Anyone else about sick of their machine?

The other thing that’s important besides cleaning is making sure your material is FLAT. I see people complaining all the time about not getting cut-through, and the photos they post show the material just lying on the bed of the GF with nothing holding it down. None of the stuff we cut in the GF is going to be absolutely flat – NONE of it. There’s always a tiny bit of warp, and that’s all it takes to keep the precise settings from not working. Magnets and hold-down pins are your friends!

I’ve had my GF for 8 months now. I can only remember ONE instance of it not cutting through PG material that wasn’t explained by dirty lenses or non-flat materials. The problem never repeated itself, and all I can figure is that I got a sub-standard piece of PG. Considering how much of the stuff I’ve used, though, that’s a pretty good record.


I’m well aware of it needing to be flat… I stack my material to prevent warping, or as much as possible. I and I always use very strong magnets to flatten out may material, and is a lot of cases, it doesn’t matter. Still doesn’t cut all the way through, consistently.

Then you should open a support ticket and have them check it out!


Confused. Your MacBook Pro isn’t stainless - it’s anodized aluminum. And it shouldn’t take 10 passes to run an engrave on it.

The Glowforge is a 40/45w CO2 laser. It’s capabilities are going to be that of a 40/45w CO2 laser. The machine is what you make of it and the results are only a result of what you put into it.

I don’t necessarily disagree with the obfuscation of real world inches per minute but it’s also not that big of a deal to make the conversion. It takes seconds.

As far as power, good luck with any standard there. You might get some mA inputs on some machines, some are % inputs, etc. and then you still don’t know what the real world power actually is unless you’re using testing equipment like @jamesdhatch mentions.


I have certainly had many issues as I have learned my way from knowing nothing about the laser cutting. I too purchased the Glowforge because they promised that I could operate it from knowing nothing. I have too many friends that bought lasers, 3d printers and CNCs that never got the first piece out of them, I paid 7K for a CNC that never worked properly and had a 3"x 6" operational area and was several generations more primitive than what is available now. Even so the natural limitations of the concept I had not considered such as the minimum diameter of a cut was also its maximum width and the material severely limits the highest speed no matter how strong the machine.

The laser too is not magic. I had many ideas before mine arrived that are not possible due to the nature of the machine and the universe that only trying them out got across to me. Another friend insisted on cutting metal (he has worked mainly in iron) and so got a plasma cutter, however has found his universe very limited as well most painfully not being able to engrave as we can.

The design I provided to you above pretty much covers all the bases for settings as you can run one a full power and a second at half power etc and have a permanent record of what works and what doesn’t. I have a box full of them just for the different woods. you can also use it on a bit of stainless with several different formulas that folk have noted and see what formula works best for you.

I got a stack of anodized aluminum business cards and was not really happy with the results, Since then I do a carving on a bit of scrap and contact information on the other side and those have been very popular as folks keep them handy just because they like the carving and show it to their friends something you do not get with any printed business card.

I have not yet attempted to work on anything too good to lose for the very reason that it would be a very bad thing to lose it, Even the more valuable hardwoods have taken several tries to get right losing much in the process. The design above puts you in the ballpark but cannot account for differences in the grain of the wood that may be more laser resistant in some places than others and almost nothing I have made did not take far more hand finishing that the design and cutting did.


FWIW, looking through the recommended settings for Cermark, I see this at the top:

These settings are designed to help guide the user to the optimum
parameters as quickly as possible. Please note that there will be variations in substrate finish
and between different brands of laser. It may still be necessary to perform further refinement of
settings to achieve the desired mark. 

Guide. Quickly. Variation. Different brands. Refinement.

I can commiserate with translating the speed settings over. It takes a few seconds to do.

But the reality is that you’re almost assuredly going to have to test anyways. I’d say the good thing about using a product like cermark is that you can test right on the product itself, no? Either, A. Have delivered too much power and vaporized the product leaving no permanent mark, B. Nailed the power and speed and have a good, permanent mark, or C. not going to have applied enough power and leaving no permanent mark.

I can understand gripes and concerns relating to alignment, some of the stuck on focusing/scanning issues, etc. but I can’t really get behind something like having to test on materials… perhaps that added nothing to the convo.

The flipside to the comment above about “if I have a complaint about something and so do you, then comment. If no one else does, then the forum stays short,” I’d like to imagine they’d like to hear various viewpoints on a topic at hand. What may be a dislike for you, may not be an issue or even advantageous on my end. Point being, why would they want to hear from people with only a singular viewpoint?


Thank you! The idea of setting the wood is good. I have tried rose wood, zebra wood, and other exotics with lots of charring. Did t think of the wetting it.

Advice taken. I see your points well.

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I was talking with a friend earlier about photography. He is curious and knows nothing about cameras, lenses, etc… I brought up ISO, fstops, and shutter speed.

Take this as an example. It is easily understandable with adjusting any one of those units in one direction and adjusting one other in an equal amount to the opposite balances back out.

With the Glowforge it is just way different with their measuring units. They don’t correlate at all. They are not in multiples if you know what I mean. 50 is not half of 100 and 500 is half of 1000 with the Glowforge.

I’m with you on that. Same for me.

Here is a recommended optimization process for Cermark. The settings there are in S for speed and P for power…

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I would love for there to be a percentage 0-100 for the Glowforge. It would tell you that this is max and this is min. And equal increments in between. Why 0-100 and then the full power? What is 100 compared to full power? It’s unnecesaarily confusing.

The more I think about it…I could see Glowforge knowing exactly what it is and they are using all of us as a guinea pig. Not that other companies don’t do the same.

They might be testing all kinds of parameters knowing that for some users they will have to replace parts earlier than others due to power. But they get the data they need.

Why 100 and then full power? Is full power 200? Is it 110? Are the possibilities between the two that they are unsure about and haven’t unlocked in the software?

I know you don’t want anyone to tell you to search the forum. So I did that for you.

Here’s the announcment that introduced Full Power.

And some clarifications that Dan made.

And for completeness, here’s the search I did.

To summarize, precision power is very stable and scalable. For Full Power, they do… something and deliver significantly more power. They have not said what that something is, and have not said how much of an increase it is.


Thank you for the suggestions and explanation.

Do we know what wattage, so to speak, that 100 is? Or “Full Power” is since they say it is not the max the tube is capable of?

I just got a plasma CNC and the lack of engraving is a noticeable issue when coming from a laser (& you can only do metal). But you can cut metal :grinning:

There’s an attachment he might be able to add to his plasma though - it’s called a “plate marker”. That allows you to do engraving on metal. It’s not Glowforge 3D but it’s good for etching into the metal. Then you can use a variety of techniques to color the engrave.

Or, with a laser you can mark it with a number of marking solutions. Thermark/Cermark are probably the best known but they have cheaper competitors now that have equally good results.

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Zebrawood is very flammable. If it gets a bit to turn red and burn like a coal that will continue till the whole piece burns up. Mahogany also will do this easier and Ash will also turn to ash if it gets started. Rosewood is several different species and I have not tried any of them, though they should be better than those three, but then I had higher expectations of Mahogany.

A bit of water soaked cloth will put out those burning coals but if you open the lid and stop the cut the piece is ruined anyway as you cannot start again part of the way through. I did manage to engrave some Mahogany by getting it wet doing a single engrave pass then soaking it again and doing another light pass with the wet cloth always available as soon as it finished.


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Thanks for the info! I need to take time to play with my machine more. Just so busy all of the time.

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