Issues with smoke / fumes leaking out of the case instead of drawn out by fan

When I am cutting and engraving my Glow forge leaks a lot of the smoke through all of the cracks of the machine instead of being drawn out by the fan. I have taken to using painters tape on all of the seams for the doors on the machine. How can I fix this another way than using painters tape on my machine?

  • The hose out of the back of the machine is clear and not blocked.
  • PS I only use proof grade materials

Also related, the little blower fan on the cutting head doesn’t seem to quench the flames that crop up from my cutting projects. please help!

you should not have to use tape. Sounds to me like you are due for a thorough cleaning of the exhaust fan and of the air assist fan.

Cleaning the exhaust fan:

Cleaning the air assist:


If your machine has clogged to this point you might find it difficult to get it moving enough air to keep it from leaking. I had that problem and installed this blower in the exhaust line. It is not strong enough to work without the main exhaust working but it can provide significant assistance enough to keep it from leaking out the lid etc.

You do not want the head fan to slow down as the flame ignited smoke can both keep the beam from cutting as deeply but damage parts near the head. by pulling in the heated air mess up the fan more. I used a shop vac to pull air through the fan as I doused it with alcohol hand sanitizer which dissolved the gunk and left the air pulling through while the Glowforge was off till every possible trace of the cleaner had evaporated.

You also need to make sure that no unshielded magnets have fields that intersect the head and fan area as that too can cause problems.


Yes, this!
I’ve had that happen before, and it’s always the fan on the back of the machine is just about clogged shut. A little time with a small paint brush and a shop vac, you’re back in business!


The GF isn’t air-tight becasue it’s suppose to create a vacuum and pull in air when it’s running. I don’t know for sure that taping it up will hurt anything, but at the very least it shouldn’t be necessary. Having smoke come out of the lid is a sure sign the fan isn’t working correctly likely becasue it’s really dirty. Hopefully a good cleaning clears it up for you!

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When your Glowforge is 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 detect a strong, sharp smell that also causes eyes, nose, or throat irritation, or if there is visible smoke escaping while the lid is closed, 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

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