What happened to the filter underneath design?

I’m happy to see a filter is available. I was looking forward to a filter that fit underneath; we have very limited space. What happened with that?

They couldn’t make it work to spec. Abandoned the development and offered an adapted filter

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I got an email saying mine was ready, but they really should change the subject line of the email when it is shipped.

The Glowforge Air Filter you bought is ready

The one that I bought was the stacked design.

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Some of the concern expressed by others (not necessarily an official reason) was having to move your unit every time you have to replace the filter–not a very practical option for users that are on their own/unable to lift the unit without help…

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In this case the one you spec’d was a stacked design, but it never existed

The filter pivot is one of the most significant aspects in the development of the Glowforge. The original did look so cool and would have made the most awesome practical sense in terms of being able to use the laser anywhere. It’s tough that it didn’t work out.

This is that classic philosophical question in many traditions: “is the river the same river?” or “Is the table with total replacement the same table?” And most beautifully exemplified in this awesome reconstruction:


I’m glad that they realized that reinventing the wheel wasn’t going to work out well for many good reasons. It makes sense they finally decide to just offer a different filter product that has better access for cleaning and that it is somewhat mobile.


The having to lift the unit thing always seemed bonkers to me. How was it not designed to have the cartridge slide out like a drawer? That seems like such a simple way to deal with filter changes, and was probably what most people were imagining when they saw the original design. I get that they ended up not being able to make any of it work, but that particular part seemed very odd from the start.

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Yeah, they only announced the design change on the forum, so only people who were checking the forum regularly knew about it. I feel like that should have warranted an email.

The physics of multi-stage air filtering at this volume simply doesn’t allow for an efficient “flat” design. You could probably build something about 12" tall but it would require completely custom filter elements, and imho GF isn’t selling enough of these to justify the R&D expense. There’s a very good reason their own filter mimics the dimensions of the “compact filter” they’ve been selling.

In my “Your filter is ready” email Dan said they’ve sold 10,000 of them. Considering they thought that was a good number to build the laser itself, I’d think that was enough to do what R&D was necessary for the filter.

No amount of R&D was going to make the original “under unit” design practical, physics is physics. I always thought that was vaporware and was completely unsurprised when it changed—save for the fact that it took so long.

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