Meet Ig0R - The Deconstruction of a Glowforge Filter

so I know quantities*

We all talk and speculate… but no one DOES and documents.
seems to be my bailiwick


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I do love the other filters for a pre-filter though!

Catch the nasty glue/sap residue before it hits the expensive filter.

hmm $60 for The 15 lbs (well 13.5) needed

**As promised… **

I decided it was time to dissect a Glowforge filter, and just see what that $250.00 buys us!

Box 14 3/4 “ x 9” x 9” deep

Stage one - 13.5 lbs charcoal

Stage two – thin filter to prevent charcoal dust

Stage three – 1” paper filter (fanfold)

Stage four - 2.5” paper filter

Stage five – Thin filter

Everything is silicone into place, all joints are silicone

All edges, filters are glued into place with silicon

Pictures of the case:



I used a drill / tap to remove all rivets and tap the case so I can replace the rivets with small flathead screws (for future cleaning / filter swaps)

I then used a thin bladed scraper to break the silicon seal around the seams of the case

Once removed, replace the filters / charcoal – re assemble, use screws to reseal unit.


‘parts’ Costs will be done in a future post (soon)

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AND the repack

Take a scissors and cut 2 - 9" pieces (you should end up with 4 using both sheets)

I added in each filter flipped so the cardboard would layer the lower opening
to give a better seal between layers (use three cut pieces total)

What it looks like in the filter Cartridge

And WHAT it costs me!

add 3 - bags of 5 lbs of carbon for $60 from amazon.
screw the thing back together. DONE!

[Legal disclaimer]
There is no guarantee that this works as well, or better then an official Glowforge filter cartridge, But then again, we have no guarantee how well those work either :stuck_out_tongue:


The problem I had was that only the outer atomic layer of the activated carbon is used and “activated” only means that most of that layer is not already “used” and thus the smaller the piece the greater the surface to volume ratio and thus a dense “fiber” charcoal could have more surface than a pile of charcoal gravel.

I had not realized that Glowforge used the gravel method rather than fiber :thinking: You could add some screening and fill that exhaust gatherer with charcoal and take care of any smell and with a bit of redesign not even need an external filter at all. With that much extra volume the filter could be built-in :grin:

The Blu-Dri filters are all zigzagged sheets and certainly pricier than what you have there but from what I have read the most expensive part (the HEPA filter) outlasts several of each of the others.


Thinking on the HEPA filters. When the first one clogs the rest do not matter :thinking:

Hmmm A couple of these . . .


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I would watch out for “Better than HEPA, at large particles” meaning lots bigger holes that don’t stop “small particles” instead of “does not match HEPA standards” that is what makes HEPA filters expensive.

That would make them good prefilters but not HEPA that would get rid of the tiniest bits (like micro sharp glass dust? Like volcano dust though much smaller quantity.) Charcoal of the same quality would work better the greater the volume, but with prefilters or HEPA, they are only able to work by the square surface area. And in each case no matter how many layers, only the first layer counts.

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its finding them in the right size, more that fit is worth less that filter better… (imho)

Drilling / Tapping / replacing Rivets!
I drilled out the rivets and tapped them with a #10-24" tap, (next time I should go smaller)
here is what the filter looks like assembled with screws replacing the rivets.

And the revised filter cart back in the filter.


I started rebuilding iG0R - buying filters from Home depot and Amazon

I will list all parts and what they cost in the next post,
I purchased these mesh pond bags, on Amazon

To hold the 13.5 lbs of carbon, instead of dealing with pouring it in, and vacuuming it out
it makes it easier to manage


That seems brilliant! Does the bag allow the air to bypass the filter process though? (Going around the edges?)

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not at all, this is a marine charcoal bag for a pond, the .00002% loss is well worth the convenience


Can’t wait to see the final results!

I feel like there’s a way to hack a filter that might be super helpful for me! :smiley:

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Glad to help!
the layout is (so far)
13.5 lbs charcoal ($60)
HEPA filter ($15)
home depot filters (2 of em) ($25)
sticking it to ‘the man’ : PRICELESS



full disclosure, I hadda buy 4 -HEPA’s for that price

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Do you have any rough idea at all yet of how long it might last before you need to switch out filters/charcoal?

I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, so I have no idea. I am using it to mostly etch glass, so no real sticky gooey, wood or acrylic smoke - so I am ASSUMING (all caps) the filter will last longer then most, – but really and truly there is no scientific data on this one.

I think for the $100 'gamble" you should try it, and see its still a hella cheaper then plunking down $250


I don’t have the GF filter though. So I’d need to hack that part, too. :smiley:

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