Second Air Filter in Two Months?

Referencing a previous post Compact Air Filter design suggestion- second air filter didn't last either

It seemed like we blew through our first air filter really fast, barely lasted a month. Turns out, we weren’t following the manual’s instructions on leaving it run after a print and we did cut a fair amount of MDF in the beginning.

Well, after purchasing a second air filter, I was diligent to follow instructions. We left the air filter run after a print for as long as the print lasted.

Additionally, per recommendations, I did not cut or engrave a single piece of MDF because that apparently clogs the filter more quickly.

I also would insert a pre-filter fabric every day or every other day depending on the volume we were doing.

Its been barely 4 weeks since I replaced our original filter and it has started beeping, indicating that the filter needs to be replaced again.

I can’t express how frustrating it is to have to replace this filter every month at $250 a pop.

Glowforge, you need to figure out a better solution for this air filter. It needs to be replaceable in layers. There is absolutely no need to be replacing the entire cartridge when its really the top layer that is getting full.

I don’t have the option to vent outside so my hand is forced with an overpriced fan in a metal box and cartridges that are unnecessarily overbuilt and unsustainable.


I’ve been using the filter since June, still on my first cartridge, but I use 3 layers of pre-filter material stacked on top of the Glowforge cartridge and change them out every 1-2 hours of use. You might give that a try, it’s worked for me.


Fabric? That might be the issue. How often are you changing/cleaning that?
Most people using prefilters are using an activated carbon foam pad type for air purifiers. Like this, rinse it out very few hours.

I used to get 6 months out of a filter cartridge cutting BB ply before I moved to a window.


I was using two layers of pre-filter material that you recommended. I guess I can try 3 layers going forward but I don’t have a lot of confidence that it will make a difference.

There are some days where we are running the Glowforge for 4+ hours total throughout the day so that means the air filter pretty much runs the entire day.

Based on your recommendation, I guess that would mean changing out the pre-filter a couple times per day. I’m willing to try anything. I’d have to do the math over a month’s time to see how much that would actually save us.

Screenshot 2020-10-26 14345Screenshot 2020-10-26 143451 1|690x324

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I’ll try anything. But mind if I ask how many hours/day the you were using the Glowforge over 6 months?

We use it every day making products for our Etsy shop and some days it will run 4-6 hours over the course of the day. Its not like that every day but its certainly more than just an hour or so per day.

And that is why we spent more for the Pro version because we knew we’d be working it pretty hard.

We are planning to move in the spring and hopefully we’ll have the option to vent outside. Right now, its just not an option.

Not as heavily as you, probably 20hrs a month active laser time. Mine doesn’t beep - I don’t know how far in advance that beep warning on the newer boxes trigger. (Is it a one month warning so you can order a replacement or more like “change the filter right now”)

I know you said you are not cutting MDF, but are you cutting any plywood that has a MDF core? This would pretty much be the same as cutting MDF.


Its more of a “change the filter now” warning. I’ll notice that smoke isn’t moving out of the enclosure and just kind of hovering and a few minutes later, it started beeping.

I’m using PureBond plywood from Columbia Forest Products, purchased through Home Depot. I read the product sheets, and it does not state that it has an MDF core. And it states on the Columbia Forest website that MDF core is available upon request, which indicates it is not used by default.

5-6 hours per day.

Pretty sure that’s mdf core. You can find out, just take a scrap and split it with a sharp blade.

A little exploratory surgery will answer this one really quickly.


I contacted Columbia Forest Products directly and inquired if their plywood has an MDF core. This was their response:

"Our purebond panels are veneer core items. We can apply our veneers to an mdf core, but we do not manufacture mdf ourselves. "

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Cool. I’d still do the surgery.

I was a beta tester for the CF filter. I like using it but even with the pre-filter “hack” it just isn’t economical if you are running your laser for large jobs and cutting a lot of plywood of mdf. I am fortunate because I have another location (away from my workshop) that I can run my GF to a window and vent, and I do that when I plan to run the laser for more than a few days at a time. The filter does a much better job keeping the smells down, because my vent setup isn’t perfect. It would be nice to see an official removable pre-filter and cleaning routine that lasts at least 2-3X than the current filter. The value really isn’t there for the air filter in its current state, depending on what you are cutting.

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