Glowforge and rent

I am living in an apartment. The use of my Glowforge create concerns and negative reaction to it. What defense could I say about :

  • Fire safety and insurance
  • Noise
  • Smell
  • Visual disturbances ( the vent)

And up to what point compromise is too far? (I know it both depends on use and neighbors and the law but at this point, except totally stopping using it, I don’t know any options left)

The filter might help with some of the issues, although that can be expensive. But it does cut down on a lot of emissions related gripes.

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I am on the third floor and there are no windows near… And the worst is that it is coming now when I am trying to produce earsavers … PS ( I am currently furious with no solution, and it is not a great place for me to be.

Did they hit you with a letter from the building owner? Or is there a tennants association?

Not exactly, it is a condominium and I am the only tennant. All others are owners. I have done many adjustment to be acceptable and thoughtful of others but the same whiny… Lady, comes back again and again, with all reasons possible. I honestly don’t know how she can hear or smell it from the first floor. But in any case I am building my case to defend my stance. Even if I have absolutely no recourse has a tennant vs them.

Yeah, I’ve met the type a few times. I don’t envy your situation, for sure.

There have been a few discussions in the past about it, you might try doing a search to see if you can find it. (And try to get a copy of your rental agreement or any articles for the condos to see if it is strictly prohibited. That might be your best insurance.)

But maybe you could first try sitting down with her and showing her how it works, and answer any questions she may have. If she’s determined to be a pill about it, there’s not much else you can do.



If you are within the terms, they have no grounds for complaint.


The problem is that they change the building rules on the fly to include it if needed. For example, I am producing since Monday earsavers. Around 390 produced from my scraps and remaining stock, well that they consider “commercial enterprise” and is prohibited. I wanted to vent out this winter without loosing heat to the open window (Quebec city is cold) so I fashion a non destructive insulated vent hole for a window, well she finds it ugly so it must go. (I can see draps that are uglier that this) and I could go on. But I am at a lost to what extend I must yield to avoid an all out ban. But it sure feels like a “not in my backyard” situation.

In most condominiums there is a social resentment against folks who rent their apartments out and more against the ones renting, so there is little that can change her attitude. I would make an effort to find a thing she would like, and value that you could make on the Glowforge. Someone who acts like that expects the reaction they usually get and don’t know what to do with kindness.


I feel your pain. I am an owner in a condo and I don’t have it much better. I had my vent in the window for one session and got a complaint about an AC window unit. I have since restricted using the machine to night only. As far as commercial enterprise, if you aren’t getting money from it, or advertising a service, you aren’t a commercial enterprise. If anyone gives you crap about it, you are making these parts as donations for those who need them.


I would suggest you present a work of art to her produced on the laser, with the acknowledgment that your work may have been an annoyance to her, but that it is for her tolerance that you can do wonderful things like this… and ask if she has an idea that you could make real for her.

You might be surprised at the cooperation that could be had if the concerened individulas are invested in the process.


Which they complained at first (not allowed for esthetics) but I changed the design so that the window was still there and opened and closed, just the vent was directly behind it with the insulation board.

I have since restricted using the machine to night only.

They would complain about the noise :not amused:

As far as commercial enterprise, if you aren’t getting money from it, or advertising a service, you aren’t a commercial enterprise. If anyone gives you crap about it, you are making these parts as donations for those who need them.

They don’t care, it doesn’t affect them, it is far from them, only a nuisance, they are not in danger, why should they suffer my machine for others :expressionless: (I am a bit exaggerating, but not that much, lot of bad faith and “not in my backyard”)

I did think of bribes like that, but I am concerned it may be too little too late / or again the not in my backyard. They also are afraid of what the neighbours will say.

So ya, I am still furious, so not a good moment to think, I will first try to have the approval and support of my landlord, than I will try the informative, showy and bribe route. Thanks all for the support.

The worst is I took that apartment specifically to have my “workshop” at home in a specific room.


If all else fails… She could have a tragic boating accident. :rofl:

This post is a work of comedy and in no way is myself endorsing taking the person out to a lake and fabricating an accident. I hereby disavow all knowledge of such if it indeed happens.


One about 4 miles into the ocean. Don’t want any repercussions you know :wink:


I prefer freak fencing (with swords) and lasering (with…well laser) accident

(this is humour, I am ready to just stop lasercuting to keep the peace I will do it, begrundingly and actively searching a new apartment, but I would.)

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Since I am in Quebec city, ocean is quite far. Being lost in a forest up north is more… achievable.

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In all seriousness, explaining to her that you are producing something for charitable donation to assist corona virus belabored health care providers might make her look…unreasonable…given the circumstances.


If you get one of the higher powered (~300 cfm)vivosun blowers you can turn off the exhaust fan in the Glowforge and nobody will know it is running, Mine often runs 24/7 because I don’t notice and turn it off.


It sounds like you’ve already taken steps to mitigate the impact of your hobby and the visibility of your equipment. I see this same problem happen with my friends in amateur radio. who often have to resort to using “stealth” antennas to avoid drawing attention to their legally (and constitutionally) protected activities.

You may or may not be “in the right” to use your GF in your apartment, but that will depend on the terms of your lease, the terms of the condo association rules, and the possibility that they will amend their rules in reaction to a dispute. The condo association is likely to favor an owner over a renter.

So your real problem is to convince your neighbor to accept what you are doing. I might start by making a small gift for your neighbor(s) on the GF and having a friendly (!!!) conversation with her. You will be trying to accomplish two things here: make a personal connection with your neighbor, and introduce her the good side of laser cutting.

If that goes well, maybe offer to make something specific for her, or even offer a demonstration of the unit if she seems to appreciate the gift. If your outreach is not well received, you are hopefully no worse off than you are today.

Ultimately, you have a human, not a legal problem.

Good luck!


Lots of good advice has already come your way, but I hope you’re able to work it out.

I don’t see how a couple of hours of producing goods for donation in the middle of a pandemic constitutes a “commercial enterprise.” Would they have a problem if you were sewing masks?