Effective Print Head Fan Cleaning

Hi, I have just cleaned the lens etc in the print head and noticed that the little ‘purge fan’ in there was quite gunked up. Can anyone recommend the most effective way of cleaning this? I thought about compression air but I don’t want to blow bits further in to the workings inside. Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.

I’ve removed the mirror and the lens, and then used a little rocket blower, which gets it pretty clean and allows it to fall through to the tray surface (I put a piece of material there to catch it all).


i get that frequently and have a process where I hook up the vacuum cleaner to a C-Pap hose that is soft rubber bud holds up to a minor vacuum. Placed at the exit it holds on like a lamprey and I squirt alcohol hand cleaner in the fan where it dissolves all the gunk on the blades as well as on the bearings and other places where it interferes with the fan.

then the vacuum cleaner is left to pull air through the fan for a half hour or so while the Glowforge is not powered up at all so when I do power it up all traces of the hand cleaner are gone, as is most of the gunk.

This is not the recommended procedure, and might violate the warranty, but I have already received the replacement that I have not gotten the gumption to replace it with. However I think that build up is a large factor on several places particularly fans.

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Be careful not to run either of the fans while they are hooked up to the GF. Unplug them if you are going to force them to spin or you run the risk of back-loading the driver module and blowing it out.

I use compressed air, holding the fan blade with a finger so it won’t spin.
Once the exhaust grill had gotten so blocked that smoke had been blown through the head (that lens purge fan draws its air from inside) and the entire lens bore, mirror and the inside of the head window had debris on it.
I took out the lens, the mirror, and unscrewed the window. Air followed by a Q-tip to swab out the head bores, cleaned everything and reassembled it all. No problems.

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Except for perhaps this post:

There are many people who have external fans force the GF fans to spin. No one has had problems yet. Maybe doesn’t mean they won’t - but so far so good.


I have let the fans spin for hours and not had that issue. It did not occur to me that it would be an issue and after such treatment, it is almost as good as new except that the fan is all bubbly from overheating, so not quite as good as new, but kicks out a better stream than I thought it would, (i suspect that the ?bubbly" also builds up goop faster than if it wasnt)

I’m so sorry for the delay in my response. Thank you so much for your patience.

We recommend using canned air as follows to clean the fan on the Printer Head:

  1. Turn off your Glowforge.

  2. Grasp the printer head as shown, and pull gently up and back to disengage the magnets and remove it.

  3. Use the “Install” end of the lens tool to push the lens all the way to the top of the head. This will reveal the inside of the fan.

  4. Use the canned air to blow the dust away from both sides of the fan until it’s clean.

  5. Clean the Printer Head Lens according to the instructions.

  6. Review instructions for snapping in your printer head, then put the head back on.

Let me know how it goes!

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It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email support@glowforge.com.