Filter - does it *need* to be on the floor?

I’ve had my compact filter for a little over a month and it’s beeping @ the highest level. It’s sitting next to my machine, rather than on the floor. I’m wondering, does it make a difference to be on the floor? I took it out to attempt to clean it and noticed the bottom was still white.
As I type this out, it seems obvious…


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Hello! I moved my filter to the floor… and it doesn’t seem to be doing much of anything.
How much pressure / suction should I expected from this compact filter?

The bottom of the filter is still white so I highly doubt it’s 100% capacity. I read the other posts and realized MDF is terrible for the filter… wish I had known that! I went ahead and bit the bullet and bought another cartridge… only a month after having my machine. (yes, it’s normal but i’m still sad about it)

Sorry I didn’t spot your post sooner. Yes, MDF / draftboard is terrible for the filter.

This Filter Life FAQ is a pretty useful reference to see how various materials will impact the filter life.

In terms of filter placement I think the main thing to avoid is lots of twists and turns in your exhaust pipe. With no bends that are more than 90 degrees. There are some details along these lines on page 13 of the install manual

I’ve seen references to something between 250-300 CFM (cubic feet per minute) as the air flow rate in other forums posts.

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Also have you been leaving your filter on after each laser job? The manual encourage leaving the filter on after each job. Leaving it run for a few hours now, might help you get a bit more life out of it.

From page 17 of the manual…

When your print is done, leave your Glowforge Air Filter running.
Running air through your Glowforge Air Filter will prolong the life of the cartridge. For best
results, leave it running one minute for each minute that you print. For example, when you finish
two 30-minute prints, leave it running for an hour after they finish.

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not necessarily every print, but there’s been times where i’ve accidentally left it on overnight
Is there a way to visually see if it’s full? how much suction should I get from the fan? It just doesn’t seem to be working that well.

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If the smoke coming off your laser cutter is moving reasonaily swiftly toward the exhaust on the back left, then you should be fine. Also if the room doesn’t smell of strong smokey, burned or chemical odors, you are also likely got enough suction going on still.

One trick I’ve seen others use… “lit an incense stick to see if the air in the room is being sucked into the machine. It seems to be fine.”

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@Cora, might just be my connection. I couldn’t get the video you posted to play.

No, not the connection…the video isn’t a supported format.

Sorry here’s the link

No dice.

Even without seeing the video, if smoke is coming out the front of the Glowforge unit then there is definitely not enough suction at present. While your filter is full, do you have any option for venting outside temporarily so you can keep laser cutting a bit?

I live in New York City, so it’s not an option at all for me. So completely understand it not being an option. The filter is an absolute must in many urban and city settings.


O yes, that final link / video did work. Yeh looks like your suction is pretty low.

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Yea it’s pretty low. So it’s donezo? Even if I run the filter for a few hours idk if it would help. Might just vent out the window til my new filter comes

I think its worth running it for a few hours to see if you can get a bit more out of it. But yeh might need to head out the window for a bit if that doesn’t help.

Just in case… the speed dial on the front filter is all the way past full?

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If you can safely vent out of a window, that’s by far going to be the best choice. Maybe save the filter for particularly strong smelling materials or days when the weather is awful. You’re going to just continue to blow through those filters.


Thanks for the help @ashley.

@Cora please let us know if you’re still having any trouble when the new cartridge arrives.


New cartridge works great!

For funs - here’s brand new vs NEEDS REPLACEMENT :slight_smile:

New (interesting i think i got a newer model… notice the handles)

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Thank you for the update. I’m glad to hear that the new cartridge is working well! I’m going to close this thread. If you run into trouble again, or have any questions, please post a new topic here on the forum or email us at and we’ll be happy to help.