Cardboard Settings Help

TL;DR: give a man a fish…

The longer version:

This is me taking it easy. That was good advice, given straight.
Look at all the results!

“<material> settings” can find you almost anything, we’re a bunch of geeks with a lot of time on our hands, so we’ve tried a lot of materials. (Rice, skulls, leaves, you name it)

But, since you pushed back and read my tone as snippy, let me take it less easy and spend some time breaking all of this down. You might think I am being a jerk again [since you read it that way before], but trust me, I’m about to give you the goods.

As for reaching out for help, sure, we’re all happy to help, but any request for help is asking for other people’s time and energy, so the best thing to give people is advice about how to do it themselves. That way the person won’t have to ask at every turn, taking up even more time and energy from the forum at large on things that are readily available. Settings are one of the most repeated requests out there, and… this is the kicker… giving someone settings is actually not always helpful.

The best piece of advice I can give you is to learn how to do a one shot material test. Once you get a solid workflow for testing new materials, you won’t ever have to ask about a new material again. If you search for “material test”, you’ll find a lot of discussion. There’s no absolute right way to do a material test, everyone has a slightly different technique… once you find yours, it’ll be faster to run a test than to ask the forum in the first place, and more certain.

Take cardboard for example: Sure, I use 300/80/1x for amazon cardboard, but there are as many weights and thicknesses of cardboard as you can imagine. 300/80 won’t get through heavy duty Uline boxes, for example. Testing is the only way to be sure, so even if someone gives you settings that work for them on their specific material, it might not work for you and you’ll have to test anyway.

So anyway. Sorry if you thought I was being crappy before, I was tongue in cheek mirroring the ALWAYS part of the previous post and giving you the advice I’ve given countless times to other new(ish) forum users: search first, there are lots and lots of posts.

INB4: Yes I know discourse search isn’t always simple or intuitive, it kind of stinks. I don’t doubt that you tried to search first, because I have had problems finding stuff in the past too.


No. I did not push back. I responded to a ‘tone’ that was unnecessary in my opinion.
And yes, I’m new to this GF. And to let you know, I did a search. maybe I did not dig deep enough. ok , so be it. But, its my understanding that this is a ‘community’ to ask for help. No offense, but if you feel that its repetitive don’t help. Eventually, I will find or get a proper response.
Now, the last post you sent…most of it was very informative. And thank you for that information.
So, I assume my lack in searching effectively for the information on ‘cardboard’ gave me that great information you sent in reference to work flow… So thank you. It appears my ignorance did yield me some important information that I will began to use.
And thanks to the community that did help without the need to chastise.
I understand your repetitive, newbee point. But, there are going to be more newbees like myself that will need help. And if I have the answer, I will reply to them with an answer no matter of repetitive it is and no matter how elementary the question may be. Because , the fact of the matter is that there will always be someway who may not know something.

So, Thank you again.


That was for your beetle.

I know, and I assume a joke :wink: That would destroy any trace of beetleness.

1 Like

I assume that’s for fire safety reasons? Has anyone actually had a fire and if so how did you deal with it?


Lots and lots of reading you can do about fire suppression, but bottom line is that cardboard does have a pretty good potential for fire, so be careful.

Thank you for the links.

1 Like

This is the money shot…

Nah! A carefully aimed blast might just lobotomize the beetle.

Wasn’t there a fire a while back from someone getting (wrong) settings from the forum? I seem to recall something like that.

I don’t recall a thread like that, but I believe it.

Warning: opinion masquerading as fact follows, but it’s backed up by having a fire in my GF, so I figure it’s not all wild speculation.

With cardboard, as referenced above, often exactly what shape you’re cutting matters as much as the settings when it comes to fires. Complicated designs with lots of little jaggies (say a downloaded high res vector map of the US or something) will cause the laser to “hang out” in one area for too long. It’s fire city if you do that. I have no problems with cutting rectangles and circles, but I keep my shapes fairly large .5" (15mm) and fairly simple (smooth lines not too close together). Ergo, no living hinges unless they are far apart, no really small features, no highly detailed “jaggy” lines.

Use extra caution when cutting an svg that you didn’t make into cardboard. Downloaded paths (even fonts) are notorious for weird path artifacts, double paths, and overall jankiness. Use clean paths and watch it closely.

I love cardboard for simple alignment jigs. Beyond that I almost never use it, and do my prototyping in cheap baltic birch.


I recall someone claiming that was the cause but I don’t believe it was proven. Nor would it be likely when you consider the number of people here posting settings and the number of others using them - the search for settings makes Godot look like a hanger-on uncle.

It’s possible that it did occur from bad settings but the settings came from some post on FB or other equally reliable source :slight_smile:

i had a small flareup with cardboard because of a settings typo. but i’m anal about how closely i watch things like cardboard, so i had the fire out before it was much bigger than a candle flame.

some materials you just need to be around to casually pay attention to (think: tile). others you need to really watch carefully, especially at start up (like cardboard).

This was my recent post about a post on Facebook. It specifically mentions cutting cardboard as the cause (that, mixed with inattention to the Glowforge)


How did you put out the fire? Do you just open the lid and blow it out or hit it with a CO2 fire extinguisher? I am curious and clueless because I still haven’t touched a glowforge.

it was candle flame size. i tapped it out w/a paper towel. i also have a spray bottle of water nearby and a halotron extinguisher. so far i’ve never gone beyond the paper towel.

1 Like

I enjoyed some awesome advice from this group that led to multiple layers of fire safety:

  1. NEVER leave your Glowforge while it’s cutting, scoring, engraving.
  2. Know the material you’re using and it’s tendency to flame up. e.g. cardboard should be watched carefully.
  3. Have a moist towel ready to drop on small flare ups.
  4. Have a spray bottle of water to spritz if those flames grow a bit.
  5. Use a HALON fire extinguisher to put out larger fires. CO2 extinguishers can damage the Glowforge. I have one.
  1. Someone recommended having the AFO Fire Ball for fires that get out of control. I have one that I can throw from the door into the room if needed.

The Halon extinguisher and AFO Fire Ball add up to about $160, which is rather cheap security.

I haven’t needed anything beyond #1 yet, but I keep all of the steps in mind. I’m less intense in my scrutiny for PG materials and their settings, but not oblivious.

Hope that this helps.


I don’t know who created that file but THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.