Strong Odor when I lift lid



I just made my first print on clear acrylic and once the cooldown period for the laser was over, I opened the lid. A horrible burnt odor came out when I opened the lid. Did I install the hose wrong or is it always going to smell like that? My mom doesn’t want it in the house anymore since it smelled so bad :frowning: halp,


Always going to smell like that but we have been told that eventually the user will have a little more control over how long the exhaust fans will operate to clear the smoke and smell. Until then, sorry. Acrylic and Leather seem to have the worst smells.


It’s also going to depend on what kind of acrylic you use. I was appalled to discover what extruded acrylic smells like compared to cast acrylic. It’s a real stink bomb. Cast acrylic (like the Proofgrade) is much less smelly.


I’m guessing you started with extruded acrylic, it is the only thing that the family has commented on.


Well, the length of my exhaust run needed a booster fan, but the plus is there is still air being pulled through the unit after the fans stop.


I used the proofgrade medium clear acrylic, not sure if that’s extruded or not. It still smells in here :stuck_out_tongue:


ROFL! I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you…that is the least offensive smelling acrylic of all the acrylics I’ve cut. (By a factor of about forty times.)

Do not try to cut extruded. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(And make sure you let the fan completely spin down before you open the lid.)


Sorry man, what @Jules said. The :proofgrade:is as good as it gets with acrylic. Cut some generic extruded and then the family will be happy for you to go back to :proofgrade: :smile:


I just tried cutting leather and I think it smells even worse. the exhaust is definitely working but it still smells so bad when opening the lid. We have all the doors and windows open to try to air out the house but my mom is now having an asthma fit. Is there anything I can do to reduce the fumes from this? I’m so upset because I’ve been looking forward to getting it for so long and now I feel I can’t use it until I move out -_-.


There are things you can do:

First, it’s generally not the smoke or exhaust that is causing the smell, it is the smoky residue on the grid, the masking and the materials themselves that stinks so badly.

The good news is, if you immediately remove the masking and put it into a closed ziploc bag, the smell becomes negligible in a hurry.

Second, get a spray bottle and fill it with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Use that on your hands to remove the residue. It also works when sprayed on unmasked materials, particularly the proofgrade wood which has a nice finish.

Third - put the leftovers outside if you don’t live in a high humidity area. Again, it’s the residue from the cutting and engraving that causes that odor. It dissipates in a few hours with fresh air. Don’t do that if you live in a high humidity area - the materials will warp.

And some things stink more than others. The woods aren’t so bad. Leather stinks. Acrylic does too.

And for what it’s worth - you get used to it. I hardly notice it now.


Oh, I really hope that won’t be the case! Jules gave some great suggestions above. I would add that if your mom is the one who is experiencing the most sensitivity, maybe you can accommodate her by not using it when she’s home? Use it when she’s out, and make sure to give the house some time to air out before she returns.
Not suggesting that you try to hide it from her or anything, just thinking maybe you can work with her schedule so that you can still enjoy it some while you’re there.

Also, as luck would have it, you did pick the two stinkiest materials there are. Wood smells way better (to me, anyway).

Good luck, I hope you’re able to find solutions that work for you and your family.


You might want to get an exhaust assist fan to place in line between the GF :glowforge: and the exterior vent.

The 200 CFM unit can work well. Let it run fan a minute or 2 before opening the lid (after the GF :glowforge: has completed the job.

It won’t remove all the smell, but it will help to minimize the intensity.

Also, find something that your mom likes a lot (that can be made on the Glowforge) and you will find that she will be more tolerant of the smells.


Thanks everyone, some great advice here. I will try some of these techniques out tomorrow!

I noticed the white tape on the acrylic was supersmelly when I peeled it off, I wonder if peeling it off before cutting/engraving would help a lot with the smell. Of course then you risk burn marks and such right?


I’d just put it in a closed container or baggie. The tape performs other functions as well as capturing most of the smell in a way that’s convenient to lock away. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thanks for writing. I’m glad you reached out about this.

Even with proper filtration, small amounts of smoke and fumes can enter the air around your Glowforge, producing a detectable odor. You may also smell an odor when you open the Glowforge lid, even long after a print is complete. This is not harmful.

However, if you notice a strong, unpleasant or irritating odor when printing, or see smoke, shut off your Glowforge unit immediately.

We’ve created an troubleshooting guide with illustrations. You can see it here. It wraps up with information to send us if you need more help – let us know how it goes!


i can’t remember who but someone on the board also found improvements by properly sealing all the potential hose gaps with that silver tape.


Also maybe a small exhaust hood set up in your work space that you can do the unmasking in and leave it on while you cut and work with your pieces. If you are exhausting the room that it is in continually there should be a little bit of a negative pressure in there that should keep the smalls out from the rest of the house


Yes I suppose you could run the machine in a fume cupboard like they have in Chemistry labs.


or use one of those soldering carbon filter fan combos when unwrapping stinky acrylic if that’s a concern.


In this sensitive case (asthma) I agree with those that say you need to further remove the fumes to the outside somehow. There are lots of options that have been mentioned already. A cheap and easy method could be something as simple as this if you have an additional window in your Glowforge room you can use:

Setting this to exhaust out the window should draw air from other parts of the house so those smells will not find their way out of your space. You can run it long after the cut is done to be sure all odors are evacuated.