Smoke smoke everywhere

I have had my glowforge for about a month now. I did not use it for a week and when I started using it again the glowforge started overheating and smoke fills the entire inside.

I have kept it clean, and also did all the troubleshoot steps to make sure that the fans are all clean. Unfortunately, when I do a cut, there is so much smoke that I don’t think the glowforge is cutting through properly.

I don’t know what happnned all of a sudden, and I haven’t had much help from support. I keep getting prewritten messages about how if it’s not too much smoke don’t worry.

But if you look at one of my last attempts to see if I fixed it, this is what is happening. This doesn’t seem like a harmless amount of smoke and its all of a sudden. I’ve sent this video to support:

It has gotten hotter here in Texas, and I have done a lot of engraving. But really only had my machine for a month. Can one month of engraving fill the filter? It seems like the filter is not sucking the air from the exhaust anymore.

But I just don’t know what’s going on. I’ve really made sure that I’ve kept this machine in top condition.

1 Like

I’ve heard that medium density fiber board can fill up the filter, you could try detaching the filter, turning the internal fan back on and Venting outside


that’s exactly what I’ve been using the most. But I paid $1000.00 for a filter and I just don’t understand how it would stop working in a month.

1 Like

Sorry, your filter is probably full.


Yeah, MDF burns really dirty. It fills them up very quickly. :frowning:


Oh wow. Is the solution to just get a new cartridge?

Yep. And maybe find a way to vent out the window when you have to cut MDF!

1 Like

Darn, if I had known this I would have engraved on wood. It’s a lot cheaper. I wonder if this will be covered under the six month warranty. I just think its too soon. I’m not able to upload the video of what the smoke looks like.

It’s physics. Nobody’s come up with a way yet to design a filter that will filter when it’s jammed full of particles. :slight_smile: If you’re stuck using a filter, you definitely will want to opt for cleaner-burning materials.


No, I understand, but I was under the assumption that was what proofgrade material was for. I did not know it was considered “dirty.” Although I still think one month is way too less of time. If you put the hose out the window, does it require anything else to push the air through or will the glowforge do that automatically?

Here is the smoke from a small cut.

GF does it automatically – you just need to remember to turn the fan back on when you remove the filter. :slight_smile:

Draftboard and the insides of PG plywood are MDF, so yeah, even PG materials can fill it up quickly. Some hardwoods are worse than others, too, and that will also apply to PG hardwoods.


You are so helpful! Thank you for taking the time to give me some lasering wisdom.


Yes, MDF / draftboard is terrible for the filter. This Filter Life FAQ is a pretty useful reference to see how various materials will impact the filter life.

As you’ll see, the hardwoods and thicker plywoods are better for filter life. The 1/8 plywood is also pretty bad for the filter, if I remember correctly the center of the 1/8th plywood is actually MDF / draftboard.


If you want to kill a filter, cut lots of MDF and only run the filter while you are cutting. You can think of a filter as a wall of caves and smoke as rocks of various sizes and gooeyness, MDF is lots of large gooey rocks that start piling up around the entrance, while other materials make it a ways down the cave before getting stuck allowing more of them along the length of the cave.

If you run the filter for twice as long after cutting as during the cut the “rocks” get shifted and pulled farther down making room for more and getting the filter to last longer… Even so the more smoke you see the faster you are filling the filter.


I’m sorry for the trouble.

Thanks for the help everyone. I’m going to close this thread.

@aliasgar52 if you’re still having trouble with a new cartridge, please let us know by posting a new topic.