Where is this smoke coming from my machine, and why?

I just got a new filter. I am cutting some wood and this is what’s coming out the front? Any advice?
Here’s a video: IMG_0232.MOV - Google Drive

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Have you made sure that it is turned up high enough to draw the smoke out of the machine and that the fan toggle is switched to filter?

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Thank you for responding! Well, it’s a new filter, so I started it low, but then I moved it half way up. How do I check that the fan toggle is switched to filter?

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When the laser head is near the front of the machine, especially on the left and right sides, the air assist fan can push smoke out of the gaps in the front door. I actually put a strip of the fuzzy side of some velcro on the edges of the door so when the door closes there’s something in the gap to help keep smoke from coming out.

As the others have said, though, how hard the exhaust fan is pulling makes a big difference. And there really isn’t a way to draw air out too hard (unless your new filter is something crazy like 1000CFM or something (the machine only needs a maximum of about 250CFM). My advice, turn the exhaust fan up until you’re not getting smoke out the front of the machine. Just watch the top cover to make sure it’s not being pulled down and badly deformed (in which case, turn the fan down a little bit).

Great! Advice - yes, the laser head was close to the front - that makes a lot of sense. Can I ask you for a photo of where you put the velcro on your machine?

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From the Dashboard, click the three dots at the top of the interface. The toggle for the air filter is in the drop down menu.


Ah, yes. That is toggled on.

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Bad advice, I’m afraid.
It is not recommended to cover those gaps. They are designed that way for a reason…to allow air to be pulled into the machine. If the exhaust is clear and fans running normal there will be no smoke leaking from any gaps.


Look at the bottom of your machine. The air inlet is on the right side. The gaps in the door at the front of the machine are contributing little, if anything at all, to the inflow of air.

Just like the smoke that’s leaking out, which is barely leaking out. The slots don’t flow enough to matter, but they do flow enough to let smelly smoke out.


The Glowforge runs on negative pressure in the cutting area by design. If the exhaust is not maintaining this negative pressure, smoke will come out of the cracks and seams in the housing. While they may not contribute much to the flow of air into the machine, smoke coming out of the seams indicates a problem with the Glowforge and should be addressed.


I never said anything different.

Adding a little gasketing to those panel gaps does reduce the leakage of smoke out of the front of the machine for cuts that are at the front of the crumb tray, and it doesn’t do anything measurable to the air being drawn through the machine by the exhaust fan.

I suspect GF assumed they’d always have enough negative pressure at the panel gaps to keep smoke from blowing through from the inside. But the air assist fan produces a pretty stiff breeze and if the laser head stays in the corners for long, it does blow smoke through the gap.

it sounds like you just don’t have enough airflow. i never have issues like that, even when doing slow, deep engraves near the front.


I have never had smoke coming out of any of the gaps in my machine, even when the head is close to the front.


Same with me. 4 years next month with my original machine.


I’m using an 8” turbine inline external fan that isn’t quite double the cfm. No visible smoke comes out but it absolutely has smell coming out. On heavy burns you can see the smoke blown up against the front before it whips out to the left and out the back.

Thank you for reaching out about your new filter! When your Glowforge and Compact Filter are properly set up, you may have some harmless odor during printing which will rapidly dissipate. You may also smell something when you open the Glowforge lid 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. Smoke and fumes could be entering the room in excessive concentrations. We’ve created a troubleshooting guide with illustrations. You can see it here: https://support.glowforge.com/hc/en-us/articles/360034142593-Excessive-Smoke-or-Fumes-During-Print

To help troubleshoot your exhaust, could you send me a few photos of your exhaust system? Specifically, please include pictures of the following:

  1. The exhaust fan from the inside of the unit. To capture this photo:

    1. Turn your Glowforge off

    2. Open the lid

    3. Using both hands, gently pull the printer arm towards you as shown below:

    4. Move your phone or camera inside the Glowforge on the left-hand side, past the metal rail, pointed away from you towards the exhaust hose, to capture a photo like the one below:

  2. A photo of where your exhaust hose attaches to the Glowforge, where your exhaust hose exits the room, and the path your exhaust hose takes from your Glowforge to the exterior vent or Compact Filter

  3. The exhaust connection on the back of your Glowforge, with the exhaust hose removed:

  4. Any area where you see smoke escaping from your Glowforge while printing

Additionally, could you please send over a photo of the top of the filter cartridge? Use flash for best results.

  1. Turn off and unplug your Glowforge Air Filter
    The power switch is located on the back, next to the cord. Turn it off first, then unplug it from the wall.

  2. Open Glowforge Air Filter
    There are four latches holding the top of the Glowforge Air Filter in place. Lift the bottom of all four latches to release them, then lift off the lid.

  3. Take a picture
    Without removing the filter cartridge, take a picture of the top of the cartridge seated in the Glowforge Air Filter and send it to us.

Once I have the photos, we will follow up with the next steps!

This is the same situation I have. I have no visable smoke but the scent seems intense given the airflow, still. Do you feel like your smell dissipates quickly or sticks around?

Really depends. The woods go quick. Acrylic hangs around a long time but it’s it exponentially worse than wood to begin with.