How do you possibly clean this machine thoroughly?

Yall I am trying to thoroughly clean my Glowforge. All the things said in the manual seem to totally skip over the majority of the small parts. I don’t use my machine every day, or even every week. I’ve had it 2-3 years now and there are places I just haven’t thought to clean because the manual makes it seem like “you don’t have to clean that” but it looks like a damn warzone in there and that just doesn’t seem like good advice.

I have a lot of anxiety because it seems like this company is a bit hands off with if you damage pieces by accident. There are so many little crevices, parts that do not detach and why the hell did they build these machines with this white composite matte finish bumpy material that you can never wipe a dark smear off of? Why not a glossy plastic? It’s so much harder to clean when every bit of dust clings to it.

Things like the cartridge in front of the heat sink, the exhaust fan, the track on the left side and inside and under they’re just coated with funk. Canned air seems stupid even when it’s just moving the dust around in this tight space.

I’m really surprised to not have found a topic discussing this not sure if I’m missing something.

I wish the sides of the machines opened up so you could actually see what you’re doing and even fit a little shop vac attachment in. I wish the honey comb piece could come off so I could really clean that exhaust fan.

Does anyone have any experience or techniques they’d share?

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It’s not discussed much because it’s unnecessary. Everything that needs to be cleaned is documented in the support section.

As you’ve opened a support ticket by posting here, that’s pretty much what support is likely to say.


It seems like bad oversight to not recommend an actual doable method for cleaning the exhaust fan or to make it so difficult I just don’t buy it not being necessary.

My Glowforge begins to smell bad, like burnt wood the minute I turn it on. I imagine because there’s still tons of the small parts still coated with resins and other wood particles in my machine even after I’ve cleaned everything recommended in the manual.

I am finding threads now where people have outside of the warranty taken it upon themselves to open their machines up for cleaning and have removed the grill for cleaning the fan. Really shouldn’t have to be that way to maintain this machine but perhaps it’s what I’ll end up having to do.

I’d refrain from putting any such plans in writing in an official support ticket, since it would not only void your warranty, but might also prevent being able to get repairs even after the warranty period has ended. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Having had it for two or three years kind of removes the warranty part and I presume they have a Pro as otherwise, the removal of the fan and/or the exhaust honeycomb is much easier. That said, there are many activities that are not considered user-accessible because they do take considerable skill even if there were step by step instructions.

There are some things like cutting out the bottom that could get them to walk away, but several folk have taken fence cutters to that hex screen and replaced the fans. There has been some discussion from folk who have done so @PrintToLaser was the first and perhaps the most experience detailing the issue but it was a basic that is not good on a pro.

Still, while the exhaust fan clogging up is an issue that affects operations, it could pile up in drifts in much of the rest without affecting operations.

The crumb tray can be removed entirely and cleaned as you would a barbecue grill without taking the crumb tray apart, and I have used the hand sanitizer for general wiping down to the point I had a gallon of it about before everyone was trying to find it.

In addition, I attached a used C -Pap hose to my small shop vac that gives me a thinner longer more flexible intake with a soft rubber end I can squeeze into areas like the head fan shroud to suck out the excess dirty hand sanitizer shot in to clean that fan, and keep it running until all the excess has evaporated

Sounds a lot like the crud produced when cutting acrylic, Hand sanitizer can do an amazing job in the most obvious places. Just make sure you have let it evaporate completely before turning the machine on again.


I cut almost entirely MDF/Draftboard and it is a messy, gunky material.

I wish I had started cleaning my crumb tray regularly from the beginning because I can’t clean it now.
I’ve tried pressure washer, washing machine, simple green 48 hour soak, blowtorch, drilling, even the laser.

I’m one of those that took out the fan and grill for a bigger external fan - at least that cleaning job is over.

But, yes I agree with you, it’s not designed to be cleaned - and part of me says that’s OK - treat it like a workshop tool. But part of me says, no it’s supposed to be a nice looking piece of equipment you can keep in your home.

I noticed the makerbot (?) laser - which is a GF knock-off - has boxed in the laser tube and some of the mechanical bits. Makes them easy to clean.

Also, someone suggested putting tape over some of the worst places - like the doors. Then you can just replace the tape every now and then without deep cleaning.

But honestly, I think there are few little design decisions that could be better:

  1. The exhaust fan and grill - both for cleaning but also for noise
  2. Not being able to easily remove the two top covers left and right
  3. Not covering the electronics next to the black cable and the cable issue itself

To be fair, you only learn about somethings when the kit has been used for a couple of years. I wouldn’t say they made the wrong decision at the time, but with benefit of hindsight would be better done differently.

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I used a wire brush only this morning and where some of the holes in the tray were almost closed they are now fully open even with the remaining dirt.

One of the reasons I started using hand cleaner was because it was thick and stick longer to surfaces. It has become a much scarcer commodity recently but in a bowl you could dip the wire brush in you might do an amazing job


Yep, done the wire brush, in every individual hole but haven’t got the patience to do all 234 million of them. :slight_smile:

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Wow! you must have a bigger crumb tray than I have ever seen 13 sq feet?


Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I’m going to continue to try stuff with all of this in mind. Still is really frustrating. I really think there’s no denying keeping the machine clean will help it have a longer life and they made it so difficult.

VENT: There are lots of little catches with the way Glowforge informed customers about these products. Like the fact that The Air filter option was so attractive but when I received the email that it was coming it explained it didn’t recommend it’s use with wood. UM OK?! Thanks for letting me know after you’ve had my $1,000 for 3 years. Luckily it does filter the acrylic smell well and I use that a lot too. But then again I heard a beep last night when I turned it off after smells also became apparent again and doesn’t that mean it’s time to change the $250 dollar filter?! I am thinking the Filter is a huge pilfering by Glowforge. Are you kidding me? I’ve been running this thing maybe once a week since March and not even that often. Not sustainable if you’re trying to make money selling your art and not simply Live Laugh Love signs. $250 is more than I spend on materials in 6 months or more.

CLEANING THE TRAY: So I hosed out my tray with soap and water yesterday and I actually set it level saturated with a mixture of hot water and this product called “PURO CAFF” a white powder. It’s kind of this miracle cleaner used in Espresso Machines and coffee parts. It also removes all kinds of streaks from porcelain. I think it actually did a really good job cleaning scum off the silver part of the tray without even scrubbing. Worth a shot!

I think next time I will submerge the crumb tray entirely in a plastic tub with the Puro Caff solution for a soak!

Making a filter(cabinet included) on ones own can be much cheaper but, buying one of any style is rather expensive. It’s why a cheap dust filter for central in a house can be 1.50$ but the same size one that comes in a cardboard frame and filters dust, pollens, smells, and many other claims, will cost 15$.

This means it’s time to turn the knob to the right. If it’s already cranked all the way to the right then it’s time to change the filter.

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Yeah it’s pretty cranked all the way. I’m in huge frustration mode because I’ve only been using it very sparingly for less than 3 full months.

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