Loud, Vibrating Exhaust Fan

So my exhaust grate and fan blades were showing a lot of dust and debris accumulated after a month of regular use, cutting and engraving wood. Yesterday I gave the fan and grate a cleaning with canned air and shop vac. Once I fired the machine back up and sent a job, it was immediately clear that something was wrong. As the laser started working and the fan fired up to full speed, it was now much louder and vibrating the glowforge, easily felt by hand on the back left corner.

I submitted a help ticket with support and am awaiting reply. But in the meantime, I’m curious if anyone has figured out a way to lubricate the fan with machine oil? I don’t see an easy way to get into the fan housing, but I hate to have to send the entire machine back to California for maintenance if it’s as simple as extracting and lubricating the fan.

Haven’t looked at the Pre-Release fan to clean it. It’s all taped up and no sense in doing it since I will soon have my own unit. So these are just guesses.

Could the grill have been pushed into the fan during cleaning?
Could the cleaning have left more material on some blades than the others causing an imbalance?

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Just a wild guess but it is possible that you missed a tiny bit of debris on the fan blade. Fan wobble would be noticed by vibration and even noise if the buildup is chunky.

Good question to ponder from this.
What wood types have the most debris build up?

It is important with a chimney, and apparently it will be with Glowforge also.

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I don’t think those fans are meant to be serviced, and are permanently sealed. An imbalance was my first thought too.

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I’d be very surprised if that fan was intended to have oil on any part. Parts that get dusty are typically not made to use lubricants since the the lube traps debris and gets gooey.


It’s really unfortunate that the fan is not accessible. It would be nice to get in there to give it a good cleaning, and to replace it when it wears out.


This is essentially what made me wonder. The spindle is clearly separated from the blades to protect it from dust, and to keep the greased bearings isolated.


Could very well be. Tonight I’ll take apart my vent setup again to try spraying out each of the blades individually… Then fire it back up and see if there’s any noticeable difference.

Do NOT lubricate the fan. It is almost certainly a sealed bearing. The vibration is likely either because the fan is off balance or rubbing something like the grate or a wire. You can get a good look at it if you some a flashlight in from the top of the unit, towards the rear left hand side of the interior. I would resolve this before running the unit anymore a you can easily ruin a fan running it in this state.

There have been a couple of people posting about packets of lens wipes hiding in their machines. Is it possible that something migrated over by the fan?

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Always possible, though hard to see in there. I suppose I could wave my phone around and try to video the far corners. I actually found this screw sitting on top of the fan housing yesterday before cleaning, and for the life of me couldn’t find a similar one anywhere in the machine. But since the noise and vibration started after cleaning, I was hopeful it was unrelated.

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I’m guessing that that was an extra standoff that the assembler dropped in your machine and couldn’t find again so just got another. Either that or red loctite doesn’t work like its supposed to.


That is used to secure the controller board in place. The black plastic cover that goes over the top then screws to those standoffs.

If the counterpart screw is floating around in there somewhere, it could be a major concern.


I see you already emailed us about this and we’re working on it there, so I’m going to close this topic.