Cleaning Your Air Assist Fan



The air assist fan is located at the back of the printer head and will need to be cleaned from time to time. All you need is a can of compressed air and these instructions.

If you run into trouble while cleaning your fan, please contact Glowforge Support and give us as much detail as possible about what went wrong.

Before you do anything, turn off your Glowforge printer and unplug it.

To clean your air assist fan, you will need to do these four things:

  • Remove the printer head
  • Unhook the driver belt
  • Remove the carriage plate
  • Spray the fan with compressed air

We’ll walk you through it.

Remove the Printer Head

Here’s how to remove the printer head so you can access the carriage plate.

  1. Remove the Printer Head

    Holding only the finished black surfaces, grasp the printer head as shown. Pull gently up and back to disengage the magnets and remove the head.

  2. Unplug the Wire Ribbon

    Push down fully on the wire ribbon tab to unplug the wire ribbon from the printer head. Pull the wire ribbon gently away and tuck it into the laser arm.

  3. Place the head aside


Unhook the Driver Belt

Next, you’ll need to unhook the driver belt so the carriage plate and belt come off as a unit.

  1. Center carriage plate

    Gently slide the carriage plate to the center of the laser arm so it’s out of the way.

  2. Locate laser arm pulley

    Reach under the laser arm on the right side and feel for where the black belt engages a round pulley on the bottom of the laser arm.

  3. Take the belt off of the laser arm

    Place your thumb between the belt and the laser arm near the pulley. Now, push down on the belt while sliding the belt to the right towards the pulley. The belt will slide off of the pulley. Don’t be afraid to use pressure.

  4. Unhook the belt from the motor on the left side


Remove the Carriage Plate

You’re finally ready to remove the carriage plate and access the air assist fan.

  1. Grasp carriage plate as shown

    Place both index fingers on the rear corners of the plate and both thumbs on top of the front wheels. Use your other fingers to support the plate.

  2. Pull plate toward you

    While keeping the laser arm stable with your thumbs, use your index fingers to pull the plate towards you as far as it will go.

  3. Push plate down and back to disengage

    Push down with your thumbs to angle the plate down and towards the back of the Glowforge until the plate pops off of the laser arm.

Clean the Fan

See the black plastic fan on the underside of the carriage plate? This is the air assist fan.


You can clear debris or buildup with a can of compressed air.

If you notice damage to the fan itself, there is significant build up that can't be cleaned off or the fan feels like it doesn't spin freely, we recommend replacing the fan. The fan is part of the carriage plate assembly, which is available in our shop here.

Putting It All Back Together

Once you’re done inspecting and cleaning, you can replace the carriage plate and try a test print. You’ll do this by

  • reattaching the carriage plate
  • reattaching the driver belt
  • and replacing the printer head and crumb tray

Reattach the Carriage Plate

Start by reattaching the carriage plate.

  1. Unwrap the belt and hold the carriage plate as shown

    Place your index fingers on the back corners of the carriage plate and your thumbs on top of the front wheels.

  2. Hook the plate back on the laser arm

    Hook the rear wheels on the groove under the laser arm. The front wheels should be mostly visible.

  3. Pull plate forward and up to engage

    Pull the plate forward until the front wheels clear the laser arm then angle the plate up until the the wheels are in line with the rail. Release the plate – it should grasp the rail firmly.

Reattach Driver Belt

The next step is to put the driver belt back on both left and right sides of the laser arm.

  1. Pick up the right side of the belt

    Make sure the belt is not twisted. The outside of the belt should be smooth and the inside should have ridges.

  2. Hook the belt onto the pulley on the right on the underside of the laser arm


  3. Attach the belt on the left side of the laser arm

    Using your left hand, set the belt on the front half of the motor (the silver piece on the left hand side below the laser arm) and support it with your fingers by placing them under the motor. The belt will not be fully on the motor. Use your left thumb and fingers to clamp the belt firmly in place and apply pressure.

  4. Guide the belt around the pulley

    Still holding the belt and motor firmly with your left hand, use the pressure from your left fingers to guide the belt clockwise around the pulley as your right hand slowly pushes the carriage plate to the left. The belt should roll onto the pulley until it is secure.

  5. Check range of motion

    Gently slide the carriage plate back and forth on the laser arm to ensure that it travels smoothly. If it doesn’t, remove the plate and try again.

Replace Printer Head and Crumb Tray

Put the printer head and crumb tray back where they belong so you can run a test print.

  1. Carefully pick up the printer head

    Do not touch any part of the printer head that is not flat black metal. Again, be especially careful of the yellow window on the side of the head and the lens on the underside.

  2. Slide the ribbon into the printer head

    Take the ribbon end out of where you tucked it into the laser arm. Make sure the tab on the wire ribbon is facing up. Slide the ribbon into the head until it clicks.

  3. Attach the head to the laser arm

    As shown, lower the printer head over the metal plate so that it rests next to the two round posts. Then push it gently away from you – you’ll feel a “click” as magnets pull the printer head until it sits snugly atop the metal plate.

  4. Gently push the laser arm all the way to the back of the bed

  5. Slide the crumb tray back in

    Be careful not to bump the laser head. Little feet on the bottom of the crumb tray should engage corresponding dimples in the base of the Glowforge so it doesn’t slide around. If the feet don’t sit in those dimples, the Glowforge printer may not be able to focus correctly, and the camera will be out of alignment.

  6. Close the front door and lid of your Glowforge, plug it in, and turn it back on


  7. Run a test print

    If you can, record a video of your test print so we have as much information as possible if you still have questions or concerns.

If you run into trouble while working through these steps, or if you have any questions for our team, please contact our team and we'll be happy to help!

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