Smells like something is burned

Hi I have a problem with a smell. After we created our first project using a plywood we have a strong smell. We have a filter but it doesn’t seem to help and I’m afraid to keep using it. Am I doing something wrong? Any recommendations? Thanks in advance

Welcome to the forum.
It is hard to tell if you have a problem from your post. The laser cuts through wood by burning it, so there is an odor of burning wood. When you open the lid of the Glowforge there will always be a little smoke trapped under the material that will be released into the room. Also, other materials like leather and acrylic will continue to “off gas” even after they have been removed from the Glowforge.
It is important to make sure your filter is working properly buy checking that the filter box is checked in the interface and that the vent hose is properly installed. If you are not having a problem with smoke, just odor, you probably don’t have a problem.


Filters are a consumable, they will fill and need replacing. That’s one possibility. Some materials will fill the filter quicker, MDF is one of them. With heavy use a filter element can fill in as little as a week.
Due to the replacement cost most people elect to vent outside.

If you have only done one project that doesn’t seem like it would be your problem. Another possibility is there is a leak in the vent line connections.


The filter has to be turned on of course, and you might want to reread the setting up info to make sure you have done it correctly. That said there will usually be some smell though you should not be visible smoke.

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You shouldn’t smell anything during a print, but afterward is a different matter. Lasers cut by burning and burnt wood is going to smell. To mitigate the smell, there are a few things you can try:

  1. Remove all masking material from both sides of your prints immediately and put them in a zip-lok bag for storage/disposal.
  2. Try reducing the power or increasing the speed. This will require copious testing on each new material, but can significantly reduce the stink.
  3. Place newly-cut pieces into a sealed plastic tub for 12 to 24 hours along with an odor absorber such as:

I’ve used these since receiving my first GF and have yet to find anything better.

Certain materials are just naturally stinkier than others. Maple Ply, cardboard, eva foam are notorious for their smells. :mask: Bone, leather, and horn take “stink” to a new quantum realm… :nauseated_face:

Good luck!