Can't get Unisub to cut for anything!

I am beyond frustrated with this Unisub board. I can not get it to cut cleanly no matter WHAT I do. I have cleaned my optics THREE TIMES, I have done a recalibration for good measure, I have a BRAND NEW Lens in my Plus, I have done test cuts with other materials which are cutting fine. I have blown through basically two sheets of this crap and have very little useable pieces to show for it.

I have tested cutting it white side down, white side up, with and without the plastic. If I do get it to cut through, its still not very clean, I have jagged edges and I have a very high probability of having the top sub layer chip as I’m getting it to come out of the main piece.

It seems to struggle MOST with smaller pieces. And I’m trying to do jewelry and I can’t get it to cut even at 100/Full. I have marginally better success cutting larger 3" coasters. But even then I have to do such a low speed and THREE PASSES. Not only is this really not great use of my time when it takes so long just to cut a few pieces, but I can’t get it to cut consistently enough without worrying that pieces are going to chip just removing them from the main piece I cut from. Its not like I’m trying to cut teeny tiny pieces either. Its having a bitch of a time just cutting 1" squares.

I don’t know what to do at this point. I bought 6 full sheets of this stuff and I have already blown through 2 without much to show for it. I know its not terribly expensive but I’m throwing money away at this point if I don’t get sellable pieces to cut from it.

Any suggestions here? I have wasted so much time struggling with this stuff and I swear I don’t even have this much headache cutting 1/8" purpleheart or paduak.

I’ve had nothing but trouble with hardboard, which is what it looks like Unisub is.

How thick is yours? I was trying with stuff that was a little under 1/4". It just wasn’t going to cut, I tossed it.


You’ll also be throwing money away if you spend much more time wrestling with a material that just isn’t going to work. Labor time and frustration both have costs…


My calipers measure it at 2.88mm, which is thinner than the 1/8" acrylic I use (but thicker than 1/16".

I think that someone was big on hardboard. @timjedwards maybe?

But that’s what I don’t understand. This stuff is sold with the intention of cutting in a laser. And its not even that thick! People DO cut it in their laser apparently successfully. I have done some searching in the groups and it DOES seem like it tends to be a pain in the ass to cut.

But FFS, I haven’t even had this much trouble cutting through hardwood!

Hmm, maybe this post worked out?

@cmbtreasures and @ovm.steve maybe had success? Or is that not the same stuff?

I mean, to an extent, you sort of have your answer already. It sounds like you did a lot of troubleshooting and testing and just can’t get a good cut. Maybe ask the seller/manufacturer? Maybe it’s great to be cut in a 60/100 watt laser, but they would tell you a 40 (45 if your plus if old enough) isn’t enough?

We could ask you all the basic troubleshooting questions but I wouldn’t want to waste your time since you’ve been at this a lot longer than any of us, sounds like.

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well, someone in the other thread suggested to set it as Thick Draftboard and use those proofgrade settings. So for shits and giggles, I did that. And it cut fine. I don’t know what was different with this versus the other various attempts I did. Because the proofgrade settings for Thick Draftboard is 132/full/1x. So the only thing I can figure is something having to do with the focus. I’m honestly just happy I finally got a successful cut.

So if anyone else has challenges: USE THICK DRAFTBOARD SETTINGS!

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Hmm how were you setting the material height before? Did your other cuts look particularly “thick”? That’s usually a sign that your focus is off. I would just set the material height and roll with it, like you said not like PG settings are magic…

I was using the set focus. Which is what they tell you to do.

I think I might have also in some of the settings just used it for medium draft board.

Hmm set focus maybe struggles with the surface quality of that whiteboard? I almost never use set focus, I just enter the material height manually.

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sorry, meant to say that in some of my tests I might have just had it set to medium draft board.

well that’s what I am about to try now. I’m going to use unidentified material, with the 2.88mm and the same settings that were used in the previous cut (132/full/1x) to see if there is any difference.

If it were me I would do a proper material test with that height entered:

It’s the only way to be sure. Do a range of like 120-220 or so in steps of ten speed.

well the thick hardboard works for sure. I tested it with the focus height of what it actually is and it worked but not AS cleanly. The focus height for the material is .113 while the one for thick hardboard is .209, which seems to work better, with the exact same speed/power.

I really don’t know why I had so many unsuccessful attempts previously when I am almost positive I was using the “set focus” on it.

OK this is going to sound stupid and maybe it is, but are you sure your lens isn’t in upside down?

It can cause all sorts of focus height problems if it is upside down. Also you cleaned your lenses, but did you clean all of the optics, including the head camera and whatnot?

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nope, definitely isn’t. Even before I replaced the lens, it was cutting fine with other materials. Thinking that maybe it was an optics issue (which has happened before when stuff just stopped cutting), I did end up putting in a brand new lens and I made double sure that it was put in the right way. I even cut something in another material and it cut fine after the lens swap out.

I honestly think this was just issues with the focus height. I am not sure what went awry along the way, but at least now I know that the Thick Hardboard focus height and settings is successful

Well, that’s the thing. Your focus height shouldn’t be that high for material that thin, generally that lead to poor cutting. Do you usually want to focus on the surface of your material, maybe a little bit below it. You’re focusing almost twice the material height, which seems like it should cause its own problems.


I haven’t tried Unisub, mine was something generic I had on hand. I did it with the thick hardboard settings.

I’ve never heard of “unisub” but I use a fair amount of hardboard from Lowes and Home Depot, and 180/FULL (I have a Pro) cuts it cleanly. My UI doesn’t have any “canned” hardboard settings, just the one I created myself.