What are people using to filter?

I read some of the other strands about filters but what are people using out there? I bought a thousand dollar filter that worked for a bit but now smoke is coming up through the glass and all my troubleshooting has been fruitless. I appreciate that for some dumping fumes out the window is acceptable but my landlord already threatened to evict and sue. I understand that glow forge execs are still piecing together the filters for some eventual release but after 2 and a half years of waiting I can’t let a filter stand in the way of progress. Is anybody successfully using a 3rd party filter that they would recommend? Or am I doomed to wander the earth laser-less until 2022 or whenever glow forge finally is capable of producing a worthwhile filter?

Have you changed your filter?

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Changing the filter was surprisingly the first thing i did. I’m assuming you are using no filter?

If the filter loaded up, it’s entirely possible that the face plate or exhaust fan did too. Have you checked those, (and the hose), to make sure that nothing needs cleaning?

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TBH I haven’t even used it that much, the filter did have some soot but i hadn’t looked much at the exhaust fan , it seems like its embedded behind plastic. Do you have a link to an explanation of how to check/clean that? I will try to find one. It does seem the smoke barely leaves the print area so perhaps it is an issue with the fan. Thank you for your input.

Oh yeah, it is a common problem and there are actual tutorials written up on cleaning them.

First thing to check though is just to disconnect the hose from the back of the machine and look at that face plate. It does load up and can block the air being sucked out of the machine properly. If it doesn’t get sucked out, it has no where to go but out through the cracks around the lid.


If the filter is clean and the exhaust fan is not clogged my uninformed guess is that the fans in whatever filter unit you are using are not sucking enough to match or exceed the output of the main unit exhaust fans. Will act like a partial baffle.


IIRC, the GF internal fans are pushing 200cfm. You want to make sure you’re not running your filter lower than that or, as @rpegg says, it could be blocking proper air flow and that could result in smoke coming out the front.

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I have this in line and one of these (Blue Whale) sitting un the room taking out whatever escapes from Puffette, or even something like popcorn stink from the kitchen. I have finally realized that all I need is a square box with a 12-inch hole in the side and a 4-inch hole in the top to take in everything as the Blue Whale can do two and a half times more air than the Glowforge. One of the hoses fell off the other day and while there was smoke about as the Whale was about 5 feet away, the room was cleared out rather fast.

I’m always interested in finding out what people are doing to filter their GF’s. I can’t believe so many people are just venting out windows without irate neighbors/family.

I’ve got a BOFA filter (Base Access 1) and they projected their carbon insert to last me about 6 months, but I’ve been burning through one every ~6 weeks (extremely heavy usage on weekends, and 3-4hrs/day Mon-Fri). BOFA had me a take pictures of the visible portions of my filter and they said (paraphrasing here) that it looks like the laser is running really dirty. Not sure if this is a GF-specific problem or not. But if it is, I have a hunch this may be leading to the problems with the GF filter’s development. (1,000% pure speculation on my part, based on absolutely nothing but my own limited experience)

I just installed one of BOFA’s inline pre-filters this weekend in hopes that it will extend the life of my carbon. (two carbon inserts cost about as much as the pre-filter, so it was a no-brainer) The BOFA runs at 230 CFM but automatically senses what speed is needed. So since the pre-filter & some elbows leading in/out of it naturally slows down the flow a bit, I have to make sure to force the BOFA to run at the highest speed each time I run the laser.


Very big and open country. Never lived in an apartment, or even a neighborhood.


i wonder if it’s that the “laser is running really dirty” or that you’re cutting/engraving a higher percentage of dirty burning materials than most of their clients. i’m hard-pressed to think of how one 40w laser could burn material “dirtier” than another 40w laser. but i could be wrong on that.

i think some of it may come down to where things are venting out. mine vents out about 25 feet in the air out of a finished attic window . and the house on that side of me sits about 6-8 feet lower as i’m up a hill a bit. so my vent is level with their roof peak and about 20-25 feet away. i haven’t had any issue with the fumes dissipating.

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A laser is a laser. Most don’t use the MDF and ply-like materials that GF sells. Dirty stuff.


yup. that MDF core (draftboard) cuts “cleaner” (i.e., smoother and w/o voids), but burns dirtier (i.e., outputs a lot of crap through the vent hole).

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These were my assumptions going into the conversation with BOFA as well.

This last carbon insert was installed around New Years and it’s ready to be replaced. I haven’t cut more that an hour’ worth of MDF on it and well less than that in PG walnut ply. Otherwise all cutting cast & mirrored acrylic here. (rarely any engraving). Although I did have about 18hrs of cutting on black acrylic which smells horrible. But even then, you wouldn’t think that would be enough to burn through 40# of carbon in 1/5th of its projected lifespan.

Needless to say, I’d love to find someone else on here running a BOFA to hear their experience.

We run a much bigger BOFA at work on a universal pls6/75. Probably an even mix between clear acrylic and Baltic birch with some veneer and once a big batch of foam core/gator board. No MDF that I know of. We’re at 232 hours of run time on this filter set, no replacement needed yet.

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Our neighbors haven’t said anything but I assume the laser in the house is quieter than the plasma cutter and other machines in the garage. I may be underestimating the noise and stuff but it never crossed my mind that it would be enough for complaints.


One time I engraved a bunch of Oak on a still wind day and the neighbors came over worried that the house was on fire, I am just glad they did not call the fire department first and ask questions later. but for the most part it is hard to tell. There is a lot less smoke than I expected and unless I start cutting a lot of leather or Acrylic there is less smell than a barbecue.

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