Smoke production with cardstock and other materials

I’ve been using a Glowforge indoors with one of the Glowforge air filters and had the air filter clog and stop working after barely more than one week. I have a replacement filter on the way, but am trying to use materials with minimal smoke production/particulate in smoke in order to get better life out of the filter. It’s been recommended we stick to hardwood and leather, but I was curious if anyone had experience with other materials. In particular, I would expect cardstock to have minimal smoke production and could be useful for a lot of prototyping without much wear on the filter.

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The more visible smoke the faster it will fill up. If you have a washable pre-filter that gets the big and sticky bits and you wash it frequently, your expensive filters will last much longer.

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The harder the object the less smoke - so I imagine cardstock, or any paper, would not give you what you’re looking for sadly

No chance to exhaust outdoors?

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Acrylic is also a great choice.


I second that. I do predominantly acrylic and very few wood engraves. Fans still in pretty good shape.


I’d tend to think that cardstock is going to last a very long time for a couple of reasons…the volume of particulates in the smoke is going to be much less (unless you set the whole thing on fire), and the particulates will not have resins or glues to clog the filter. So that’s a pretty good idea.

The other things that throw little to no particles are any kind of stone or slate, and marking on anodized aluminum or other metals. Etching glass is also a good one. Acrylic tends to ablate without particles, so it’s also a good choice, although it does throw a little bit of dust with deep 3D engraving.

Some kinds of hardwoods work extremely well, because they don’t throw a lot of particles. Wenge is fantastic. Basswood, Walnut, Maple, Cherry…all good. Some you want to avoid are Padauk and any softwoods like pine or cedar. They have sticky resins that can clog the filter early. Hardwoods are always better than plywood, because the glues in plywood and MDF can clog the filter pores like resin does.

One of the other things that Dan has mentioned to us regarding extending the filter life is to keep the filter fan running after the print for as long as the print ran for. You can open the lid and take out your print, just leave the filter fan running for a while afterwards.


The best way to avoid smoke? Think tile!:sunglasses:

This question is outside our team’s scope. I’ve moved it to the Beyond the Manual so the discussion can continue there.

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