Post Cut Smell (Wood) Is it *bad* for you?

I am using the attached glowforge filter, we only have 1 window (which is a fire window and cannot be used to filter outside), so we are using the filter.

We are obviously not having smoke all around the classroom, but we do have a heavy burnt wood smell.

The head of facilities came in and commented on it, students comment on it, an adult came in and said “thats really bad for you”.

And now im getting paranoid, is the smell bad for me? Do I have wood smoke leaking secretly etc? I dont think it smells THAT bad, some people are just so sensitive to that burning smell, its hard for me to tell because im in the room all day…

1 Like

Double check that your hose has no leaks and that the seams are sealed. I prefer a better hose than the one shipped with the Glowforge.

The items that have been cut in the Glowforge will off gas for awhile, and there can be little pockets of smoke underneath the board after cuts are complete. I suggest waiting a minute or two after a cut completes before opening the lid, and consider getting an air purifier.


Letting the items stay in the machine while the filter runs for a few more minutes might help a lot. But, even with outside venting there will always be a little odor once you remove the pieces.

If it is practical you may have a better time moving the machine to a room which allows for external venting. You’ll certainly save a lot in filter expenses, they cost an awful lot to run.


Acrylic and Leather are the worst but wood is fine

1 Like

The processed pieces give off that burnt smell for a while, which is strong initially, but I believe nontoxic at that concentration.
There have been posts here about mitigating the smell by storing the products in containers for a period of time.


If you are talking about medically bad it is certainly not worse than about anything else. If one has acute asthma, that could certainly trigger it. Even just having a recently cut piece around you. Otherwise, a fireplace in the house will likely create more smoke. Cutting acrylic or leather could be much more problematic, however.

Outside of that, you need to run the filter for at least a half hour after cutting as it will need all the concern that you can give it. MDF and any medium ply (which contains MDF) will kill your filter quickly and replacing the filter is very expensive. It would not hurt IMHO to run the filter during the entire class day as it will also take such fumes as you can smell out of the air eventually, and as long as you were not creating other dust it will last longer than only running it during cutting.

Running while there is no smoke is apparently like a cave with many paths that pulls particles deeper rather than piling up around the outside of the pores. At least that was the explanation I recall.


Smoke and fumes from laser engraved and cut materials like wood and acrylic are generally not harmful, but dust from cutting or carving on, say, a CNC router can be extremely damaging to the lungs and upper respiratory tract.


I’m no medical scientist, but I think (assuming you’re not cutting anything that produces toxic gasses), particulates are generally bad for the lungs, and something we should probably all be concerned about. Fortunately, air quality meters are readily available that will give you some objective measure of at least PM2.5 levels, and maybe VOCs. It’s amazing how this monitor in my basement spikes whenever someone’s cooking in the kitchen, two floors above.

I have a few different ones, but the one that’s currently near my Glowforge is an Awair Element ( I’ve also heard good things about AirThings (View Pollution | Airthings).

Anyway, the point I’m driving at is that I started measuring air quality a few years back when I realized I spend a lot of time in an enclosed room with a Glowforge, and I wanted to know if my ventilation system fails to do its job. The good news is that, generally speaking, my Glowforge is not spewing particulates into the room, and there isn’t much of a correlation between how much burnt wood/acrylic smell there is and how much the monitors pick up. So it may be stinky, but it’s not smoke.

Maybe your administration would feel better about it if they got you a device like this so you could take some measurements.


Some people will likely have allergies and sensitivities that others don’t. Those people may be more impacted than the average person.


I have mine vented out the window in the house but after a little bit I can feel a little irritation in my throat from the fumes that are still escaping into the room a little bit.

I’m sure others know what I’m talking about.

1 Like

When I cut and engrave leather I can definitely smell it and feel it in my throat after a bit even having an exhaust fan out the window. I’m still getting some smoke or fumes into the room

1 Like

The exhaust fan is pushing the smoke out, so any leaks in the exhaust run is allowing smoke out. I would recommend using a booster fan mounted right at the window, so all of the smoke is being pulled out. That way any holes in the system are pulling air in, instead of pushing smoke out. You will also be able to turn off the exhaust fan, and have a much quieter machine and clean working environment. I experience zero smell when I’m using the machine all day.


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.