Buying & using "Proofgrade Materials"

Hi! I’ve been using my glowforge since I got it a little over a year ago now? Before that in college (art school) I always was printing on CAD 3D Printer using Rhino files & also a Laser Printer to do what glowforge does. I have the Glowforge pro & the only thing I’m having issues w/ is settings & speeds. I understand it’s obviously for Glowforge preferable we use their “proof grade materials” Which I’m more than willing to do! But I’ve literally been trying to buy acrylic on the Glowforge “shop” site for almost a year? Especially in thee last 4 months I’d say? EVERYTHING IS SOLD OUT? Which makes it impossible to use “proof grade materials” as I have to buy my acrylic at my acrylic store I’ve shopped at for years which is fine, but the thicknesses are different from Glowforge ones apparently? I’ve also been trying to cut Leather. Glowforge “shop” is sold out of thick leather but I can’t seem to get a clean cut or engraving? I understand playing around w/ the settings & finding what works for the project you’re doing is part of the whole process & I love that, but there are also times when I’d love to just be able to order “proof grade” materials & not have to worry so much about the settings. SO Pretty much what I’m asking I guess is… is anyone else having issues with everything being “sold out”? There is no number to call them. I did an email & chat & was told to “ask to be notified when something comes in”? but again, I need like everything & its just a lot of time requesting a color of acrylic 4 separate times for every color! Is that like a waiting list? Is that how people are able to get materials? It’s just getting really frustrating because I’ve been waiting & checking & nothing seems to change? I know Glowforge is selling to JoAnns now, but I don’t want to order Glowforge materials through them because if I’m buying elsewhere I’d rather pay less & stick w/ my places I already have been shopping from forever. It’s also an issue how on the trouble shooting all Glowforge answers is to use “proofgrade” Material? But how do we do that if it’s not ever available to purchase? Maybe seeing that people like me for instance is forced to not be able to use proofgrade materials Glowforge should maybe be more open to adding settings for other sizes besides proofgrade? I mean, until they’re able to keep up w/ the demand & have them available for purchase? I’m a jewelry designer & try so hard to check everyday to see if materials have become available to buy, but I’m so busy I just don’t have the time to be chasing down materials? I know the Dremel machine laser cutter comparable to the Glowforge doesn’t even offer their own materials so the settings are for anything I guess you have to use? (My friend recently got the Dremel Laser cutter which is why I know this). I don’t know? I’m just wondering is anyone else is having an issue getting Glowforge approved materials to use or am I doing something wrong? I absolutely LOVE my Glowforge machine! Unfortunately I don’t love the not being able to call them, the vague email answers I get (if I get a reply) I just want to make pretty things :slight_smile: but This whole thing is making seriously question whether I should’ve waited for the Dremel or if I should look into getting the Dremel or another machine that is more “material friendly”? I’m just hoping Glowforge isn’t making Joann Fabrics a priority to be stocked & leaving their longtime direct customers waiting & wondering if & when they will re-stock their supplies? Again, I have no problem using my own materials, it’s just that Glowforge is so quick to refer to them as “un verified” or materials that if used are at your own risk almost? I don’t understand how they expect to have only “proofgrade” materials used w/ the proper already programmed settings, if the “unverified” materials are the only materials available to purchase? Does anyone have any idea when they re-stock? does everyone know this secret & just like order everything at once? I apologize for this message kind of being all over the place? I’m just very frustrated because I need to get materials badly & have been waiting for a few months checking to see if Glowforge restocks (one time they had “thick clear acrylic” available) but I need colors. So I’m just trying to figure out how people are getting their proofgrade materials or if like me, you’re not? Again, only asking because I have a pretty big materials order now from waiting so long & not sure what to do? I would love to get official Proofgrade & make sure everything is under warranty & all that, but again, I have orders to fill & can’t keep waiting indefinitely?

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Wow that was a long read.

  • Things are out of stock, nobody knows when each item will be back in stock.
  • I use non-proofgrade materials more often than PG.
  • There are thousands of acceptable non-PG materials.
  • There are also a few materials that will damage your machine like PVC, or might catch fire.
  • Each material type without the automatic PG settings must be tested by the user to determine the best manual settings. If you are very lucky another user may be familiar with your material.
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With the pandemic there are a lot of shortages. It isn’t just Glowforge. Hope you can do some online search and find suitable material.

Happy cake day day, @rpegg !!!

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@rpegg yes, I know it was a long rant all over the place post! I’m just trying to get some PG materials since the settings are already programmed which saves me time.
just was wondering when or if they’re ever restocking wondering if I’m just the one person who doesn’t know when to check or something? can’t hurt to ask right?
Also have like 3 gift cards that I’d like to have the opportunity to use.

The testing every non PG material type makes me nervous tbh as any non certified material is an at your own risk thing. Or that’s what I was told by “Glowforge cs”

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@ptodd I totally understand shortages. I was just wondering if it’s just me missing the stocking days or something? I emailed Glowforge & they replied saying they restock all the time & I need to check more often & add each thing I want to be notified when arrives? I’ve done both. Just haven’t been fortunate enough to stumble upon the restock days? I also have a few gift cards I’d love to use. I asked for them to just be cashed out since I can’t use them but they said they don’t cash out gift cards & do restock frequently? So just wanted to ask & see if anyone out there has any info I don’t have on like when the restocking is?
I already have all my materials places I’ve been using for years & love. So finding materials in general isn’t an issue, It’s just trying to get the PG materials.
But not a big deal. I’ll keep checking! Thank you for your reply :smile: Happy day to you too!

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Don’t have an answer. My long post crack was a little too tongue in cheek, sorry. Getting tired tonight. I have read each of the 562 thousand posts on this forum. Honestly don’t know which are harder to get through, the very long posts, or the thousands of very short posts that tend to be the equivalent of “great work”. Anyway legitimate question, but the company is only saying “we’re working on it”.

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@rpegg No worries! totally understand! Didn’t take it in a bad way at all! Im the first to admit it got way longer than I ever expected? ha
I’m pretty exhausted myself which probably explains my rambling post! ha
Again, it’s not a big issue was just wondering? I’ll just keep checking
Thank you for your response! hopefully you’ll be able to take a break from the Glowforge forum & get some rest :zzz:
I know I’m SO wishing I could snuggle up & get some sleep right about now! Fully acknowledge that my working procrastination & typing on here isn’t at all helping my cause for resting hahaha :rofl:

Call me crazy (and join the club) but I dove right in and quickly figured out the settings for similar but not the same as proofgrade materials. 1/8th baltic birch plywood is my go to. I run this every day. My settings are based on what would work for 1/8th proofgrade, but then a hair slower on the speed as I hate it when it does not cut through and am willing to take a bit more scorch in exchange for a good cut. If you have a specific material in mind, you can search for that and probably find the answer or if that fails, ask.

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Yes. And when you get the “we have restocked” X, you need to jump on pretty quick. Other folks are also on the list to get notified and the system fires out all those notification emails at the same time. The pent up demand then often creates a run on the stuff. Some things (like the green glass acrylic) seem not to last more than a few minutes when they restock :slight_smile:

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Great reply.

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With the new focus, using proofgrade parameters will work as long as the materials you are using are the same thickness (or minimal +/-).
I use third party MDF a lot and the medium draft works great.

Worse case, the PG parameters will at least get you into a ballpark range for use.

The largest disadvantage is having to mask things yourself, but I always remove the clear masking from acrylic and replace with medium tack paper.
Plus the wood being masked on demand is not a bad thing. All the masking on wood seems to set up eventually and can become hard to remove. It seems the glue eventually dries up (takes a long while but it will).

Proofgrade is almost always going to be ideal and that is exactly why they went that route. Still, I wouldn’t be too fearful of putting some laser grade acrylic, wood or leather into the machine.

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Not sure what everyone is complaining about. Medium Maple Plywood is in-stock!

(… along with thick walnut ply, medium leather, cherry veneer, and 6x10" Poplar and Basswood hardwoods. That’s it!)

Lol. You wouldn’t be yanking @rpegg ‘s chain, would you??? :grinning:

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Believe it or not, I didn’t get it until you pointed it out. Spent a couple minutes trying to figure out how he might be kidding with me. For future reference… anytime someone wants to use subtle wit, snark or sarcasm around me they should put up a big glowy sign. If a comment has two possible meanings I tend to read the literal.

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When I am working with a new type of wood I use this …

And save the result for further reference, noting what it is etc, on the piece.

I’ve had some luck with Johnson Plastics. I purchased some acrylic and used proofgrade settings and it cut. The black I got from them didn’t cut all the way through. I’m a newbie and I’m still trying to wrap my head around settings, speed etc