Bamboo Spoons- Design Randomly Blurring?

Hello all. I’ve been chugging away at engraving bamboo utensils, because it’s fun so why not, right? Only I’ve run into a problem that I’m not sure how to solve/troubleshoot. I will test an engrave on my “tester spoon,” and it will turn out just fine, and I’ll use the same settings on the same style spoon, in the same spot, only it’ll blur. So back to the “tester” I go, and suddenly it won’t engrave right on the tester either. No matter where I put it, what focus or settings I choose, the originally crisp engrave I had will blur itself.

1-perfect_engrave 2-the_problem_child

I also thought “oh well it’s because one side is curved differently then the other,” but no, it now “blurs” the engrave no mater what I do. I thought to test it on a piece of proofgrade and the engrave turned out just fine. I even tried it with other designs, to similar effect- it’ll en grave just right once, maybe twice, and then never again. I’ve reset/calibrated the focus, also.

Any ideas? Please tell me I’m overlooking something simple.

are you using set focus or setting the focus height manually?

I’ve tried both, but have a little more luck with set focus then manually doing it.

The blurring is a sign of the focus changing because the auto-focus hit the wrong spot next to the spoon instead of directly on it.

When you are engraving on something really skinny like a spoon handle, you will want to over-ride the focus height to be the height of the spoon above the tray. You need to set it manually in the fly-out for the settings. (That’s the only place where you can over-ride the auto-focus. Once you’ve set it up once per Engrave operation, the settings will stay there if you use the same height in the Unknown material slot and use the exact same value the next time you run the job. So write it down.)


Thanks! That’s part of what’s been so frustrating about this, I’ll have it turn out perfectly on one but then defocus on another, despite using the same settings. But if that’s what the problem is then there might be variance in the utensils I’m using, or maybe the lens needs to be cleaned instead of calibrated (ugh).


After a little more trial and error I think I’ve finally got it figured out. Part of it was the focus (which I’ve now written down!), but another was the grain of the bamboo. I reoriented the design and the utensil and it’s helped.

I’m pretty sure I’ve got a black thumb when it comes to the glowforge, though- one of the settings I used turned out fantastic. I used it on the same spoon, same design, just on the other side- and I almost started a fire. None of my coworkers believe me when I tell them how bad I am at this. Getting better, though, so yay. (Also don’t have to do any classes on it, so an even bigger yay).


You are becoming one with your machine. It is a process. A price to be paid. Enjoy the ride. :sunglasses: