Exhaust fan

There seem to be a number of people looking for a replacement exhaust fan.
Has there been any movement on this being made available as a spare part ?
In my own case, I’ve found that the rotor will turn on a battery, if it starts from one position, but not another.
With the fan on the outside of the case, I can jury-rig it to work when I need it, but also investigate the built-in electronics to see where the problem lies.
John :upside_down_face:

Google Openglow, you’ll like that community. They have some part numbers including exhaust fans.

As for external fans, lots of people are using them to great effect. Typically the guidance is “about 200 cfm in-line fan type.” Search the forum for external fans, there are some really great setups that people have posted.


Yes, and I do ! But thanks for the shout out. I’d posted here as well, for the benefit of others following similar paths, but you never know who might be ahead, looking back.
Always happy to receive help, as to give it.
John :upside_down_face:


When my fan went out in last November I did not want to send it back right away so got the cheaper Vivosun fan. It was not adequate for when the smoke was heavy but worked much of the time. I think the larger Vivosun fans would do a decent job of substituting for the exhaust, particularly if you remove the built in fan and guard screen that would reduce air flow a lot.


Thanks for the info.
Now building a plywood adapter box to mount the fan to the back of the case, then a first section of pipe to vent outside, via gate.
A short extension cable to connect up to the board socket, and I’ll be good to tet run.
Would have been quicker if I’d had Glowfinger to cut the parts for me, of course !
John :upside_down_face:


I have the fan mounted on the wooden wall…


Thanks for the photo. My set up will be be/is similar, but I have installed an acrylic glazing panel in the lower part of the window frame, with rigid pvc pipe.
This last month, I noticed a build up of condensation on the forge lid overnight, due to the climate here in MS, (I wonder if that was the origin of the problem?) so I’m going to include a ‘gate’ in the vent pipe.
I’m also going to add a short length of flexible pipe to allow me to use the full capacity of my pro.

1 Like

I have flaps at the outer part of the exhaust, and the Glowforge has 18-20 inches available in back. I can also leave the Vivo sun running 24/7 where there are any worries or even drop the exhaust hose for something like a hurricane as it is very much a quick disconnect / reconnect thanks to V-8. The exhaust goes into the carport so any chance of spray is minimal.

Having thought about this for 24 hours, with advice from swmbo, I decided to go ahead and order a replacement from Digi-Key.
With taxes and carriage, the total cost is about $40, and I’ve just had a tracking number, so I’ll post again when it appears.
I’ve opened the fan, ie removed the circlip and slid the rotor off, but complete acess to the pcb is prevented by the construction. I brushed off all the crud that was on the face of the board that I could see, but re-assembled, the fan was still behaving the same.
So nothing possible there then.
John :upside_down_face:

1 Like

All credit to Digi-Key for a 3 day delivery over the weekend.
The new fan has been installed, and tested in place, and works perfectly.
In fact, I suspect that with the removal of the grid, it now produces a more uniform flow.
The installation was a nightmare, to be honest.
It would seem to me that the fan was mounted on the back plate of the internals before the whole lot was lowered into the case. Thus having the case lugs for the heat sink to bolt onto made no difference ! However, it does. If they had had the lugs and bolt holes even 1/4" nearer to the front (1/2" would be doable, and better), re-assembly would have been perfectly straight forward.
It took me about an hour, great patience and some luck, along with a sawn-off allen key, to get the fan bolted on.
John :upside_down_face:


It was probably designed by someone who normally designs how headlamps for installed for cars. Step 1: remove the entire front end of your vehicle. Step 2: under no circumstance damage any of the 32 plastic clips you have to remove that weren’t really designed to ever be removed.

I think they take a professional oath or something.


I would hope in future iterations / versions of the GF that they would do two things.

  1. Move the fan to the center of the unit on the back or to the back right side. Currently it drags the smoke past the laser output window and the input window on the head. This causes both to need frequent cleaning or your get dull cuts (cuts where you need more power to get all the way through on PG mats).

  2. Make the fan a cartridge that can be removed, cleaned or replaced easily.


Number one on my list from early on. It is like it was designed to never need any cleaning.

This was definitely an oversight in the design phase. I doubt glowforge would argue with that.

As regards dragging the smoke past the laser, there was a long thread about it when it was released or during the pre-release phase and iirc there is a technical reason for it. I remember the discussion happening, but nothing else besides “it may seem dumb, but it is because…”

Likely because the inlet fan is near the front-right, and exhaust needs to be diagonally opposite to effectively clear the entire bed area. Flipping this L-R might be better from an optics perspective.

Is a fan already installed in the Glowforge, and if not where do I get one? I didn’t see any on the parts page.

There are three fans in the glowforge, but only the one in the rear, left-hand-side is used to exhaust smoke from the unit. If the path of your exhaust is less than eight feet and contains two or fewer 90 degree bends you don’t have to install your own exhaust fan.

Some people have exhaust hose runs greater than eight feet, or they have more than two bends. These individuals need to add their own exhaust fan. Other people add their own exhaust fan for other reasons. The main one seems to be that it is quieter. If you search the Beyond the Manual section for fan, or exhaust fan, you’ll find hours of reading about what fans are popular and how people install and use them.


Four - two on the head assembly - not that it matters for the purpose of this question.

1 Like

Actually there are four; intake, output, one blowing smoke out of the head,and one behind the head blowing smoke away from the cut. But who’s counting? hmm oops already noted.

I was unaware of the intake fan. Figured the negative pressure of the exhaust fan would allow for enough air intake. Now that I think about it, maybe that is asking too much of the poor exhaust fan.

I couldn’t figure out how eflyguy had two on his head assembly. I have only seen the one. I see he meant the one behind the head assembly along with the one on it.

1 Like