New Glowforge Question

This is more of a question than a problem. I’ve just received my glowforge and I’m really excited to get started but also a little nervous. Can anyone tell me if they’ve used their glowforge in an apartment setting. After looking at some reviews I’m afraid it might be too loud for apartment living and im also afraid that it might trigger the smoke alarms and sprinklers. The apartment is only temporary for a few months while we find a more permanent home but im anxious to get started…

It’s about as loud as a vacuum cleaner when the exhaust fan is running.

If you’re venting out a window so the fumes/smoke can’t get back inside, there’s no chance of setting off a smoke detector.


I use mine in a row house and haven’t had any issues with either - though keep in mind that acrylic smells pretty bad so maybe stick with wood for this first month :slight_smile: If you’re on a top floor you can set up a chimney with an in-line fan to blow the smoke up…


welcome, I agree it’s not loud, I add vent fans to move the smell smoke away my spouse doesnt like the smell and this helps.


I run mine in a condo and haven’t had any complaints or issues. I vent out a second story window and usually only run it at night to prevent neighbors from complaining about any visible smoke.

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I use my plus in an apartment/Duplex setting. It is vented pretty solidly out the side window, and is as far away from neighbors as it can be. Since I placed this new one last week, I’ve not had any issues. So far, I’ve not experienced it being any louder than, say, a vacuum, and I’ve also not had any smoke issues(as compared to our pro, which smokes a LOT more by comparison.)

I might be a little more hesitant to use this in a setting where i have people above or below me, but so far, I haven’t found that it has created much of a nuisance.

It really depends on how soundproof your apartment is overall. It’s slightly louder than the average vacuum clean and significantly more high pitched. Unless you are running it late at night or for long periods of time I wouldn’t expect your neighbors to complain.

If you are venting near their bedroom window that is a different story and they may complain about the smell.

Mine runs around ~83 dBA, some others have report upper 80’s. Rember that the difference between 80 dBA and 90 dBA, 10 dBA, is twice the perceived volume.

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Also worth mentioning that sound (waves) is subject to the inverse square law. I see a lot of (relatively speaking) people measuring with whatever meter right up against the machine exhaust. Unless one is sitting right there with their ear to the machine…


Annoyance is relative not just about dBA. The one time I found myself in a crowded apartment house it was the middle floor at the end. To the side was a couple with a tendency to argue and often ran their loud vacuum at all hours. Above was a young woman with a creaky bed and a taste for men she found under rocks that the relationship might last a month. Guess which neighbor was more annoying.


100% agree with @jbmanning5. Just do not believe people when people say it is “quiet” and be mindful of your neighbors when using it.

  • Our Glowforge is by a window.
  • The neighbors’ bedrooms are 14 feet away across a driveway with a clear line of sight.
  • Glass is terrible for sound blocking.

If I measure 82 dBA at the window, 2 feet from the Glowforge they will hear ~63 dBA in their bedroom.

I would double-check your zoning, however, we are allowed to have 60 dBA to reach the receiving property, neighbors house, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Outside of those hours its only 50 dBA. They are probably within their right to file a noise complaint when we use it at night time, however, since we are friendly with them it has been fine.

@rbtdanforth is also 100% correct, annoyance is relative. A loud restaurant is “louder” than a Glowforge, however, the Glowforge is a high pitched sound in a generally quiet area.

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My neighbors are 20 feet away as well and the exhaust goes out the window. I also run the Blu-Dri during and after to scavenge up what smoke and smells escape and only slightly lower dBA than the Glowforge but in both cases it is a white noise that does not travel much. The walls are thinner than the average apartment however by sound or smell it is hard to tell from outside when the Glowforge is running, and the neighbors often create more smoke from their cigarettes.

One thing I have noticed is that the space between tends to allow air to move up and down the space far easier than across it and only no wind at all allows the smoke to cross the distance in either direction.

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I can agree on the physics of this, but I have a reflection anomaly.
Nobody is close enough to be bothered by my machine noise and it dims out to a murmur after about 10 or 15 feet.
Except… I was out with the dog and about 80-100 foot away. The road ends in my driveway, so the exhaust is going to the left, not towards me.
There is a sweet spot there that you can hear the machine very well (the high pitched element). Move close, far, left, right and it goes away.
I have stood out there for way more time than is justified trying to figure out how it is reflecting in that direction (or more importantly, that specific point). No joy.

Good place to share a beer and ponder the weirdness of the world.


Thank you to everyone who replied. I unboxed my glowforge last night and gave it a test run and was pleasantly surprised. The noise was not bad at all, actually kind of relaxing for me as I really like white noise. With the compact filter there was no smell either so im excited to start making things!

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Just a reminder…read the filter manual…Don’t cut the draftboard that came with your order, it will clog the filter!

Enjoy! :slightly_smiling_face:


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