I made the portable air filter last 2-3x longer possibly forever

GF is gonna hate me for this lol. We all agree who have the air filter that for $999 and $250 per filter, it should last way longer than it does. Well I got tired of it and today smoke finally started shooting out of the machine (which also confuses me why this machine has such gaps), decided to figure it out myself.
I will say up front for legal purposes “dont try this at home” and/or “do not void your warranty” and generally “dont listen to me” :wink:

I only started taking photos mid way. use a knife to remove the molding of the metal screen, then do the same carefully to get the filter out.
From here your best bet is shaking/tapping this over a trash can, outside or something. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen so I turned it upside down, and tapped it a lot and all this debris started to come out onto the next filter (that was literally untouched).
Vacuum all of that up. You can see in the pics the other side of the filter is completely clean… and the other filter doesnt even get used it seems.
To me this is either a huge design flaw or a way for them to keep getting your money… :smirk:

Again I did not invent/design the thing so do as you wish here, I kept the clean side facing up now, as if it is a new filter, instead of having the dirty side up which is the way it was. I am not sure if this matters, if it was designed a certain way, but currently it is running like BRAND NEW and sucking all the smoke out.
oh, and WEAR A MASK! When doing this haha


For airflow. The air being pushed out the back has to be replaced. That’s what the gaps are for.


Ah, that makes sense

That’s literally how laser filters work (all the junk on one side because it’s large junk) - and they’ve said all along that if you set up a pre-filter it will greatly extend the life of your filter - but breaking it apart to clean it works too…

They’re not going to recommend that because someone will break it when they try to break it and come crying.


They’re not going to recommend that because someone will break it when they try to break it and come crying.

You’d have to be pretty stupid to break apart something and then complain to them that you did it.
I doubt someone would do that but yes, as I as well stated, do at your own risk :slight_smile:


Also, I shouldnt have to purchase another filter on top of a $999 filter.
Especially since the marketing of this filter is ‘portability’

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A pre-filter isn’t another filter, it’s a piece of material that goes into this filter…

I do the pre-filter thing, it does help catch the bigger pieces and they’re easy to rinse out and reuse. They’re only 1/2" thick and drop right on top of the regular filter inside the case (so doesn’t impact portability at all). Costs $15 for several sheets. According to my Amazon history it was these:


Nice I will look into these. GF should promote these or include these in the $999 filter :wink:
With these and cleaning out the filter, you really can make your filter last prob a year or more

Thanks for posting that! A lot of people have been asking since the beginning whether you something like this was possible, but as far as I know, you’re the first to actually do the experiment and document it.

By the way, I’m no expert, but to the best of my knowledge, HEPA filters have to meet some performance specifications and remove particles down to a certain size. There are also some potentially nasty chemicals that come out when you laserize stuff. That’s likely why there are multiple layers, and of course once you’ve modified the thing it you’re on your own for whether it’s still doing the full job. I support people making the decision for themselves if they’re satisfied with the removal of smell and visible smoke.


Activated carbon doesn’t “clog” like a regular filter. The pores in the surface absorb the microscopic particles. That’s why it’s a 2-stage filter, The first prevents larger particles from clogging up the second.

So by the time the first stage has been filled, the second is no longer able to function. You can replace or clean the first stage, but the (potentially harmful) microscopic particles will no longer be filtered out.


The size of the particulate (ash) is large enough to be trapped by the first surface it encounters. It makes perfect sense to clean the face-load off of the filter. As Chris pointed out, no one I’m aware of has pioneered cleaning the filter element, but I do it with my shop-vac frequently. Tap it out and standing upwind use about 40 PSI compressed air to blow it out.
It’s probable that the micron efficiency has been compromised, but If I can’t smell it, I don’t care.


Also great idea to have AIR Purifier near your glowforge and monitor your AIR quality.

I have Dyson Cryptomic, which was $900 with taxes which I purchased before GF.

I forgot to close a window in my room and Dyson alerted me about bed air quality from laser :smiley:

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First the compact filter is a two stage which is the HEPA and then the charcoal filter the later Glowforge filter has a prefilter to collect all the big stuff, If you have the three stage filter, by turning it around your filter is sending all those particles to the next stage. The really expensive part is the HEPA filter and as long as you don’t clog it that is the part expensive to replace.

Many systems have the three filters separated so you only replace the pre filter several times before needing to replace the HEPA. The charcoal filter is not supposed to filter particles at all, but chemical gasses (smells) and it too has a limit as to the amount it will take. If you are only cutting Acrylic that would probably go first It is more expensive that the prefilter but not by a lot. but when it goes you will get the smells even without the dust.

As someone who has put a heavy duty pre-filter in front of the compact filter I can say that you’ll extend the life a bit, but not much. The carbon will be saturated and the stink overwhelming long before the HEPA clogs if you have a decent pre-filter setup / clean the filter like above. Engraving wood I was able to get 50% more life out of the filter, but that still capped at 30 hrs at which point the smell is unbearable. Commercial filters like BOFA will run at about half the cost per hour, but with a $3k upfront cost.

The only way I’ve found to get better than that is with what I’d call a “hybrid” filtering solution. I run it through a BOFA and made a custom setup to vent outside the window after it’s been filtered and pretty much only replace pre-filters. No smoke or anything visible and the carbon can be used a lot longer than it could for a closed room.


Clearly you have never worked in customer service or technical support.


Just ask @jasonmontello :rofl:

As Bill Engvall says, “Here’s your sign.”

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trying this out today! I cut some stinky acrylic and a new filter will start to smell in about a month. just replaced the filter yesterday and put in a sheet of carbon pre-filter today


I went into the GF air filter without a good feeling. When I spoke with the rep, he said you could still get a slight smell and the community reports of a short life, well I didn’t expect much.

After researching, thanks to the GF community, I went with this pre-filter , cutting two to size and placing them on top of the filter to catch the bigger stuff. I found that I needed to clean the pre-filters after each 8 hours of burning (used a vacuum), but my filter is over 90 hours of burning and still going strong with the original $250 filter. I do know the carbon in the filter will eventually fill up and I’ll have to replace it, but if I can get over 100 hours, I feel pretty good about it. Also, I purchased a particle monitor from Banggood ($30) that measures particles at the .5 micron level, so I know I’m clean… And, my wife came down into the basement and approved… no smell. Ha, that’s better than the monitor.

Next week, I’ll have a port installed to run the exhaust outside, but I’ll still be including a 4" carbon filter on that exhaust to do my environmental part… Thanks community and GF!