Sound level readings of GF

So I finally got around to taking a video of my GF and recording the sound levels with an external sound meter. Take a look here

Basics are as follows
ambient: 28db
gf idle: 45db
harbor freight exhaust: 71db
gf during cut: 71db
gf and exhaust during cut: 75db

I fixed up my exhaust fan after the video and got rid of the rattle and it is now down to 62db with just the exhaust.

The sound meter app is free, so you can check your own work space and make sure you are below the 85db threshold where OSHA regulations would kick in for a safe work environment.

I’d be interested if other people get similar readings. I’m curious how much the environment around the machine impacts the sound. I have my setup backed up to a brick wall. I’m sure if it was dry wall or more open space the sound would be lower. I may put some acoustic panels behind to deaden the sound a bit.



Thanks for doing this. I have a friend that was asking how loud it was, and now I can just send him a link to your video.

I will have to grab that app so that we are running on the same benchmarking tool. I don’t have an extra powered exhaust. My pro sits in front of the blackout drapes on my slider. I’m sure that helps. I will get measurements later.

Well my glowforge room is full of cardboard and other materials, so lots of natural deadening. I had two rooms in the front of the house completely empty, 9.5’ ceilings and hardwood floors (so the floors could be refinished) and was reminded what an echo chamber a bare room can be. If I had put the forge in there…I could see it getting uncomfortable.

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Actually… Compared to a lot of the laser cutters from reputable companies. The GF is pretty quiet. Most other have external chillers/coolers and exhaust systems. My friends shop is so loud when we cut stuff that we have to shout or leave just to talk. I just upgraded my exhaust hose on my Pro to the flexible stiff walled aluminum to an outside quick release vent. This dampened the noise even more. I’m ver happy with the noise aspect of this laser.


Using “Decibels” app on an Iphone 6.

Environment: GF is setup in the corner of a open living room, drywall. Exhaust vents out through front bay window.

My readings:
Ambient: 55-65db average 60db
GF during engrave (in front of or right at exhaust port made no difference): 80db
GF during engrave at 16ft directly away from it; diagonal of the corner: 70db
One connected room away (25ft and a half wall, dining room): 65db
Room next to living room with door shut: 55db

yeah, my k40 setup uses the harbor freight dust collector for an exhaust fan and as you saw it was 75db, but a lower pitch so less annoying. I just wanted to raise it as I found it a stark contrast to the video for the kickstarter that had the unit in the kitchen and everyone smiling and watching as it ran. I find myself just annoyed at the shrill fan and slow engraves, but i guess that’s just me. i’ve hacked my k40 to be very efficient and to be a production machine. I’m coming to realize that is not going to be possible with the gf. still a fun toy, and makes one off engraves easier, but in no way suited for production work for my etsy needs.

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There’s a chance that your exhaust is contributing to the noise - it can make 15dB or more of difference. There are some good threads here on minimizing it, but the included hose out a window gives very good results.

I’m interested to know what margin of error is in the app. Does it have an option to calibrate? I may have to try it out. We have a calibrator at work that puts out 114db steady.

The environment can have a significant impact on noise levels. If you have anything that rattles or seems to him when you run your Glowforge, try some dampening material, or even an old sock. Consider hanging artwork in your GF room too. Plain walls bounce sound well, reducing their spans of continuous flatness can help. Dense fabric can really go a long way, such as a quilt hanging on the wall.

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Testing with mine engraving.

About 1 foot above the lid:

Phone sitting right on the lid:

I moved it around a few other places. The It is noisier immediately behind the :glowforge:, but that does not seem to spread into the room thanks to the thick, heavy drapes there.