Cut tests redux

This has been discussed ad nauseam, but I had a little thing I needed to make from scrap and as my machine is dying, I always test cut before running a project. I bothered to take my phone with me over to the machine when I went to check on the test, so this illustrates the kind of thing I use - a small test file with a large number of copies of identical pieces, that I can tailor settings on. Each has a number (speed - I have rarely used anything but full power, single pass on my Pro in over 5 years) and so I just select a few that are in the range I expect to work, and set speed to match. I keep a “master” of the file in my dashboard, and make a copy, so I can delete the rest. In this case, I only needed three. 150 cut thru cleanly (THD hardboard with a few coats of paint - I used it to make a ~36" pass-thru engrave and cut of an old stagecoach scene back when the feature was first released.) Perhaps a higher speed would have worked as well, but this is just a simple stand (for my pH and PPM meters, who’s probes must be kept in a solution in the cap, and therefore stored vertically) and appearances and tolerances were not critical.


I should be better about testing! It’s not hard, I’m just lazy.

I wonder if that’s why you’re having power loss issues. I rarely use full power (100% quite a bit) and am still using the same cut settings as when I first got my machine.
Totally anecdotal, but I am curious as to the reasons for your weakened machine!


I use my machine so infrequently, and so rarely for long prints, that I doubt power settings have much to do with it.

In any case, most of the PG materials I have used are at FULL power anyway.


I use my machine quite a bit, especially lately since I’m getting ready for some craft shows next month. I use a lot of draftboard, and the past two weeks I’ve noticed that I have had to slow the speed on my machine to get it to cut through as the pg settings would almost cut through but not always. And I set focus every time I put a new piece of material in and I’m doing the same design, even if it’s the same material, simply because my edges may not be in the same place. So instead of the pg speed setting of 168, I’ve had to knock it down to 162, and even today it didn’t want to cut through cleanly. I’ve also had a lot of trouble with it going “offline” after every cut, and I know it’s not my wifi, because it’s working fine on everything else. Maybe something going on at GF headquarters?

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Can you be more specific?

Since you use your machine a lot, perhaps it simply needs to be cleaned.

I put that off for a long time and I also noticed that I had to slowly increase my cut power. After cleaning – during which I saw no visible debris – my original settings worked again.


I used to gauge when my machine’s optics needed to be cleaned by cut performance. Was a pretty dependable way to know.

I’m down to as low as 60% “speed” (in quotes, because that setting is not linear) for some materials. That’s with clean optics. I clean them more frequently now that my tube is on the way out. A few still work OK at about 80% of “normal” - I just ran a print with cardboard at about that. I don’t even bother recording them or adjusting my custom settings. After enough time using it, and adopting a “test for every print” approach, it no longer matters.

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The stand I made, for the curious…


I thought about that too. I have my husband clean it for me about every other week, but I have been using a LOT of draftboard, so I know it’s a little dirtier than usual. He just cleaned it for me yesterday so we’ll see how it goes today, as I have some custom orders to get done by next week. I clean the lenses and mirrors about every three boards I do, because again, I use a lot of draftboard (and acrylic) and they get dirty, so I clean those often.

As far as wondering about GF Headquarters, I didn’t know if maybe weather was affecting their signal somehow that interfered with mine? Normally I don’t have any problems, but for the last few days, every time I finished a design, my GF would go offline and I’d have to turn it off and turn it back on to get it to come back on. Or if I left it for a short time without doing anything so I could eat or do laundry, whatever, it would go offline. Our weather has been fairly good here, but I know the west was getting nailed.

Their servers aren’t in their offices, but there’s a chance. More likely something in your house (or your neighbor’s) has introduced interference. I know we’ve had cases where Apple TVs, and security systems, and microwaves have caused glitches. Anything new in your environment?

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GF doesn’t have any customer-serving devices, it’s all in Amazon and Google cloud.

Nope, nothing new except our neighbor’s goat had triplets the other day, but I know that doesn’t count!! :goat: :goat: :goat: Cutting stuff today and the pg settings still didn’t cut through the draftboard and I still had to reduce the speed, which then worked okay. Pain, but at least it’s working and I can get stuff done.

@eflyguy, I did not know that. Guess that makes sense though.


Many organizations use “cloud services” these days. It offers many benefits, especially to small companies such as Glowforge. They don’t need to buy, operate, maintain, update and upgrade equipment. All they do is create the desired software in virtually any language under the sun, and send out to the cloud-service provider who provides those functions in “computing units” that can be billed by usage. The customer gets the benefit of a global, resilient network of servers that provide those capabilities anywhere on the planet.


“Offline” is a Wi-Fi thing, so it’s nothing to do with the cloud services.

I’ve found that the air assist fan being dirty also affects cut-through, so that might be something to check. If it’s not blowing efficiently enough the smoke particles interfere with the laser beam, thus reducing its strength.


I have an inline fan and my husband cleaned the other fans. I know the inline fan is working well as I can see the smoke billowing outside the window. :slight_smile:

The air assist fan is the one mounted on the back of the carriage that blows the smoke away from the cut immediately as it appears. The in-line fan won’t help a bit with that particular function. :blush:


Ah yes, of course! Well I know he removed and cleaned it and it was pretty gunky. Still not cutting well though. Maybe it’s just the new boards I got are just a little more dense or something. I got a large order from GS2 Awards, where I always buy my draftboard, but maybe this shipment is just a little different. That’s the only thing I can think of, as everything else cuts just fine. I still lose connection for some reason, but all I have to do is turn my GF off and back on and I’m good.


I have had sheets from the same stack cut a little bit differently, and different GF-sized sheets I cut down myself from one larger one. Worst case, different results across a single sheet. Wood is a natural product and quality control also varies for things like plywood.

My issues were all with non-Proofgrade stuff, and especially when you cheap out and buy from the big box hardware stores. Baltic Birch from either woodworking stores like Rockler, or real lumber supply houses, has rarely given me any problems. MDF (which is the same as draftboard) is generally more consistent as it’s a completely manufactured product, but even MDF at the same thickness as Proofgrade draftboard sometimes did not work with GF default settings.

I got into a habit of testing before pretty much every print no matter where I got the material. I keep test prints in my dashboard, so the extra couple of minutes to ensure a print will cut thru is worth it - it only takes a few not working out for you to realize the value in testing.


So true. I hardly think about testing. I really need to start doing that. My GF is kind of like my exercising when I haven’t done so in a while - I just go for it and suffer the consequences after! But yeah, I need to do that. I haven’t been able to find any real lumber stores that carry any wood I can use. I take that back, I found one down in Knoxville, but only their red oak will actually cut on the GF. I bought a sheet of their maple and cherry, and neither one will cut, and I did do tests on those. In order to get them to cut through, there is so much char that it’s just not worth the cleanup time to do anything with it. But I do like the red oak.

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