Glowforge not venting into air filter

I purchased a Glowforge plus along with the Glowforge Air filter. I connected the two together using the venting hose and clips provided. I had heard that there could still be a smell so I placed the machine and the air filter next to an open window. I have only cut one thing, it was a small design I created on the clear proofgrade acrylic sent along with the glow forge. I ensured that both machines were plugged in and turned on. I did not see any “smoke” outside of either machine but the fumes were so bad that it triggered asthma attacks for everyone inside my 1400 sq ft home. This can not be normal. While I am new to Glowforge, I am not new to working with laser cutters or acrylic and so I am confused as to what has gone wrong.

I am fully willing to take responsibility if the issue is because of my own human error but I am new to Glowforge and very inexperienced so please be kind with your words. I am just looking for possible places I may have made a mistake or some kind of workaround to make using this machine safer. I purchased it simply because I have no way to access the machine at my university until the fall and I am expected to keep working throughout the summer. The Glowforge was supposed to be my way to do that as well as the transition over once I had graduated to helping me and my business.

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When a design is loaded into the bed there is a menu across the top, click on the three vertical dots and there is a switch to throw if you are connected to the filter. Did you find that? There is also a fan speed control on the filter itself.

Oh, and Welcome to the forum!

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Also, if you have a window right there, consider just venting out the window will save you a lot of money on replacement filters. I’d save the filter for stinky things like acrylic and leather.


I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve hit this snag.

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:

If you’re still seeing or smelling excessive smoke or fumes when using Proofgrade materials, we’re here for you. Email us again and send us:

  1. The name of the material you’re using

  2. A description of where the smoke/fumes are coming from: the door, lid, or hose

  3. When you smell the fumes: during the print or after it has completed

  4. Photos of your Glowforge and your exhaust system

As @PrintToLaser pointed out, you may need to ensure that the Compact Filter option is toggled inside of the Glowforge App. @geek2nurse is also correct, if its possible to ventilate outside, this may increase the lifespan of the filter cartridge, and allow you to utilize it for specific prints.

I’d also like to review the exhaust configuration and components on your Glowforge, to see if anything needs adjusting. Could you send me a few photos of your exhaust system? Specifically, please include pictures of the following:

  1. The exhaust fan from the inside of the unit. To capture this photo:

  2. Turn your Glowforge off

  3. Open the lid

  4. Using both hands, gently pull the printer arm towards you as shown below:

  5. Move your phone or camera inside the Glowforge on the left-hand side, past the metal rail, pointed away from you towards the exhaust hose, to capture a photo like the one below:

  6. A photo of where your exhaust hose attaches to the Glowforge, where your exhaust hose exits the room, and the path your exhaust hose takes from your Glowforge to the exterior vent or Compact Filter

  7. The exhaust connection on the back of your Glowforge, with the exhaust hose removed:

  8. Any area where you see smoke escaping from your Glowforge while printing

I hope this information helps! We’ll send over some additional steps if we see anything out of place with your exhaust configuration.


My worry about venting direct outside is that my workspace is directly over the outdoor space where my children (the aforementioned asthmatics play) Wouldn’t that cause particulates to fall down to the ground or is it only releasing fumes? If it’s only fumes this could be the most viable option.

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I’ve read this and it make sense but it will take me a little time to get all of those images for you. I’ll post the images as soon as I can take them. Most likely later on tonight or first thing in the morning.

@PrintToLaser The Glowforge Air Filter Attached button is toggled to the right showing a blue bar to the left of it. If I am correct, that means the feature is active, yes?

I’m not really able to give you an absolute answer, but I’ve never seen particulates except when I had a fire. I have mild asthma, and it’s never bothered me except when my vent hose got disconnected and was venting into the room.


I appreciate you taking the time to do so! I’ll make sure we keep the thread open until you’ve had time to post the photos, and we’ve reviewed them.

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That is good to know @geek2nurse. I will be working almost exclusively with acrylic so this is important to figure out. I don’t know of any other way to cut acrylic myself without investing in a CNC cutter which isn’t as precise or a water jet cutter which is a problem I don’t want.

I’m going to go eat and then see if I can get the images @MarcM requested and see if we can’t figure this out. I appreciate all of you for working to help me with this.

I would still use it for acrylic. But I wouldn’t use it for draftboard or PG plywoods without a compelling reason, because the MDF in those will clog it in short order. :slight_smile:

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You mentioned it would vent right over your children’s play space, may I ask how far over? 5 feet, one floor, two? I’m going to let you get opinions from others (and I have never had a child with asthma), but I’m still thinking you would be safer having it vented out the window, likely using an external fan (such as the Cloudline 6"). And could you also maybe just run it just when they are not playing right underneath?

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@Pearl The window is about 10/12 feet above where the children play on the second floor.

@MarcM Here are the images I was able to take. Please let me know if you need other views.

Have you turned up the filter? I’ll try to find a post to help you. I don’t have a filter myself but I have seen several posts regarding this.

Here is a post that might be helpful:

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@Pearl I had the filter set at new since this was the first time I had ever used the Glowforge or the filter. I will definitely up the fan setting next time. I did make sure the Air filter button was toggled. That was brought up earlier by @PrintToLaser so I guess it’s a common mistake. I wish this issue was that easy to fix.

I’m hoping that @MarcM will have a miracle cure now that I’ve submitted images. I’m hoping it’s the kind of thing that I simply overlooked. I don’t feel comfortable using it again until I have this issue worked out you know?

Definitely try turning it up. You should be able to hear it and if the hose is not connected you’ll feel a rush of air coming out of it. Hook it back up and try a test cut.


Thank you for taking the time to send over these images. Based on the photos, your exhaust configuration appears to be correct, and your exhaust fan is properly cleaned.

I’d like to make sure that the settings for your Compact Filter are correct. The knob on the Compact Filter controls the power to the fan. If the power is too high or too low, your filter will not work properly. I’d like to make sure it’s turned to the right setting.

  1. What setting is the knob on your Compact Filter turned to?
  2. If it’s currently on “New,” would you turn it to use the middle setting, halfway between “New” and “Full” and let us know if that eliminates the smoke and fumes while you print?

Let us know how it goes!

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As the air is slightly heated and there is almost always some air movement, if you cut the smokiest MDF and sent it out the window you might be hard put to see it 20 feet away, and hard to detect 10 feet below. And cutting late when they are not about difficult to detect that you ever used it. I am very sensitive that even kitchen odors cause a problem, but was very surprised how much less the external exhaust caused a problem even exhausting into the carport.

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email

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