Proofgrade chemicals

is this wood treated with any chemicals? I’m just wondering how bad it is to breathe. I have the ducting going out of my garage but can still smell it. is it just wood fumes I’m inhaling or is the wood treated?

They did a lot of research when they developed the Proofgrade materials to get safe glues and finishes. (One reason to prefer it over hardware store stuff, since there is not that assurance.)


There is glue. That is a chemical. There is a finish. That is a chemical. Wood is a chemical compound. Smoke is a chemical compound. The bits of ash are a chemical compounds.

Glowforge seems to be committed to providing materials that lessen the presence of toxic compounds in the exhaust. But there will be chemicals in the exhaust. Wood smoke is carcinogenic in certain concentrations and certain exposures.

I am not sure what you mean by “is the wood treated”?

I’ve been thinking about this. I smell perfume on certain people who meet with me. My office has their lingering fragrence. I just assume that perfume manufacturers ensure that the level of secondary perfume exposure is non-toxic (for me that means it’s not going to figure in my ordinary calculations for life expectancy.) However, I am aware of a law suite in my school system where the plaintiff said that the school did not arrange for a reasonable accommodation for a student’s chemical sensitivity, even though all teachers agreed not wear wear perfume, all fellow classmates agreed to not wear perfume, and even the teachers agreed to try to use non perfumed soaps and shampoos.

I’d say that any residual smell could be classified with the smell and taste you get from cooking bacon. In fact, I propose the bacon test. If you are ok with eating bacon, then the Glowforge is right for you (aside from religious reasons, which are a totally different case). If you are vegan and vegetarian, I propose the roasted red pepper or eggplant test. If you are ok eating roasted red peppers or baba ganoush, then you are ok smelling the materials processed by a Glowforge.

You will want a good exhaust setup before the filter is delivered, if you ordered one. You will not want to breath that raw exhaust for sure as you wouldn’t want to breathe the combustion products of anything directly over a period of time.

Now this is predicated on the fact that you are venting outside into an open area that doesn’t pump a lot of the exhaust back into your house, a concentration of people, or another dwelling.

Read up on materials and laser processing. Know what gets produced by the burnination. Have a good exhaust. Sleep well.


If your vent is sealed properly you shouldn’t smell anything until after your job is finished and you open the lid. I found that the clamp that comes with the forge was difficult to seal completely or it works itself loose as the pressure from venting air increases inside the hose. I sealed mine with a layer or 2 of foil tape at the interface between the forge/hose, and the hose/outside vent. I used a blastgate at the outside vent so I can close it off when not in use.

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Thanks for writing. I’m glad you contacted us about this.

We’ve worked with safety experts to ensure that our materials and printer aren’t hazardous when used properly. However, if you detect a strong, sharp smell that also causes eyes, nose, or throat irritation, or if there is visible smoke escaping while the lid is closed, stop immediately and re-check your exhaust setup. If the irritation and/or smoke emissions do not abate, discontinue using your Glowforge and contact support.

Even with proper filtration, you may be able to detect an odor. You may also smell an odor when you open the Glowforge lid, even long after a print is complete. This is normal and not harmful.

Should you want to improve your exhaust arrangement, we’ve created an troubleshooting guide with illustrations. You can see it here:

If you’re still seeing or smelling excessive smoke or fumes when using Proofgrade materials, we’re here for you. Email us again and send us:

  • The name of the material you’re using
  • A description of where the smoke/fumes are coming from: the door, lid, or hose
  • When you smell the fumes: during the print or after it has completed
  • Photos of your Glowforge and your exhaust system