Wanted to share our Garage Glowforge Makerspace 1.0. We have attempted to optimize it for air quality, using exhaust, whole-room air-filtering, and remote monitoring.
We are very worried about air quality – we have two young children and both of us have a bit of asthma. We considered the Glowforge Air Filter but we couldn’t really find enough information on it to be convinced. It seems to apply a Brita-like filtration to the air and then release it back into the room, which seems like a bad idea. If we could have cleaned the air AND vented it outside we probably would have bought it, or maybe if someone could publish some tests with it, we’d have a bit of information. Glowforge has been very spare on the data.
Anyway, here’s our makerspace.
Air Vent: We rigged an airvent out of the included Draftboard, cutting a 4-inch hole with the GF. We added a few screws and a plastic vent duct from amazon. Even with this, the air in the garage smells of burning materials during and after a print. Maybe the GF isn’t air-tight or maybe it’s coming back in through the walls, window, and doorways. Hard to tell, so we take other precautions.
Webcam: Since the cleanest air is not in the garage, we rigged a raspberry pi with a camera to a pole. This lets us monitor the GF from inside the house, combining fire safety with air safety. We were getting a low frame-rate because the wifi wasn’t great in the garage, but moving one of our Orbi wifi-mesh units to the rack solved that problem. We can watch the GF from any computer in the house, or our phones. We can also wait a bit after the print is finished to re-enter the garage, giving the room air filter a chance to work. Around $55, but you can get a cheaper prebuilt webcam.
Air Filter: We bought a " WEN 3410 3-Speed Remote-Controlled Air Filtration System (300/350/400 CFM)" from Amazon. It’s meant for workshops – it takes 2-4 hours to really clean the air of all smells in the garage, but it does work. This was $126.
Wire Shelf: This is a basic Husky wire shelf from Home Depot, about $99. Very sturdy and we could hang the air filter from it.
Thermometer: On hot days we run into cooling issues with the GF, and we’re a bit worried about our first winter with it. (Do people stop using their GF in the winter?) The digital thermometer gives us at least an indicator to help us work through this issue.
Fan: This is an old Vornado we had lying around. Every now and then we open the garage door and turn this on high, to recycle the air completely.
Central Air Conditioning: We usually shut off our home’s central air during a print to avoid sucking up the bad air we’re venting outside.
Nothing is perfect, and we still have some issues. For example, the air outside the garage doesn’t smell very good while we’re working, and it would be great to not need all the extra filtering and everything in the first place. We use these breathing masks (" 3M 8511PB1-A-PS Particulate N95 Respirator with Valve") when we have to be in the space during a print session. We are hoping to get a ton of use out of the GF without having new respiratory issues in 10 years.
We hope this was helpful to some of you! If you have comments or suggestions, especially any more information on the air quality issue, please share.
Stephanie & Vineel