Brand New Warranty replacement machine will no longer cut through my leather

We received our replacement glow forge last Thursday and it worked great for my first few cuts. I come home this weekend to cut a few more products with both the proof grade settings and the custom settings I use and the the glow forge laser no longer cuts all the way through the material. I used the same piece of leather, I set focus manually, (I insured that the red laser was on the material when I set the focus) and tried the custom setting and set the appropriate material thickness. I have insured the printer head is seated properly and the plate is installed properly and securely. The lenses have been cleaned all connections are plugged in including at the laser head and on the motherboard on the left hand side of the machine. Same leather same settings worked last Thursday. They no longer worked as of yesterday and or today.

Just another forum user poking my head in before staff show up.

I won’t ask about possibly mistaken settings as you seem sure they’re the same ones.

Any chance this occurred after a cleaning? If so, possibly the lens got put back in upside down? It happens and will mess with cutting capabilities.

Do any of the settings work on anything else or just on your leather piece? Was this proofgrade leather? Staff will talk about not providing support for non-pg material if it isn’t so showing that pg material fails at pg settings will help you get their assistance.

We just received this glow forge last Thursday and these settings worked. On yesterday I attempted to cut a piece which worked sort of… I had to utilize a utility knife to finish the cut. Next print same settings didn’t cut through at all same piece of leather. Adjusted the the speed and power to proofgrade settings with the same negative results. Then I cleaned all of the lenses which should not have been required since I barely used the machine since Thursday (maybe 25min of print time). I unfortunately no longer have any of the thick natural leather proofgrade. Since this is my second glowforge I will confident its either an error with the machine or there software

I did install the lenses correctly I appreciate it though lots of times its little things overlooked.

1 Like

If it’s not Proofgrade leather, it might not cut through completely with the Proofgrade settings. I found that leather was one of the hardest things to cut through in one pass…since the finish and thickness and “fuzziness factor” on the veg-tanned stuff was highly variable.

One thing that did work extremely well, (but it’s a lot of work), is to finish the back of the leather with a bone or glass plate slicker and preferably some Tokonole first. (Do the burnishing ahead of time.) It really helps. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

For the sake of trouble shooting I tried the proofgrade settings. When I first started cutting the leather which I buy I had to modify the settings to make it work which are the setting I now use. The manual settings I use worked on Thursday yet did not work yesterday or today (same settings) I do appreciate the reply.

Try slicking it down or using a mask on the bottom of the leather…it keeps the air from getting into all those fibers. (Air doesn’t burn, so that causes a lot of the issues I think.)

1 Like

Potential solution… I took the QR code from some thinner leather and placed on top of my thicker leather and allowed the machine to recognize the “Proofgrade medium natural leather” I then entered the manual setting I have always used and set the focus manually on the thicker leather. The machine cut perfectly!! This is why I feel its a problem with there software. With my last machine I did the same thing with the QR code for an issue we had with the machine not able to properly measure the material thickness. I worked for awhile until we received our replacement.

Using the QR code is exactly the same as choosing the material in the pull-down menu. If you had it read the QR code and then changed the settings and set focus, the QR code had nothing to do with your outcome.


Maybe there’s some sort of bug?..what you’ve detailed will override everything that scanning the QR code sets up. That makes no sense for it to not work from purely manual input vs overriding automatic setup with the same manual settings…


1 Like

Yes i understand that, if you would have read all of my other messages you would have realized that this was a trouble shooting step and a temporary solution that I found to work. If it was as easy as choosing an option from the drop down menu I would not have created this thread. Thank you

Yes it makes no sense at all which is why I stated it must be a bug or problem on there end. This solution I described worked for two different GlowForge Pros. I tried to explain this to glowforge and instead they sent me a new glowforge that which I appreciate but do not believe the hardware is the root of the issues that many experience.

Sorry if my observation annoyed you, but I’m trained in troubleshooting (hardware, software, and humans) and it requires logic in order to ferret out the issue. Logic says the QR code working was a coincidence, and nothing to do with the problem.

It’s much more likely that your non-PG leather is not consistent enough to cut through every time as PG leather would. Leather is a very inconsistent product. PG leather is expensive for a reason – it’s the best cuts of the highest quality leather in order to ensure consistent cut-through.


Ma’am I do appreciate you trying to help and I’m not questioning you credentials however if this was a material issue I would not have created this thread. Please refrain from further comments and leave this to the glowforge support team. The issues I am having now are consistent with the issues I’ve had with my last machine which glowforge determined warranted a replacement.

@geek2nurse was just trying to be helpful. You came to this forum looking for help. Telling someone to shut up when you asked for help is rude and impolite. (Please refrain from further comments and leave this to the glowforge support team.) If you do not want forum members help, just email glowforge or preface your remarks with “I only want glowforge team members to respond.” I personally took affront at your snapping at @geek2nurse.


I notice that you said you were out of proofgrade leather. If you are asking for assistance with anything at all, other than proofgrade material, then I don’t think the glowforge support team will be of much help. All discussion of settings for non-pg material must be moved to the Beyond the Manual category. The community tries to step in and help when the GF peeps can’t, but they won’t offer to help if you don’t want it.


I’m sorry to hear that you’ve run into some trouble with your Glowforge not cutting through leather recently. I see some fellow Glowforge owners offer some good information, and I will be happy to try and help out.

To check for any potential causes of cut trouble, can you do the following?

  • Print the Gift of Good Measure on Proofgrade material, using Proofgrade settings.

  • When the print finishes, leave the lid closed and wait until the fans stop and the picture updates.

Check the completed print:

  • If the Gift of Good Measure fails to cut through, take a photo of the front and back of the print and attach these photos to your reply.

Next, I’d like to check out the optical components from your unit as well:

  • Both windows
    • The printer head window, on the left hand side of the printer head
    • The laser window on the inside left of the Glowforge
  • The printer head lens
    • Both sides of the lens, top and bottom
  • The mirror inside the printer head
  • The bottom of the printer head

Once we have those pictures, I will review them for any next best steps. Thank you!

Leather is a particularly susceptible to variations within a single piece (except bonded leather, of course, which is basically dried leather paste).

Even if it’s been split to a uniform thickness, some spots will naturally be denser or looser than others. This is why different parts of the hide are reccomended to be used for different applications. Shoulders make greater straps and bags while bellies are too stretchy to be useful for large pieces the same way, etc. You can see see this on yourself if you compare the skin of your elbow to your back. Laser cutting leather is exceptionally sensitive to these variations in density.

1 Like

Hi @kradcliff87. It’s been a little while since our last response, and we wanted to check in with you. Please feel free to try the test print and send any of the requested photos if you’re still running into trouble. We’ll be here to help!

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email