Odor and how much do you notice?

My wife has begun complaining about bad headaches lately and we are wondering if it might be the wood smoke from the GF from my recent cuts.

I have my GF vented outside and the seal feels like it is a good solid seal. However, we have always noticed that the upstairs (GF location) smells like cut wood. I’ve checked the GF and it is level left to right and only slightly off-level from front to back. When you guys/gals are cutting wood, do you notice a smell? There’s no smoke so that’s why I didn’t bother asking before.


I agree with your wife. I frequently get migraines and one contributing factors is strong smells, ie perfume, chemicals, etc. I can’t wait until the Pro Filtration attachment thingy comes in. I remember Jules saying that maple is the most offensive so I am trying to stay away from that. I notice that cutting acrylic smells just like walking into a nail salon that does acrylic nails. But I really love cutting acrylic. I bought Dial Gold bar soap and cut the bars into small slivers (about 1/4 inch thick) and placed them in the drawers that I have my PG half cut pieces to tame the smell. I remember some time ago someone mentioning (not in the forum) Dial Gold bar soap helping with odors. Anyway I have strategically placed these slivers around the house. I hope it helps. We’ll see. Looking forward to others comments and suggestions. :slight_smile:


I’ve moved mine out to the garage (from the basement), because my wife complained of odor in the house. I’m not sure if most of the odor was caused during the cut or after the cut when I opened the GF door. But there definitely was a “wood cut” odor in the house when I used it.

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Check the seals around the hose - a lot of the connectors are not designed to be air tight. You can improve that by using some clear silicone caulk on semi-permanent parts (ie: the caps that are attached to the window or wall) and by taping up the Glowforge end with aluminum tape. It is air-tight and lets you remove it for cleaning once in a while.

When I first got the PRU I did not have it correctly sealed and the maple gave me headaches and the whole house smelled of burned wood. If you’re getting that much smell, you don’t have your exhaust sealed up properly. Once you get it sealed there is zero smell until you open the lid.

Oh! One other thing you can do to reduce the odor…about 90% of it comes from the residue left on the masking after you finish a cut - get into the habit of immediately peeling that off and stick it in a Ziploc bag then wash your hands …it really reduces the odors that get into the room.


The other thing which might be worth a try is trays of activated carbon. If you leave them in the room and open to the air they grab hold of the volatile components which make smells. I get some of the smoke being sucked back into the room by the negative pressure so it always smells a bit.


@Jules Thanks. I was planning on getting some tape on my next trip to HD and see if that makes a difference. Wife was wondering about getting an air filter for in there. Think that will help?

@nathan_burley That is a good idea. I’ll see about getting a few of those and leave them laying about too. Can’t hurt.

I have one of these to catch the bit that hides in the honeycomb and wafts into the room when I lift the material. Actually had it before for other reasons, but works well for any bit of particulate.

Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover, 465 sq. Ft, HPA300 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BWYO53G/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_B--fBb9YP8SEK

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I didn’t notice much of a difference with the air cleaner that I originally used until I got the exhaust sealed up. (It was a couple of weeks of occasional headaches, and some really bad ones when I burned the mirrored acrylic, until I got serious about sealing the air path.)

It’s been over a year since then though, and no problems since. Not even much smell when cooking acrylic, which is a blessing. That tape will be a good first step, and might net you the most results.


i use an even smaller one that seems to clear up any lingering odor decently. not immediately, but reasonably.



I don’t notice the smell as much. Maybe because one of my co-worker has such bad BO that any smell the Glowforge produces is better. :sweat_smile:


A very subjective thing. The Proofgrade is not supposed to be chemically harmful in anyway, but people react differently to various smells and chemicals.

The slightest hint of cigar smell (I don’t smoke) will send my wife into a severe asthma attack.

A co-worker had to have a special filtered cubical constructed so that normal carpet, perfume or aerosol smells wouldn’t send him to the hospital.

And although my sense of smell is very good, almost nothing bothers me.

Bottom line, the smoke and smells are not all that noticeable during an engrave with a well vented and well sealed venting system. Once the unit goes into idle there are still significant fumes and smoke inside the unit. They will escape into the room. It’s at a level that I can smell but my brain ignores.


When I cut or engrave acrylic I now leave a piece of sacrificial wood in the glowforge and engrave a 3/4" square out of it, it almost totally eliminates the smell of the acrylic that normally lingers for hours. I did a quick video here: https://youtu.be/n0w58lL4nIM

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