Question about exhaust fan cleaning

Hey folks, just a quick question for those of you who have cleaned their Glowforge using the recommended process with the 3M Novec cleaner. I’m expecting my can of cleaner to be delivered today so I thought I’d do a cleaning before I get serious buildup for a change. I know they recommend moving the machine outside, but that is not going to be very feasible for me. I’d like to run the fan maintenance routine with my current venting in place and just send the vapors out through the 8ft vent line. My vent connection has one of those flaps that opens with air flow.

Is my plan doable? Anybody else try that? Should I have posted this in BTM?


I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the recommendation to take it outside had to do with the suggestions that come on the can…I’d just make sure it’s extremely well ventilated. (I have a can, but don’t intend to move it outside if I ever have to use it.) :slightly_smiling_face:*

*LMK if that turns out to be a bad plan. :wink:


Curious about this too! Husband says the can stuff is toxic so needs to be done outside, but I too have a hard time thinking about moving the whole operation outside.


Hmmm … We can’t replace you. Read the can and then decide.


OK, don’t assume I’m smart or anything or that you should follow what I did, but I didn’t take it outside becasue I’m not physically able to and I couldn’t really use it until I cleaned it. I’ll probably grow a third head or something now. :roll_eyes: I just unhooked my vent hose and put a paper bag around the vent opened to catch any gunk. I think I wasted a lot of expensive spray though. Next time I’ll just spray it for 10-15 seconds and then stop and check to see if it needs more. Be prepared to clean out the exterior grill though as a lot gunk get hung up on it.



Does that mean you already have a second?

I hope, if you do, that it’s on the top of your finger. That way when you take a picture of you pointing at something on-screen, it has a little face.


After going to all the trouble of popping the top off to get at the fan, with the fan looking like that, it’d be better to just remove it and clean it with a bottle brush or a toothbrush. You want to get at the stuff that’s stuck to the back side of the fan grating, and the spars that hold the fan motor will have stuff built up on them, too. And because the fan is pushing air out from the inside, it’ll be the front of the blades that have the most stuff on them. You may not have gotten the fronts very clean even though the back sides look great…

This type of fan is generically known as a “boxer fan”. They’re used in computer equipment. I’ve cleaned a lot of boxer fans over the years.


But I didn’t take the top off and that is the front of the fan. I just stuck my cell phone in there for the pic. I used a bottle brush to clean the junk off the rear grate.


Ah. Well, then, never mind… :slight_smile:

Though really, you ought to think about reaching in there with a torx driver and unscrewing the fan so you can take it out and clean everything.

It’s too bad GF didn’t design it so you could easily get at the fan. Seems a fairly obvious thing that owners would need to do. I guess if you want a round flange on the outside the fan has to be on the inside. But it should mount to something you can easily pop out, like they did with the printhead.


Yes, but it’s not the advantage you’d think. Similar to the quirk we see in the GUI, one brain seems to cancel the other one out and I’m twice as dumb. :brain: :laughing:

Oh man, if that’s a possibility, I’m gonna take a shot of the stuff! I could have a face-finger for every situation!



Yeah, the fan/grate design certainly leaves something to be desired, that’s for sure. I was going to try and reach in there to remove it this last cleaning, but I just couldn’t do it. I don’t have full use of my hands and hubby has gigantic mitts so we’re kinda stuck lol. I do think next time I’ll open the top though as that just seems easier.


@staffmember I just used the Fan Maintenance easy cleaning, but this visual learner would LOVE pictures.

While @Jules has really great pictures for her method, it would be fabulous to have with the “official” version. (like where to aim the spray?)

Much Thanks for this!


Can someone post more details about the 3M Novec cleaner (it appears there are several variations: contact, degreaser, etc) or a link to any official Glowforge exhaust fan cleaning instructions? I’m getting the “Print Stopped” error and the loud, clickity noises from my exhaust fan, which does look gunked up. I’d like to try cleaning it, but I’m just trying to piece together the instructions from the various replies here. I need it running ASAP for a project deadline!

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I got the one labelled 3M Novec brand Electronic Degreaser. It worked well to clean the fan. It didn’t remove every speck but I probably could have shot it a few times. I just left my venting to the outside in place and went through the fan cleaning mode–it worked just fine.


I followed these instructions and it worked well. Make sure to clean the grill in the back as well. I left my machine in place, detached the vent hose and put a paper bag in back to catch the gunk.


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