoke escape during operation to set off a smoke detector, you have a venting or exhaust issue that you need to take care of. (Not safe to operate it that way.)

If the smoke is coming out around the lid, the exhaust fan or grate might be blocked. Or you might have something blocking the intake on the lower right side of the machine. Or if you have it hooked up to a filter of some kind, the fan in the filter isn’t drawing properly. Or there might be leaks around joins or in the hose.

The first step in identifying where the problem is, is to look at the exhaust setup. (Hence the need for the pictures. It will save you some time when support sees the thread to already have them in the post.)

Once the pictures are seen, there are people here who can probably look at it and make suggestions for things to check, that will eliminate the need for support to ask you to check for them. (It just speeds up the resolution for you.)

But you can wait until they ask for what they need. They might be able to see something on the logs. (Just don’t try to run it in the interim.) :slightly_smiling_face:


You could use a smoking incense stick around the lid cracks to check if the smoke is sucked into the machine as it should be. Use the stick around the exhaust port to ensure air is not escaping around the connector. Probably get them at Walmart but going to the local head shop is more fun.


It’s quite likely that something has changed since then, either a piece of your venting has come loose, or the exhaust fan is clogged or not working, or something like that.

I once had a piece of foil tape that I was using to seal everything pop up slightly, and the next few cuts smoked me out of my basement until I realized what had happened.


Hello @doublemlettering and welcome!

Thanks for writing.

When your Glowforge is properly set up, you may have some harmless odor during printing which will rapidly dissipate. You may also smell something when you open the Glowforge lid after a print is complete. This is not harmful.

However, if you detect a strong, sharp smell that also causes eyes, nose, or throat irritation, or if there is visible smoke escaping while the lid is closed, shut off your Glowforge unit immediately. Smoke and fumes could be entering the room in excessive concentrations.

We’ve created a troubleshooting guide with illustrations. You can see it here:

If you’re still seeing or smelling excessive smoke or fumes when using Proofgrade materials, we’re here for you. Email us again and send us:

  1. The name of the material you’re using (You said this was with Draftboard)
  2. A description of where the smoke/fumes are coming from: the door, lid, or hose
  3. When you smell the fumes: during the print or after it has completed
  4. Photos of your Glowforge and your exhaust system

This all has already been discussed and pictures sent. Don’t send me form letters and expect me to believe your product is amazing. I’m less than thrilled at this point-this machine is brand new, has printed maybe 7 cuts and it set off the fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector.

I sure appreciate the information from chris1, rpegg, Jules- lots more info from you then from Support. I’ve discussed the issue and sent pics to the online helper and they said a more knowledgeable person would be in touch. The material was Draftboard, the smoke was just in the air there was no one specific area that smoke was pouring out from, the smell was when the draft board was being engraved, pics have already been sent.

thank you

Perhaps the issue here is that you have multiple support tickets open. You have at least a support ticket open with the online chat, and also one opened through the forum. Did you email also?

It is possible. I sent an online chat and responded to an email from GF. It appears that the 2 have been combined. Thanks!

The problem has been resolved!


Lots of people search before posting - what was the solution? It might help someone in the future if they have the same problem. :slight_smile:


I’m glad you resolved it! I’m going to close this thread. If you run into any other trouble, please start a new topic, or email us at We’re here to help!