Runtime of Air Filter After Cutting?

I’ve noted a few threads where folks say that with the planned GF air filter, there shouldn’t be any “bad smell” (which includes air toxicity) after cutting things like acrylic except for when the GF box is opened to take out the material. Maybe this is a silly question, but is the smell in the box afterward because the air filter turns off after the cutting is done and any remaining smoke and outgassing starts accumulating at that point?

Either way, is there any way we can run the air filter for a reasonable amount of time after the laser shuts off and while the material cools, to prevent the last bits of nasty stuff from coming into the room?

This is kind if a deep question.

I made that statement about the smell. I was mostly talking about the smell coming from the material itself. (chard edges of Wood, leather)

But you are correct, some of the smell could come from the filter when off. It has the do with the way a filter is built.
Not sure about this filter, but most of the time, the preferred method is, pre-filter, filter, cabon, filter, hepa. in that order.
So lets say smoke particulate were to enter the filter and land on the surface of the pre-filter. That is fine when the fan is running, because the smell will still be drawn into the carbon. But when the fan is off. The smell could migrate back.
Now they could have built back flow prevention into the filter, I don’t know.

But to answer the question, I think I saw a “cool down” before @dan reached in to grab stuff.

We recently modified my laser system to have exhaust and cooling power on only when a job is sent to the laser, and turn off after completion.

I had to go back in and modify the configuration to keep the air system running for about 20 seconds after any job finishes.

This was to clear out the fumes created in the final cut, making sure to pull things all the way through the venting system reliably. It also somewhat helps to pull out trapped pockets of smoke in the honeycomb. Some areas the bottom of the honeycomb is flush to the support, blocking the hole. So if material cuts and drops, it forms a nearly air-tight seal on that one pocket.

So, having the air system stay on for a while would be very useful. And for people particularly smell-averse, it would be nice to have a configuration setting available which turns on ventilation any time the hood is open (or be able to just demand the cloud to turn it on/off at command via computer)


We know that the fans are S/W controlled by the cloud servers. So I guess it all depends on how the Glowforge team sets it up. We can make our preferences known. The demos that we have seen so far may or may not be representative of the production filter/cooling profiles. BTW: most of my comments are directed at folks that may not be following the forum as closely as us. So if I state the obvious, the comments are intended to clarify info for the newbies.


[quote=“rpegg, post:4, topic:1150”]
The demos that we have seen so far may or may not be representative of the production filter/cooling profiles.
[/quote] And willing to bet can be changed very fast in the cloud. (Another nice thing about the cloud)

Once “Skynet” goes live…

Thanks, everyone. So, @dan and friends, I’m officially requesting that the venting system be either automatically set to run a bit after a print job is complete, to pull out lingering fumes, or to have the runtime manually extendable through the interface.

I imagine this might be particularly important to those of your customer base who are using a Factory Installed Original 3D Printer (i.e., uterus) for its intended purpose. Nobody likes lingering fumes around pregnant folx. Ditto for people with various illnesses, leetle kidlets, etc.


This was a fantastic description. I will remember this one!

1 Like

Why do you have to bring sexual orentation into this? I would hope you would want it just as safe for both male and female users.

We’re playing around with a few ideas for how we run the fan, but you’ll definitely have the option (if not the default) of having it run for a bit after the cut is done.


@Spike, I brought it up because there are special considerations and more restrictive standards for toxin exposure during pregnancy, certain kinds of chronic illness, and for children. I said specifically that I imagine toxin exposure might be of particular importance to pregnant people because that’s a demographic of users I’m aware of for a number of reasons and might become a member of at some point during my GF ownership. I’m also a member of a number of other user demographics (visual artists, Parallels users, first-time laser owners) that I think it’s appropriate to bring up special considerations for as they come to mind.

Part of how I look at the issue is that product safety is always a matter of tradeoffs. Good designers start with a baseline of usability and features. After that, they might consider the needs of specific populations of users who need or desire certain features to be able to use the product easily or at all. Europeans, for example–huge population of potential users, but they can’t have GFs unless the Glowforge team gets the product a CE mark; hence, GF has a CE mark. On the other hand, designers oftentimes aren’t aware of or quickly dismiss the accessibility needs of some users because they’re too small of a group to make a real difference in profitability; for example, I don’t think there’s currently a built-in alternative to the print button for people who can’t use their limbs–that’s tough on potential customers who have quadriplegia, but there just aren’t enough of those folks to make it worthwhile for the team to spend their time designing a workaround for them. Sorry, quadriplegics, you can’t use the GF without help. Some user groups, however, might just become important to the design team if the team became aware of them. Speaking as someone who has helped design a wide variety of products with some very serious people, design teams aren’t omniscient. They’ll be completely unaware of tons of different needs of tons of different significant user groups until someone says something to them about that need. That’s half the point of forums like this (and market research, and beta testing)–not checking for bugs in what you created, but figuring out what you left out for significant user groups. I think designing the system to be safe for a large group of people whose tolerance for hazardous material exposure is somewhat lower than average will benefit all users and be good for business, but the team has to define who that user group is before designing. Because the team advertises this product as being used in the middle of a home filled with small children, a pregnant person is a good sample user for that demographic, as is a baby who’s in the room while the GF is finishing a job.

I trust that the GF team is doing an awesome, extremely thoughtful job of considering usability and accessibility, partly because they’ve been so responsive to suggestions and requests like the ones on this thread.


Friendly neighborhood Civility reminder.

Morgan brought up pregnancy as “particularly important” Not as “Only matters here”

Pregnancy is almost always set aside as a special item, because it is nearly impossible to rule out anything, and everything is assumed to be considerably more dangerous, because the idea that even minor effects at such a time can have profound effects makes enough sense not to take the risk.

So it is worth noting as a special case. But yes, it is not the only case. Which is why a not that it is not the only consideration in play is worthwhile, and was present.

Can we all chalk it up to mis-readings, not enough coffee, or other such, and move back to being happy that Dan has stated it is on the plans already?

Also… do note how the air system works in the Glowforge. Fans blow from the side farthest from the duct connection. So air does you NO good once you open the door. If fans are set to run a bit longer, do not rush to open the door immediately after the cut finishes (if fumes/smoke is a concern for you at all)


@jacobturner Thanks for the post, You are correct, this is kind of a touchy matter for me.

I have been disabled from osteoporosis scene 2003, (6 vertebrae compound fractures and 8 back surgeries) Due to chemical exposure. So when someone tries to use their “group” as a means to make their point, I kind of laugh. Knowing that ALL people should be protected under the same standards.

But I am sure most of this lifeless text has been taken out of context.

Damn. Harsh. I know squat about Osteo, but this may be good news for your future.

1 Like

Thanks Cool read. The thing about Osteo, is replacing does no good, it’s getting them to grow/repair.
You have to “trick” the body into thinking it needs to grow bone. Sadly, the med costs a lot of money and is VERY high risk.
I few of my surgeries were called Kyphoplasty. They fill the bone with epoxy.

But, enough about the off topic, Don’t need another “flagged” post.

That’s for sure. Five flags, on five posts, from five different people = loss of Regular status. Worked many years to be considered a Regular person.


Well, I like the contributions each of you make to this forum (@spike, @morganstanfield).


I cut felt once.


Not harmful really, but the smell stuck around for a week. On the flip side, I’ve cut things that had almost no smell, but we’re very definitely offgassing harmful fumes.

We built a air/water filter box. Less clutter and also allows the filters to run all the time, without the constant headache inducing noise.

Basically a DYI of this:

1 Like

For what it’s worth, GF is marketed as a desktop in-home machine. Improper venting/filtering is a very serious health risk for developing brains (like cerebral palsy serious).

It’s a good thing to be concerned about and discuss. I personally go overboard on filtering, because I have MS and I am very sensitive to certain aerosolized chemicals.

1 Like

@spike and @morganstanfield are both valued community members. That said, this post has veered off topic in a way that’s turned negative and individual posts are getting flagged as “off topic” which does nobody any good.

If anyone wants to talk about this further, I suggest private messaging - Discourse supports this for groups.