Filter Longevity

I purchased my glowforge in December and purchased the compact filter…I replaced the filter a month ago and it is already beeping for it to be replaced. Will glowforge come out with a filter that will last longer than a month? Who wants to keep replacing a filter at $200ish dollars every month. They need to come out with one for commercial grade or something. Very discouraging when you pay $1000 for a filter and it’s longevity isn’t that long and then the replacement is not either. Just venting, but really wish they would think about this.

It’s kinda limited by the laws of physics, if you think about it. Filters clog because they’re catching particles. There’s really no way to build a filter that doesn’t clog.


FWIW I get several months out of mine but I cut/engrave almost exclusively Baltic Birch Ply, glass/ceramic tiles and acrylic. Some materials like draftboard/MDF and certain woods make sticky smoke that can clog a filter in just a few hours.


There are commercial grade filters out there. They cost several times the price, as does the filter media. Perhaps you’d get to change it once a year for $1000-$2000 or so.

They thought very hard about this, which is why it took longer to release a filter than the
machine itself.

The filter is a last resort for people who have no alternative.


When it comes to engraving wood, filter life is just not great. You can pretty much predict the life of the filter by the surface area of the filter media. The bigger units tend to be about 50% the cost to run, but expect around $3k for the unit itself. You could get more life out of the filter with pre-filtering the exhaust, but even then you’ll quickly notice a technically “safe” odor that gets worse (this is where the estimates start going wrong). 25-30hrs max is what you can expect on the small filters with wood, even if you can prevent the filter from clogging the smell will be bad at that point unless you have a very well ventilated room. With a $3k unit, that number gets closer to 100hours and filter cost is about 2x glowforge, and the filters are separate so you replace what you need.

The Glowforge filter looks like it’s just a re-branded Full Spectrum 100 small filter (or they both are probably sourced from the same company). Honestly, I wish Glowforge would have innovated more on the filter side and tried to keep the cost down on replacement media. I can’t imagine the solid metal filter cartridge housing is doing us a favor for cost. The cheapest filters (operating cost) keep the metal parts as reusable and only replace just the filter media and carbon. The downside it it’s a bit messier and the companies that currently make those options aren’t sourced in the US and media is hard to order.

The solution I ended up with is one of the $3k units, and then I vent the air from it outside so I can get more life on the carbon filter. I replace the pre-filter ($225 with shipping) every 100ish hours and replace the carbon filter around every 500ish hours ($350 with shipping). The air going out is free of smoke and only has a mild odor that disperses before it would reach any neighbors.


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