Short grinding noise when print starts

When I choose “print” on the website control panel, the head moves and focuses on the print area. This works normally.

However, then when I press the flashing white button on the GF, there is about ½ second of a grinding noise. Kind of like gears not meshing properly. Then the head moves and starts printing, with no more noise and no problems.

My guess is since the exhaust fan does not start for the initial focusing movement (it only makes that quick grinding noise when I press the white flashing button), perhaps the fan is where this noise is coming from. And since it is consistently just at the start of the print for a very short time, some gears are meshing then working just fine. But I’ve got a bad feeling from the noise that something will suddenly break and lock up/not move/quit working.

Any ideas?

You may be onto something since the air assist fan turns on with the white button. Folks frequently think they’ve cleaned it, when stuff is impacted inside (behind fan/in chute). I’d start with a thorough cleaning of that.

This video walk-through will even show you how to remove the chute if you want to get really deep :slight_smile: (I skipped it to the section on the chute)


I’m sorry for the recent trouble with your unit and that you’re hearing an unusual sound when starting a print. I agree that @deirdrebeth 's suggestion regarding checking the air assist fan is a great place to start!

Here is a link to the guide on our support site with detailed instructions:
Cleaning Your Air Assist Fan

If you’d like, while cleaning the fan, please take a photo of the fan blades and post it here and our team will be happy to take a closer look at it for you.

We look forward to hearing what you find while inspecting the fan.

Thanks for the suggestions; I had recently cleaned the air assist fan, but I did take it apart and cleaned very well; even took off the metal vent hood on the fan assemble. No difference.

I have attached two photos as you asked of the fan, plus a video (not much of a picture, but listen for the grinding noise at the 4 second point). The video was started when I pushed the flashing white button.

Any other ideas? Thank you.

The loud noises in your video are coming from the exhaust fan, at the back left corner of the machine.

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I think you are right, Dan. I keep worrying if that’s it, and sometime the exhaust fan will simply fail and not start because some gear is not engaging. Have you (or anyone reading) encountered this, and can I repair?

I believe the noise is due to debris/resin buildup on the fan blades causing it to spin unbalanced while getting up to speed. The spinning fan blades briefly brush against the housing or wires making the grinding noise. Cleaning may help with that. Nylon bottle brushes can be helpful in reaching the fan blades, from the front and the back sides of the fan.

Your worst case scenario is a noisy fan, or turning the fan off and using an external inline fan to pull out smoke instead, similar to how the Glowforge works with the Glowforge Air Filter. So don’t worry too much, this isn’t a problem that can put your machine out of commission.

Thanks for the reassurance…I will try to clean the exhaust fan today and see what happens there. I haven’t cleaned it for a while, so that will be a good thing to do in any case!

Hello @doublelift It looks like you are already headed in the right direction. I believe cleaning the exhaust fan will be the next best step. I will leave a link for you, the steps for cleaning the exhaust fan are towards the bottom of that article. Let me know if there are any other concerns you had.

Success of sorts. I followed the cleaning instructions in Ray’s link, and I moved the transport arm forward so I could try to vacuum from the inside. I also cleaned what I could reach with a bottle brush. The grinding noise is probably 90% reduced, I have to listen carefully for it now, so I’m pretty sure the cleaning got to the problem. Wish I could actually get to the fan to clean it fully, but it looks like it is not owner accessible.

Thanks to all for help: Dan, Ivan, and Ray. I feel like it’s under control now, and am back to normal operations. Looks like another success for the problems and support forum!


Hello @doublelift I am glad my colleagues and I were able to help get this resolved for you. Thank you for reaching out and don’t hesitate for anything else you may need in the future! I’ll go ahead and close this thread.