My filter does not seem to work!

Hi, I just got my glowforge last week, and after spending 1000 dollars on a compact filter so I didn’t have to vent outside I am super disappointed and don’t know what’s going on. I started it on really low like the instructions said and there was just still smoke everywhere… building up inside the machine and coming out of it too. I turned it up a little and still, I’m having to open the window and blow a fan out the window to get the excess smoke. I feel like I’ve wasted 1000 dollars, and I can NOT afford to do that. I turned it on in the settings, and I have the hoses hooked up as shown. I just feel like it works only minimally. am I missing something obvious?

Did you throw the switch in the Glowforge interface that turns down the exhaust fan speed? (Inside the Settings icon.)

the one that says “compact filter attached”? yes I did

Okay, then you might have a problem with the Exhaust setup. The fan in the filter might not be drawing strongly enough. It needs to suck the air and smoke out of the machine through the hose.

Remove the hose and check to make sure the fan grate on the back of the machine is not clogged. If it is, vacuum it, and brush it thoroughly. Then reconnect the hose to the machine and the filter.

You shouldn’t have any buildup of smoke in the machine. If that starts to happen it can be an indicator that the filter is filled up and needs to be replaced. But check the exhaust setup first. That can also commonly clog.

How long have you had the filter and what have you been cutting? (Draftboard/MDF will fill up a filter ten times faster than hardwoods and acrylic.)


When I got mine, there was a packet of desiccant that would fit right inside that 4" intake on the compact filter. I pulled it out and set it on the filter box. You might want to check that it didn’t fall in there and is currently giggling that it didn’t get thrown away. Just as a note, it is a beast, but does fill up quick if you are burning draftboard [particle board, MDF, HDF]. Some actually purchase an in-line pre-filter which grabs the bulk of particles while the compact filter gets to focus on gasses. At $250/filter for the CF, it might be wise do to the same. Particularly if you are budget conscious.


Won’t lie. I chuckled. No giggling though.


I’m not GF’s tech support, but I’d turn that thing up until its sucking everything out of the cabinet. I don’t have to turn it up much beyond maybe 10% though. It’s also pretty obvious that its running and sucking if you disconnect the hose and throw a cat at the opening from a distance… (don’t do that).


If you disconnect the hose from the filter unit and turn it on can you feel any suction?


Actually, when I first received my Compact Filter it didn’t seem to be working for me either. So I shut it down and re-seated the filter cartridge inside the machine, then fired it up again. Then it was like a wind tunnel! So give that a try.


My filter played dead late last night, I had to jiggle the power cord. I’ll be watching that now. Kinda bummer.

Still under warranty? Send it back, sounds like an electrical problem.

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literallly have had it a week! cutting plywood mostly.

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the dessicant was just lying on top of the filter. am I supposed to leave it there? I took it off for now, but even on HIGH the filter without the tube has very little suction

reseated it twice, but it still isn’t anywhere NEAR a “wind tunnel”, minimal suction

You were right to take the dessicant out. Did you pull the filter cartridge and then put it back in? It may not be seated correctly. Also check to make sure there’s nothing under it.

yes, I did this twice :frowning: … didn’t make a difference. nothing under it.

  1. Disconnect the hose from the filter at that end.
  2. Take out the cartridge and set it aside.
  3. Slowly turn the speed dial up on the front of the machine while watching the fan inside the box, from off to medium, then to high power, then back down to medium, then off …if you can shoot a short video of it with sound that would probably be even better.
  4. Don’t drop anything in there while the fan is running.
  5. Examine the bottom of the cartridge. There should be a clean black foam gasket running all the way around the bottom without crimps or holes. The color on the bottom of the filter should be a nice clean white. (Under the grid.)
  6. Take a picture of anything that looks odd or doesn’t match these descriptions so that support can try to figure out what’s going on with it.
  7. (All of this assumes you have checked the fan at the Glowforge exhaust and made sure there isn’t anything blocking the port or the tube. For the tube, make sure there are no tight bends in it, anything over 90° bend is going to restrict airflow. You want the tube to be as short as possible without looping, so you can tape it on the outside to keep the accordion pleats together if needed. Aluminum tape works, or you can cut it down. )

first of all, is this how the back filter is supposed to look(on the back of the glowforge)

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Yep, looks good. How does the hose run between that and the filter? Is it a short run with no loops or kinks?

yes, I think it meets the parameters…

the bottom is not currently connected of course. but it just connects right there under the desk