It was time

I’ve had my Glowforge for 3.7 years, and I don’t think I’ve cleaned my exhaust fan more than once or twice in that time. (Admittedly I’m not a super heavy user.) But I knew it was time when on my last wood cut there were puffs of smoke coming out the front of the lid.

I avoid doing the cleaning since I’ve got everything taped down tight with metal tape and I have to peel all that off to get at the fan (I have a Pro, so cleaning from the front doesn’t work too well).

Finally got the hose off and this is what it looked like:

I swear, I did not Glowforge any cats. Our cats are not even allowed in the Glowforge room. But where did all those hairy fibers come from?

It was a 2 hour job requiring multiple tools and a borescope. I forgot to take an after photo, but trust me, it looked a LOT better. I also cleaned the interior, especially around the front door that was caked with gummy soot. What really made me feel good was that I got it all started up afterwards without any errors.

Now I need to worry about the air assist fan. I have never even looked at it. I figure, I’ll wait until it tells me it needs it.


That was, indeed, a hairy job. I just cleaned mine last week and had avoided it because of all the aluminum tape. Unlike you, however I removed the carriage plate and gave the air assist fan a pretty good clean (didn’t remove the fan entirely).

In a few years, when you do this again, you can share the after photo.


Congratulations! Job well done. I can only imagine that the cat hairs traveled into the room on your clothing or something. I’m like you…not a big power user and more acrylic, tiles, etc. than wood. I’ve given my exhaust fan only a cursory cleaning in 4 years…and only that because it seemed like “I should”. Same with my air assist. My exhaust fan is surprisingly clean for the amount of time I’ve had my machine. I still get that nagging feeling though…that I should do what you just did, too. :grimacing:


I have to clean my regularly, because my dog and cat are always shedding and no matter how hard we try to avoid it, the hair is everywhere. My dog sheds heavily year round and no amount of groomer trips and brushing seems to help. And my cat’s favorite lounging spot is the top of the Glowforge (I’m just happy he stays off the kitchen counters, so I’m not going to stop him).

Once, I had just finished cleaning everything and my machine was still throwing an error. When something is clogged and air isn’t moving the way it should, I get a cooling down message.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was left to clean…This is how I learned where the air intake was (not where I had thought it was apparently). I looked at it while we were moving the Glowforge to a new surface, and I had a very thick blanket of animal hair woven nicely at the air intake.

So now I have to make sure the exhaust vent and the intake is hair free before usage. And I often have a hairy mess in the exhaust.


Oh wow! Guess I’d better check those intakes!


He’s a GOOD BOY!


That is amazing. I wonder if it will work for my dog. His undercoat is so fine and it gets tangled in his top coat, which is also soft. Actually, my dog reminds me of the penguin from happy feet. He always has this fluff on his legs that never comes out.


Good tip. I wouldn’t have thought of checking that, either.

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Whew! Glad you got it dealt with. What a job on the Pros. :frowning:

I dare say it is time for me to do mine again also.


I don’t think those are cat hairs. I believe it’s likely acrylic or other plastic fibers spun out of burning acrylic. Possibly some wood fibers released when you cut or engraved some very grainy wood as well.

I’ve seen those in lasers where there were no animals in the building, ever.


I think my air assist fan has finally come due. Stuff isn’t cutting through and I’ve cleaned everything else. I’ve been putting it off for weeks. :frowning: I should probably check the exhaust fan, too.

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Wow! And what a great idea!

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