Cutting Settings/Thickness

Hi there!

I have 1/4 Birch Plywood I would like to cut and was wondering if anyone has settings they have tried?

The last time I cut wood that was not proof grade (mind you I have had my glowforge for about two weeks) on the second pass through there was a brighter flame. Now I’m afraid of testing different settings!

I also tried to engrave a cutting board that was prob a bit too thick to be in the machine. I’m sure this is a common questions but does anyone know the maximum thickness you can engrave without removing the tray?

Thank you!

Maximum material depth: 18" (455 mm) for Basic and Plus; unlimited for Pro
Maximum material width: 20″ (515 mm)
Cutting area: approx. 11″ (279 mm) deep and 19.5″ (495 mm) wide
Maximum material height: 2″ (50mm)
Maximum material height with tray: 0.5″ (13mm)

and also the best way to test new materials is to run this:

or something similar. Each piece of material is going to be slightly different. If you do a search here for “settings birch” you’ll get a bunch of different suggestions - so the fastest way to get a good answer for your piece of birch is to test it.

oh - and do a search for cutting without the crumb tray, there’s lots of advice on that too!


There should be many in threads for that material–have you tried searching for 1/4" baltic birch yet? (type that in the box with the magnifying glass/search icon). Personally I’ve not worked with it yet myself.

The flames may be a result of flash back that can happen if there is a gap between the crumb tray and the wood, so be sure to pin it down well (look for “hold down pins”–those help tremendously, and I cut mine from my scraps of med maple ply.

So a cutting board that is .6 is out with the tray? I feel like engraving without the tray is a whole different ball game for me at this point!

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The head will be able to to go over it, but the air assist will hit it - so if you’re only engraving along the top edge - and you’ll survive if it bumps and fails - totes worth a shot. If you’re trying to engrave in the middle, it’ll definitely fail.

Honestly though, I avoided removing the tray forever cuz it was scary, but with set focus I literally just guesstimate and pile the thing on top of a few random pieces of wood and if the measurement fails I add another piece of wood. You’re trying to get the thing so it’s ~1/2" away from the laser. There are things you can cut which make it brainless, but I’m lazy that way :slight_smile:


The tray is designed to be removed often, you need to when you clean the machine.

Simply prop up your material so that it is within the cutting range. There are literally dozens of threads on this already.


Nah, just the next step in your journey.
Lots and lots of prior art on the subject here.


Here is a handy little “Go/No go” gauge for getting your material into focus range without the tray in.
Courtesy of @dwardio!