Filter not filtering as well as it should

I have the GF filter connected, and I have made approx. 7 small projects for practice and about four bigger projects. I use the recommended wood supplied through the Glowforge catalog.

I was working on a small sign and the smoke began to poor out of all the cracks on the GF.
I have the filter turned to max and it is barley drawing smoke. I would hate to think that a $250 filter has such a short life span.

Are there any recommendation to get it back to full capacity?


What is “recommended”?

If it was Draftboard, that’s the fastest way to fill up the filter.

Have you opened it to look at the cartridge? Support will want to see a picture of that.


I have been using the medium maple predominantly and I have only used the Draftboard once for a practice run when I first received my GF.

A visual inspection will tell you if it’s full. Meanwhile, here are specs on filter lifespan.

At $1,000 for the filter system and $250 for replacement filters, it would have been nice to see a lifespan estimate for various material uses. So a consumer can make a an educated choice before purchasing the filter system.

The top of the filter is a light brown, the bottom is still white, your thought please?

Per prior P&S posts it should only be on max if it needs to be - too much draw will weaken it. So turn it down to the middle, see if it works. If you’re still seeing smoke try turning it up just a little and see if that helps - if you try that and make it all the way back to max update this post and let 'em know!

Also, in case it got missed, for the greatest filter life they suggest you run the filter fan after the job for as long as the job was (so 2 minute job = 2 minute fan after the GF is done/ 2 hour job = 2 hour fan after the GF is done / etc.)

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There is some info on the life span of a filter in the FAQ-

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The Medium Maple Ply is about half MDF and eats filters. I have used a furniture fitting on a vacuum on that brown to fair effect and a washable prefilter before the gunk gets to the expensive filter is a really useful thing you can find in a grocery store for room ACs

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I’m so sorry to hear about the trouble with the Compact Filter. When your Glowforge and Compact Filter are properly set up, you may have some harmless odor during printing which will rapidly dissipate. You may also smell something when you open the Glowforge lid after a print is complete. This is not harmful.

However, if you notice a strong, unpleasant or irritating odor when printing, or see smoke, shut off your Glowforge unit immediately. Smoke and fumes could be entering the room in excessive concentrations.

We’ve created a troubleshooting guide with illustrations. You can see it here:

Would you mind posting a photo of the top of the filter cartridge?

  1. Turn off and unplug your Compact Filter
    The power switch is located on the back, next to the cord. Turn it off first, then unplug it from the wall.
  2. Open Compact Filter
    There are four latches holding the top of the Compact Filter in place. Lift the bottom of all four latches to release them.
  3. Take a picture
    Without removing it, take a picture of the top of the cartridge seated in the Compact Filter and post it on this thread.

Thank you for taking the time to post this photo. We will take a look and follow up with your next steps.

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from you, so I’m going to close this thread. If you are still having trouble, please start a new one or email us at