Venting out the window and Neighbor Safety

I live in a town home with one shared wall (I am an end unit). I have a craft room perfect for the glowforge with a nice large window. I just realized though that by venting to the back, it has the potential of affecting my neighbor. Either by:

  1. Falling on top of them (2nd floor room)
  2. If they have a window open maybe the particles would flow into their room.

So my question for the group is, once the particles are vented to the outside, do the particles diffuse quickly diffuse in open air? Or due to proximity there is no safe way to use the glowforge? Which leads to how far should other neighbors/homes/people be from where you exhaust out the particles? I have no garage and assume no other rooms in the house would work.

Or do I just buy/build a filter and all is well :smiley:

I would assume there is a lot at play here that could affect the safety/comfort of others while using your glowforge vented out a window. The odor and harmful gasses will disperse at a relatively quick rate due to the forced exhaust however depending on the breeze or location of other windows there would be potential of venting right back into your or another person’s house. Just like anything. If your neighbors are cooking BBQ you can smell it so will be the fate of cutting something on a glowforge if your are vented out a window. If you are worried about the smell and fumes best to get the filter as it will take care of that issue.

I imagine you release way more toxic gasses from frying a chicken, BBQ’ing or smoking a single cigarette than the GF makes. It just can’t cut that much that fast. Dispersion in air is pretty good, and unless they have an air intake right near you, I wouldn’t worry about it.

As an example I have a smoker at home, which produces a huge amount of smoke (deliberately of course). There is the air-intake for our whole-house fresh-air exchange system which is 5’ from the smoker with a powerful intake fan, that sucks in smoke pretty handily if I forget to shut it off (although not enough to set off the smoke detectors), but the window 20’ away is fine to have open, because the smoke disperses so much.

Fellow smoker here, I hope you’re not generating too much, thin blue smoke all the way!

Amount of smoke is relative. Laser cutting a piece of paper is nothing compared to a pound of apple wood smoking away even when it isn’t pouring out… Also I found when smoking salmon you have to be fairly dense with smoke (as opposed to say a chicken or turkey) as it cooks so fast that you need some serious smoke…

People react differently to different smells.
Smelling a chicken cooking will result in a different reaction than smelling plastic burning.

Every now and then I get a wiff of my neighbors dryer vent and I can’t stand the smell of what ever she uses. It just makes me sick.


Invite the neighbors over to make some nifty trinkets in the first week. Should hold most complaints from ever happening if they know what is going on and are excited about it.


You’re thinking from a “forward thinking” perspective (I like that). However, some people are just miserable hypocrites that go out of their way to complain about anything that others are doing.

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For those people, we use the laser to make a special something extra:


I think I love you!

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I also live in a town home with shared walls on both sides of me. I do have a single car garage and plan on using the forge in there. I am also concerned about the smell of cutting various materials.

I bought the pro with filter so Im hoping that will take care of most of the smell before getting exhausted out from underneath the garage door (I have no window in there).

I am keeping an eye on the threads regarding filters and the DIY ones as being in Canada when it comes time to replace the filter it will probably cost me twice as much as the others in the US.

EDIT: oh wait, I just realized that I remember reading a post that said you cannot use the provided forge filter with the exhaust hose at the same time. It’s one or the other. That might make me rethink getting the provided filter as I dont want to use the forge in my closed garage without venting as well. Im sure the filter is good but I would rather be extra careful about what Im breathing.

You remember correctly. If you have the filter in use, all air goes into the same room as the Forge is sitting in (after filtration of course)

Customized with the black poison frog dip on the points…

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Be careful, you build a board with a nail in it, and then your enemy will build a bigger board with a bigger nail. Soon someone will build a board with a nail so big, it will destroy us all!

board with nail


Unless I’m completely wrong, if you did get the filter, you can also detach the filter and switch to hose if need be. Such as waiting for replacement, or what not. Or am I wrong?

Yes, @jordanloshinsky, you can switch back and forth between the filter and the hose. You just can’t use both at the same time.

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Well since we don’t know much about the setup still of the filter , I am going to guess it connects to the filter base through the same port as the regular vent hose, just bends around. Maybe just put a splitter on it with blast gates too switch between both?

Am I stating the obvious, rehashing everyone else’s conclusions from long ago, and need sleep? Sorry

Not sure about safety, I think comfort is more of an issue. Venting our unfiltered laser outdoors we can smell the fumes from two blocks away, especially when cutting/engraving plastics and rubbers. When I would frequent a laser cutter coffeeshop in Central Tokyo, they would filter before exhausting outdoors and it still sometimes smelled pretty bad within a block radius (maybe clogged filters?). Many unhappy pedestrians, those sidewalks are really crowded.

Was it worse than walking by the air exhaust of a pachinko parlor? I thought since they lived with those the pedestrians would tolerate about anything.

Back in high school on the first day of chemistry class, my teacher was showing the class around the room. He came to the fume hood, an area with a dedicated fan and vent system where you could work on experiments that generated hazardous gasses, and he explained how it worked and the importance of respiratory safety. After the explanation, one of the students asked the question, ‘Where do the hazardous gasses get vented to?’

Without missing a beat he said, ‘To the English department’.