Check the Performance Filter Cartridge

Glowforge Basic/Plus/Pro

The Glowforge Performance Filter lets you safely and comfortably operate your Glowforge printer indoors, without having to vent exhaust to the outside. Slight odors are normal during printing and when you open the lid after a print. (Remember to wait a few minutes after you finish to let any smoke and odors clear.) 

If printing produces smoke and fumes (a strong, unpleasant, or irritating odor) while using the Glowforge Performance Filter, it may be time to replace the cartridge. You can order one from the Glowforge shop.

Here's how to know whether it's time to change your cartridge


Filter cartridge life

First, it's worth understanding how long your cartridge may last. The useful lifespan of a Glowforge Performance Filter cartridge depends on numerous factors. How often you print, the material you use, and whether you mostly cut or engrave can all affect cartridge life. Light users may only need to change filters once a year, while more frequent users might require monthly replacements. Acrylic typically fills the filter very slowly. Hardwoods aren't very taxing but plywood might be, depending on the glue.

Note that we have only tested, and can only recommend, Proofgrade® materials. Other materials may work, but some may clog the cartridge almost immediately. MDF products (including Proofgrade Draftboard) will dramatically drain your filter cartridge life.

More information about the lifespan of a filter cartridge can be found here.

Check the position of the power dial

If the airflow through the filter is too high or too low, it won't work properly. If you detect a strong odor while printing, turn the dial towards FULL to increase the speed of the fan.

  • If the power is on NEW or anything less than FULL, turn the knob all the way to FULL, and then try a quick test print to see if that fixed the problem.
  • If the power is already set to FULL, check the cartridge as described below.

    The power dial located on the front of the air filter unit

Open your Glowforge Performance Filter and check the cartridge

If the power dial is set to FULL and you still detect strong odors during printing, it may be time to change the filter cartridge. Follow these steps to open the filter and check the condition of the cartridge:

  1. Turn off and unplug your Glowforge Performance 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 the lid of the Glowforge Performance Filter by releasing the four latches, and then remove the lid. 

  3. Examine the cartridge. When the filter cartridge is full, it can no longer pull smoke and fumes through the pleated top. This can cause a visible build-up of debris. You may also see bends and/or fibers sticking out of the sides of the pleats. Any of these confirm that it’s time to replace that cartridge.
    The build-up may look like this:

    close-up of the top of a filter cartidge showing debris built up in the cartridge

  4. If you notice any of the conditions in step 3, replace your Glowforge Performance Filter cartridge. You can order one from the Glowforge shop.

If you have any trouble or more questions, please contact our team and we'll be happy to help!

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