Glowforge machines, as well as all other CO2 Laser Cutting machines, give off potentially dangerous fumes that need to be vented. Seriously, you don’t want to take the chance of breathing in toxic fumes and passing out from working in a poorly ventilated space. Your creations are not worth your life. Now that I’ve sufficiently scared you into being a vent-or-die advocate, let’s talk about your options for safely venting your Glowforge Laser Cutting machine.
Connect your Exhaust Vent Hose
All Glowforge models include an 8′ exhaust vent hose (Fig. 1) in their Accessory Kit mailed to you along with your machine. The exhaust connection on the back of the machine is a standard 4″ exhaust vent, similar to what one would use with a clothes dryer.
The exhaust vent hose included with your purchase is rather flimsy and will tear the more you connect and disconnect it. Also, the machine’s exhaust port is rather shallow, and admittedly you will be fighting it to get the hose and ring clamp to stay attached. Save your knuckles and yourself from frustration, and purchase an exhaust port extender.
Fig. 2: Recommended Exhaust Vent Upgrades:
- Glowforge Exhaust Port Extender by Martinson Modern Design
- Heavy-Duty Exhaust Vent Hose
- Thumb Twist Ring Clamps
- Adjustable Metal Window Dryer Vent
The installation order I found to be the easiest:
Step 1: Attach the Exhaust Port Extender
Step 2: Put the Ring Clamp loosely onto the dryer vent hose.
Step 3: Slip the dryer vent hose on the Port Extender OR your Glowforge Port.
Step 4: Tighten the ring clamp. Hand-tight – not super-duper tight. Overtightening can crack or tear the exhaust hose. It will look similar to Fig. 3 when done.
Vent Outdoors thru your Window or Wall
For many people, this will be the easiest and most cost-effective venting option.
You need to have a window or 4” dryer connection installed through your wall that will vent outside within 8 feet from the back of your machine. 8 feet sounds like a lot, but it quickly gets used up when your Glowforge is in the corner and your window is across the room.
Your machine is less than 8 feet from a window:
Simply attach the exhaust vent hose to the rear of your machine with the included clamp ring, or our recommended upgrades and then let the other end of the hose hang out your window. Glowforge recommends that at least 3′ dangle outside the window if the window will be open and is not sealed airtight around the hose.
Alternatively, instead of just dangling a hose out the window, you could attach the exhaust hose end to a specially designed window vent. Metal is best, most secure, longer-lasting, and can withstand the heat. Fig. 4 shows common Glowforge window venting practices.
Recommended Window Vent Components
Your machine is more than 8 feet from a window:
With long continuous runs of exhaust vent hose, you will lose airflow and efficiency, to the point that you will not be able to operate your machine safely unless you add more airflow to your venting system.
Best affordable option when you can’t move the machine closer to the window, is to add an inline exhaust fan to help push the fumes outside.
I use an AC Infinity Cloudline S4 series inline duct fan. This fan is super quiet and eliminated all traces of fumes in my workspace. My exhaust hose run is about 10 ft.
You’ll need an extra exhaust hose, an extra 2 hose clamps, and a power outlet nearby for the inline fan. Both the Glowforge and the inline fan has 4″ exhaust ports. Figure 5, this is what the installed inline fan looks like, with hoses attached to each end.
Clean your Inside Air with an Air Filter
What can you do if you are using your machine in a room that doesn’t have a window?
If you know for certain you won’t be able to vent your machine through a window, then you’ll have to use a portable air filter machine to scrub clean your exhaust air to return clean breathable air to your surroundings.
If you haven’t yet purchased your Glowforge, be sure to select the Compact Air Filter upon checkout. These are not yet available for separate purchase, or outside of the USA. Heads up, they aren’t cheap! $995 for the base Filter machine, plus $250 for every new filter cartridge.
The Glowforge Compact Filter upgrade eliminates the need for outside ventilation. It sits on the ground next to your Glowforge and cleans the air coming out of your Glowforge, allowing you to operate it anywhere in your home, school, or office!
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