Cutting Board Settings

Hi. I am new to engraving on our glowforge. I always cut. I am trying to figure out this focus height stuff. My engraved image is really deep into the cutting board and I really just want it kind of skimmed across the top of it. The board isn’t even really appealing as a decoration because of the depth.

The board:
3/8" thick bamboo cutting board


  • Unknown material set to 3/8"
  • crumb tray in
  • speed 1000
  • DPI 340
  • power full (I have the pro)
  • focus height .375"

The issue I am having is I still don’t understand focus height. I am taking based on reading boards that focus height is the height of the material since it already knows the height of the crumb tray under it.

What am I doing wrong? I want to actually use it as a cutting board gift with hardly feeling the engraving when rubbing your hand across the board.

Advice is greatly appreciated so I can get some clarity on why it is engraving deep.



Support cannot help with non proofgrade settings and your issue is not about something not working so I moved it to beyond the manual where such discussions are supposed to go.

It is probably not a good idea to cut where it ha been engraved in any case as food can be more easily trapped and harder to clean but can improve things a lot hanging on the wall for use showing your design on it.

Bamboo will darken very easily so higher speed or lower power will not cut as deep. The distance between hardly scorched and black is short on most things but even worse on bamboo so you do not want variable power as that will make it all black and deeper where darker. Using the dot pattern system every dot is the same power but they are farther apart where the design is light and closer where it is dark. Higher LPI will be darker but finer detail but by increasing speed you can lighten the image.

Using a sacrifice piece to test various settings is the best route.


Welcome to the forum.

Using the set focus tool is a much better option than manually inputting focus height. To do this, click the three dots in the interface, select set focus, move your cursor to the area of the material where your design will be and click. Watch that the red laser beam lands squarely on the material. If it doesn’t, repeat the process.

The Glowforge does not have a dpi setting. It uses lpi (lines per inch) for engraving. Bamboo is a very inconsistant material. It is not actually wood - it is grass. The search function will reward you with many suggested settings. Here is one post that you may find helpful. Bamboo cutting board with settings used

The community may be able to be more helpful if you supplied a photo of your results.


Power full is the only one you can dial down as you’re already running at max speed.
Test with the power much lower, you can always run the job again or at a higher power if it isn’t dark enough for you. Use set focus, it’s better than manual for camera placement and laser focus.


After three engraves, I had to stain the wood to get the black more even.
you may encounter something similar.


This is mostly due to bamboo not being a wood, but a grass. It’s very inconsistent. @Deleted’s staining/(otherwise coloring)is about the only way to get a consistent color over a large single piece. (Not to mention if you want multiple pieces to match.)

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It’s about energy delivered. You can generally substitute deeper for darker.


This is a great diagram!

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I’m not an expert by any means having received my machine just a couple weeks ago. I’ve been doing a lot of bamboo though. I’ve had a lot of success using the thick maple plywood setting. I do think, however, that next time I’ll “score” instead of “engrave.”

Score vs engrave are very different functions, and typically very different looks.


Yup. I tried the score today on an ornament, and it’s actually the look I want for my cutting boards.

::I type one-handed, thus the lower case on everything. unless autocorrect capitalizes something. then it’s just a free-for-all::

jbmanning5 Regular
October 11

Score vs engrave are very different functions, and typically very different looks.

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You and Archy?

LOL. That’s my auto signature on email. Gotta check my replies more carefully.