Fan is making an odd grinding sound at start and end of cycle, and is very loud

I am having an issue with the fan making a grinding sound at start and end of cycle, and being very loud during operation.

The volume of and amount of grinding at the end seems to be related to the length of cut.

I have been servicing the machine as directed, as well as cleaning and maintaining the fan and duct (keeping them clear of detritus, vacuuming thoroughly both one a week).

Recently, cuts have been getting worse and the smoke level in the machine has been increasing.

What should I do?

Included is a small video showing off the exceptional volume and the grinding sound (which is brief as the job was a fast one) and showing off some of the non-cutting issues (which on long jobs has cost me whole sheets from nothing being actually cut out all the way), esp on proofgrade draftboard and proofgrade maple ply.

Cant wait for some guidance. We LOVE this machine and have so many future projects to do! (Video linked as the video is about 2 min long to show off the entire process)

To me that sounds fine and looks good. but I’ll let others weigh in.
It appeared devoid of any smoke when you opened it and I’m not really hearing any grinding sounds, but these are so loud it’s hard to hear much in the vide.

Clean the exhaust fan and check that you have a clear duct from the fan to the outside vent.


What @ben1 said. I bet you have junk stuck in there that isn’t stopping the fan but does touch the blade.


@Jules has a great write up on cleaning the fan.
Caution: Dirty Pictures....or...How I Cleaned the Exhaust Fan 🤔


Mine was with the same problem!

I bought a non flamable degreaser and GF support switched the fan remotely with the lid open so I could spray it in it! Since then it’s a sharm machine again! :ok_hand:t2: Nothing to worry!

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Well it is def way louder at operating and and much smokier inside while operating. Also a lot more failures to cut all the way.

That said, I have seen the directions on how to clean the exhaust fan. AMAZING good write up. Once the GF people tell me that’s what I should do I will (don’t want to ruin my warranty).

Good to hear about the de-greaser!

I used the recommended degreaser but was not able to stay on top of it due to disability issues. As a result the next day after all the degreaser had evaporated what was left was a hard frozen mass that was like ice.

After several days I managed to break it up and clear out all the broken pieces (it was very brittle)and finally got the fan able to move freely but now it will not turn on at all.

I am trying not to send it back to Seattle just yet so for about $25 I got another 200 cfm fan to do that job outside the Glowforge. I finally have it all hooked up and ready yo test but now I cannot raise the GFUI to do so.

What degreaser did you use? I have been trying to clean my fan with a 50/50 vinegar water mixture, and not had much luck.

3M - Novec Electronic Degreaser.

I Live in UK and i’ve ordered and came from Poland!

It’s quite big bottle but I think it is expensive! Around 35£


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I would be careful with it beyond the noted warnings. I used it and did not get it all out thinking it would evaporate. Well it did evaporate but as there were still a lot of dissolved solids, when the novec evaporated it left the rest as a single solid that locked up the fan good! (not a good thing)
by the time i chiseled it out and freed up the fan it didn’t work at all. I don’t know if I burned it up or broke a connection, but I have a temporary in line fan in the ductwork doing its job and not better. It moves the smoke through but I still need the blue whale to eat up residuals

Maybe I was just lucky as mine since I did it it’s like brand new!

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Thanks so much for sharing that video, @castman1. As others have mentioned in this thread, we have a method you can use to clean your fan, but since it requires a bit of coordination I’ll be following up by email to sort of the details. I’m going to close this thread, but you’ll receive an email message shortly.

@rbtdanforth, I want to let you know we’ve received your email as well, and I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We’re looking into it now, and we sincerely appreciate your patience.

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