My venting setup, and quest to remove odor and noise

After Thanksgiving, I was running my :glowforge: running quite a bit for about 3 weeks. Roughly 3-4 hours per day during the week, and 8 hours a day on the weekend! It got quite the workout!

My wife really noticed the odor, and wasn’t too fond of the noise. My basement started smelling very strong, especially when I cut a lot of PG draftboard. I did some research here in the forums in an attempt to quiet things down, and also reduce the odor as much as possible. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve done, in case anyone else is in a similar situation. Pictures of my venting setup below.

But first, a little more about my setup. My glowforge s currently under a basement window, on the side of the basement where my furnace is. I am still holding out hope for a filter in the next 2-3 months, so I haven’t yet cut an additional vent into my house exterior. I am venting it out of one of those basement tilt windows. I have tall ceilings in the basement, so I had to use about 10ft of hose to get it out the window. There are also at least 2 90 degreeish turns- one right in the back of the unit, and one where it goes into the window.

At first, I just cobbled together two sections of the 8ft dryer vent hose, along with a “quick connect” attachment that I found at my local Menards (similar to a Home Depot if you’ve never heard of it). This seemed to work OK, but both noise and the odor were noticeable. I needed the quick connect, because I don’t leave it connected when I’m not using it- as the basement window is actually open. In order to keep the exhaust from blowing back in, I also bought a plastic window well and drilled it with a 4" hole saw. I ended up eventually taping it (masking tape to siding, and duct tape to concrete) so no air could get back in. This also has a nice side benefit of keeping the cold air out in the winter. I’ve left it open on days under 20 F and you can’t really even tell the window is open.

Anyway, I eventually changed out the 8ft flexible duct to an insulated plastic flexible duct. This was mainly because I wanted to reduce the noise of the unit. It did seem to reduce it, but not as much as I was hoping.

Today I added a booster fan. It was on sale from Amazon for $27 so I figured, why not. It claims to have a CFM of around 195, but I don’t think it’s really that strong. I put it near the top of the window, to help boost it past the second 90 degree bend.

Out of anything I’ve done, adding the booster fan seems to have made the best improvement for the odor. At this point, I feel like I’ve taken it about as far as I can go. Hopefully I can live with this setup for a little longer until the air filter is available.

Here are links to what I am using, in case anyone else is interested.

Vivosun 4" fan - $27:

R6 Insulated Flexible Duct 4"x10’ ($11):

Window well cover: $15


Curious. Looks like a great rig except for one item.
Is that vent exit really looking up? If so it will just be a rain bucket.
I am hoping it is just an illusion and trick of angles.

And yeah, that is a very high ceiling for a cellar. Should make things easy of you ever decide to make it a den instead of a workshop.

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Thanks! It’s a bit of an illusion, but it is slightly angled. Luckily there is a bit of an overhang on the roof, and so far no water issues. Something else that helps is that the vent pipe also goes higher where the window well is and dips back down before it connects to the outside vent.

I have a fairly sizeable workshop on the other side (not pictured) where I eventually want to move the Gf. But it doesn’t really have easy access to a window so I’m waiting for the filter. In the mean time I think this setup should be fine. Gonna run a few more pieces later this weekend after things settle down from Christmas festivities. I got a few boards of black walnut I can’t wait to try. (Hoping Santa brings a planer… they are currently about 3/8 inch!)

Really think that is necessary now that you have an great venting rig?
Just saying, because once I solved my venting problems the filter was not needed anymore.

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The main reason for me to get the filter is just so I can easily move it over to the other side of the basement. But you definitely have a good point. Having a good venting system is probably better than a filter in general, no filters t change out and certainly is cheaper. Maybe I could figure out a way to add some PVC pipe to another spot closer to my workshop that could also work with venting out that same window.

Moving the vent to the other side of the house alone will be huge help, since it’s so close now to the air intake for your furnace, you are drawing the exhaust back in and running through the furnace and distributing throughout your house.

More useful than a filter with such a long run, get motorized in-line booster (someone posted a thread a while ago with some ideas). With such a long run, the GF can’t push the exhaust that far, and it starts failing to exhaust…

And likely once you get the booster for the long run for the vent, and get it far away from the furnace intake, likely the noise will go down since the loading/stress on the fan is gone–as that is what produces most of the noise.

And with such a long vertical section–make sure you almost have a “j” trap so solids blown out the exhaust have a place to go and not getting stuck in the fan or the GF, and don’t forget to clean this “trap” routinely. Odds are will all of that, you won’t need a filter at all.

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I’ve got a similar setup (lower ceilings though) but I removed the window and replaced it with a plywood/foam insulation sandwich that I cut my vent hole through. I also put the Vivosun fan in my run - but I siliconed all the seams and taped (foil HVAC tape) all the connections.

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I was using the Vivosun when the main fan on the Glowforge died but it did not make up the needed volume so there was still a lot of smoke, The Blue Whale that I got before the Glowforge first arrived was able to make up the difference just cleaning the air in the room. I think that having at least somewhat warm air going vertically up the tube is helping,


Yeah I could see where that might be an issue if your fan isn’t working. I don’t have a way I’d officially measuring the CFM on the Vibosun. But it’s definirely less than the GF. When I watch the flap of my vent on the outside, it lifts up about 3/4 of what it does when the GF is running the fan. Despite this, so far so good, and it seems to give the venting that extra boost it needs. If my GF fan goes out, I don’t think it would be that difficult to replace since I am running a Plus. Have you thought about replacing yours? Or are you running the Pro?


Does the Vivosun booster have a switch or do you just plug it in each time you’re running the GF?

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I was running a Pro, but alas it has flown back to the mothership and left me in withdrawal mode. I could manage the smoke but it also developed a tic of not working at all so instead of sending it back after the Christmas rush it left early and took a week just to get it out the door so it has been a while already. I do wish they had made the fan modular that you could remove it out the back, The Novec turned the gum into a brick and while I managed to chip it out and free the fan some wire must have been damaged so it may have worked some, mostly it did not, The Vivosun did manage to spin the dead fan when hooked up and worked as long as the amount of smoke was minor, but cutting through most stuff was like dropping in a smoke bomb and the smoke went everywhere.

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nice job. it looks like you may have one weakness there: multiple connections. and it looks like you’re using standard duct tape on them. if you’re still getting odors, i would suggest switching to the aluminum HVAC tape. better seal.


I would try working with the 3/8 Walnut. There are some materials that will turn to a black mess if you try to cut 1/2 inch but fortunately Black Walnut is not one of those. I even did a deep engrave in 3/8 Walnut that left less than an eighth of an inch thick in the background,

It doesn’t have a switch, I just plug it in when I’m going to use it. My outlet is right above the glowforge and it’s on a dedicated 15A circuit, only the GF is running on it. The fan draws around 30 watts so hardly any load. It would be easy to add a switch, and I may do that at some point. The cord is also pretty short and barely reaches to the outlet in my setup.

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Thanks! I do have some aluminum tape somewhere but I couldn’t find it when I sealed it up. Good idea, and I’ll have to do that if I notice any more issues.

Thanks for the tip on Walnut! I will have to try it with 3/8. I really would like it to work. Santa also brought me enough gift cards so I’m going to try out a WEN planer, seemed to be a good budget option. It should come in handy for future projects as well.

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I hauled out my test strips that I make of every new wood:
(the engrave is 340 LPI at double the speed) the numbers a light engrave and thus you have a collection of all the woods you have without losing too much. most woods will make a mess at the 100 but half inch Walnut did not, and just about made it through in a single pass. the 3/8 cut clean at 100 and almost at 120 so I would run this at 110 to cut, but I put up the SVG so you can do your own tests

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I have found that the Vivosun also clogs with the gunk in the smoke, I keep an eye out for plastic containers with a 4 inch diameter and have found many, A strip of foam tape makes a good seal and makes removal of the hose for cleaning a snap.

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I hauled out my test strips that I make of every new wood:

That is very helpful info! Thanks for sharing it. I like your svg cut test, that is awesome. This will be great for me to expedite my testing, especially as I get new wood. I found someone selling pallet wood for $4 a pallet near by, with no minimum purchase… May try to do some experimentation. Also, I keep a pretty detailed spreadsheet when I do testing, but I usually just do it one pass at a time.

most woods will make a mess at the 100 but half inch Walnut did not

That has been my experience as well! I once went down to 100 to cut some Hickory, and it really singed it. I would not have thought it would work well for Walnut, so thanks for suggesting that. I’ll try at 110 as you suggest

Thanks again!

I have found that the Vivosun also clogs with the gunk in the smoke

I was wondering about that. Makes sense that you’d want to periodically clean it, just like the GF fan. I was thinking about designing a gasket to go on the outside made out of TPU as well, but I’m not sure if it would seal up tight enough. I like the foam tape idea. I have some of that laying around and may try it. Something else I might do is just buy an extra Vivosun fan so I can easily swap them out, and then clean when needed.

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