Glowforge's dirty secret

So all the cleaning instructions ignore the crumb tray.

My tray gets gunked up with sticky black residue. I have to disassemble the tray and give it a deep clean fairly regularly or I’ll start to get that black residue on my materials when I cut/engrave.

How often does everyone else do deep tray cleans?


haven’t yet hehe. but needs it for sure.

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Cleaned the tray on a pre-production unit 3 years ago. Have had my production unit for more than two years and never bothered.


It just starts rubbing off? I’ve never done a deep clean… :flushed:

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i’ve never even done a shallow clean. i probably don’t even dump out the detritus as often as i should.


That would be me. I only dump it when I take out the tray and plop it down on the floor the wrong way. Then I curse and drag out the vacuum :roll_eyes:


pretty much. i pulled it out to do a guitar body on Tuesday and “oops.” all over the floor.


Depending on what you cut, all the little gubbins can be smelly…

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oh yeah. and tiny. and get stuck in the crappy carpet in my office.


I did it once, but without disassembly - it took forever to dry because water kept getting caught up.

I wonder if something like this would help with your residue issue:


Ahh. Maybe? It’s stuck on pretty hard.

I disassemble it and stack it in soapy hot water, scrub it with a nylon brush to dislodge junk. then rinse use a high speed blower to knock the bulk of the water out.

Set it up somewhere warm with a fan on it to finish the drying process… it’s amazing how much crap comes off the tray.


I was getting quite a lot of build up and hit it with the steel brush for cleaning grills and knocked off most of it, Now the top of the grill is shiny there and easier to see in the GFUI,


Never cleaned mine in over 2 1/2 years…but then I’m not a power user, either.


I cut a lot of MDF/draftboard, so mine gets really mucky, I’ve tried all sorts of things and not really had much success. I have tried:

  1. Dish washer
  2. Hand scrubbing
  3. Pushing dowel through every hole
  4. Deep soak in simple green
  5. Power washer
  6. WD degreaser
  7. Blowtorch
  8. Just lasering the darn stuff

In the end I just disassembled it and flipped the tray over. Hopefully get another year out of it before I just have to surrender and buy a new tray (mind it will cost a fortune to get it sent to the UK)

I was checking the head fan and so set the speed slow so I had time to watch and min power and just the first inch of the tray and it cleaned it pretty good though that was not my aim,

If you are going to that extreme, if you have just the screen in a shallow tray with enough alcohol that will dissolve what simple green will not, It even cleaned this…

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That’s interesting. I have good success but the process is a bit of a pain. I just use warm water and dish soap, the junk dissolves very quickly. The brush knocks the residue off (there are lots of solids).

Once it dried, I tapped it and a whole bunch more solid material flaked off.

I wonder is the mdf residue is just that much worse? I cut a lot of BB ply and hardwoods. This residue was almost all caused by plywood, I’ve been doing a lot of cutting lately.

I noticed you didn’t say you tried ammonia. It seems to really cut smoke residue, I wonder if it would get through your buildup?

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If I’m using non-PG material, I typically add transfer paper to the back if the material can be marred, so I guess I haven’t noticed anything.

I don’t have any good advice so I’ll offer some bad advice as a public service to the people offering good advice so their advice looks better:

I recommend doing a 20 zoom 100 pew engrave directly onto the entire surface of the bare tray, which will vaporize any buildup you have there.
Spray lightly with Fabreez afterward for that Spring Clean scent.


I think MDF / Draftboard is pretty gunky compared to ply and hardwoods

Never. I use a small shop vac to remove the detritus that falls through the grid, but that’s it.

Dan once told me that they never clean them at the mothership.