Glowforge is loud



I would think some minimal Beta Testing. For all we know that could be happening now, or not for a while. Wouldn’t surprise me that because the units would have limited or no user controls/options that PRU testing might be skipped entirely.

If I remember correctly the filters also have internal fans or their own.


When I got to check out a real-life Glowforge it seemed to be quieter than my Trotec Speedy 100.


The vacuum cleaner comparison is fair, but I don’t run my vacuum cleaner for hours on end. Maybe that’s why I am a bachelor.


The Glowforge is loud in a smaller room when you are trying to talk to other people. It’s something that I had to learn in the years leading up to getting one that there would be noise, but until I got it, I didn’t know what the effect would be.

Finding resonant surfaces and dampening them help. I had mine on a metal cart and when I put an anti-fatigue mat under the Glowforge, it helped dampen the sound, but the cart itself still resonates a little and adds to the whine. If I need to concentrate, I wear ear plugs or headphones since it can be a distraction. If there are people in the room, we can adapt or we can move to another room, it depends. For me it is just over the threshold of unpleasant and annoying.

I have wrapped the exhaust hose in an insulation tube, but haven’t set that up for this one. It makes a difference.


I am not sure how people can say “not bad” to the loudness of this thing. It’s absolutely atrocious for something that was marketed at being in the kitchen cutting chocolate for the kids…

For those in the IT world: It sounds just like an old HP DL380/580 (pick your generation) at full throttle. When it’s running, it sounds like you’re in a datacenter. There is nothing pleasant about it.

I am hopeful that there will be an option to disable the internal fan so long as an external (read: much larger & quiter) fan is connected. I have several for my other laser units already that I’d like to use.


I guess it’s an expectation thing. It’s a tool. Even in your kitchen example I’d suggest it’s no louder than my Vitamix or KitchenAid mixer. It’s not substantially different than my 3D printers.

It is not as loud as other lasers. It fits into the sound profile of office equipment.

Your expectations don’t match the class of device you’ve got. You’ll also find that the fan is not the predominant source of noise. The stepper motors are likely that. You can muffle the fan noise as it reverberates through the exhaust hose (lots of posts on how to do that and how well it works) and you can also muffle the whole thing by building an enclosure like @Clone did.

It’s unrealistic to expect GF to allow their fan to be disabled so you can put some other fan inline somewhere and “take care of” exhaust and cooling. You might be able to mod it (and void the warranty) but I’d bet there’s a sensor checking their fan and it simply won’t run.

At the end of the day, this is not a laser printer equivalent in sound and not likely ever will be.


Yes, I find the marketing of the Glowforge doesn’t match the reality of the noise levels. As you note, the marketing video suggests a Glowforge could be used in a kitchen or in a shared office. Perhaps even something that would be appropriate in a K-12 school library.

But it really isn’t appropriate in a room where other people are working or reading. And it might be even noisier when paired with the filter unit.

So I’m fine with the noise when using it my own workshop. But I was hoping it could be used in a shared room in my school makerspace.


It doesn’t match reality at all.


My expectation was that the smallest, and least capable laser engraver/cutter that I have would also be the quietest. I have two other laser engravers/cutters prior to Glowforge: one a floor standing 80W, and the other a desktop 60W. Glowforge is, by far, the most annoyingly loud one. Why? Because it is inside of my home, and not in the garage. The Glowforge was not marketed as a shop tool, it was marketed like a Cricut machine.

Pure decibel level might be equivalent (I haven’t measured it yet), but the pitch/whine of this thing is awful. I should record what it sounds like and offer it up - maybe mine is defective? Comparing it to a KitchenAid mixer is not even close. Comparing to a blender making smoothie from frozen berries and ice, the Glowforge IS quieter/less annoying. Comparing to a vacuum cleaner running is probably the closest, but I believe my Glowforge is louder.

I’ll grab the dB meter later today and compare my 80W w/Chiller to my GF.


That’s not a realistic expectation.

My smallest laser is a 4W LED laser. It’s a toy. It’s also the quietest. By your test the GF noise level is fine. It is not louder than the Redsail but is louder (& more powerful) than the 4W so it meets your test. But it’s an entirely arbitrary test. There’s no difference in the sound level between a 60W and 100W Redsail. The tube power is irrelevant.

Whether the expectations set by marketing in terms of how loud it “should” be is a matter of how you interpreted that marketing. That’s an entirely different thing. You may well be justified in your expectations - at least for you. Others have looked at the same marketing and have different less critical expectations. You have a valid gripe to make with GF that they encouraged an expectation of sound levels you don’t experience by showing it as a home and kitchen appliance. You can start a new topic in Problems & Support and you’ll get an official response from GF.

But I expect your options will remain the same. They’re not going to be making hardware changes required to make it quieter (if possible). So, you muffle it yourself, move it to a different space or sell it.


It is a matter of perception, but I can carry on a conversation in a normal voice with it running.
Drea mentioned room acoustics, which can be a big factor.


I do suspect that quite a bit of it is perception. I do expect to measure the volume, but I’m already satisfied that it is likely to be no louder than my vacuum. That is a tolerable volume around here, I’m pretty sure. But I will surround it with noise dampening panels, if I need to. How loud it is happens to be a matter I’m not overly concerned about.


You’ve extracted one sentence without the explanation as to Why. It’s not an unrealistic expectation based on the marketing, and video evidence of it running… running totally and completely silent, I might add ::slight_smile:

If someone advertises a new 240VAC generator and shows it running in your kitchen with a magical CO filter, you’re going to assume that it isn’t deafening. Don’t get started on the word assume.

There is also the simple fact that some people are less annoyed by high-pitched, loud droning sounds. If you can read just fine while a housekeeper is running a vacuum cleaner all around you, then you might just be fine with the GF.

Room acoustic references are totally valid - the room my GF is in DOES echo quite a bit, so that is a fair critique of my situation - and something I’ve been meaning to address for some time now. Surely, that will help. As far as surrounding it with an enclosure/panels/etc: that’s for industrial equipment, to me… not the gorgeous Glowforge. The design/aesthetics of the GF are absolutely destroyed by that idea…

I have my dB meter in my hand. I’ll compare the GF to a Dyson vacuum and report back.


Running my dB meter comes between 68 and 74. My vacuum is louder. My coffee grinder, inside a sealed and padded box, is louder. It cannot be heard outside my apartment, and I can have music or other going while printing. That’s good enough for me. I probably will still take steps to dampen the sound some, but its not terrible.


This has all been covered before. With measurements and suggestions on how to dampen.


The cats are a little nervous around it, because it is something entirely new, but they are about as afraid of the :glowforge: as they are of the vacuum, and I’ve had to pick them up and move them out of the way while vacuuming, because they don’t move for it.


Most excellent! Thanks for linking that. I just did a quick test of wrapping the aluminum ducting with a blanket and it made a huge difference on pitch.

I’ll definitely take the time to focus on the ducting for dampening the sound. As a followup edit: I do admit that I missed the exhaust dampening statement @jamesdhatch earlier in the thread. He did point me in the right direction… it fell on deaf ears, though… not sure why I couldn’t hear it :slight_smile:



You can buy pre-wrapped 4" flexy hose at Home Depot. It’s $17 for a 12ft section but you can cut it down.

It’s called Insulated Flexible Duct R6 Silver Jacket. The hose is contained in a silver wrapped fiberglass sleeve so you don’t have to be taping up a franken-hose.


Thanks. I used something similar for my R2D2-style air conditioners in the garage, but 6" variety. Will pick some up tomorrow and give it a shot.


After all the effort I put into connecting, taping, taping, and taping my duct, I’m loathe to disconnect it. I wonder if I could buy that, slice the sleeve off, and retrofit it onto my existing semi-rigid.