Engraving suddenly poor quality - HELP!

Hi all - I reached out to support via chat yesterday but kept getting “disconnected” and bumped to the back of the line over and over. I also emailed and no response yet so I’m hoping for some help here.

I’m attaching some pictures to show what I’m dealing with but basically I am making silicone watch bands. (The white is my usual result and the grey is my current result.)

I make these EVERY DAY (almost) using the SAME EXACT FILE (literally just click “open” on the saved file in my GF dashboard). I have made these for a few years now and always get a good quality engrave - deep and smooth. However, yesterday when I fired up my forge not only was my template not set up correctly anymore (I have a jig I use and have all the designs lined up properly so I can just click open and print easily) but once I took the time to fix that, my engrave quality is poor. It’s suddenly not very deep and engraving dots instead of smooth lines. I checked my settings of course to make sure nothing accidentally got changed. It’s exactly the same: 800/90/675 (I am using the Pro). I tried changing the power, LPI, etc to see if for some reason my machine just wasn’t putting out the same effort yesterday but nothing made a difference. These image files don’t have the “convert to pattern, dots, lines” option (don’t think they ever have) so I can’t even try to change anything there.

HELP! Has anyone had this happen?! So odd to have literally been using the file and jig for MONTHS and then suddenly doesn’t work the same. Any solutions on how I can fix this?? Thank you in advance!


Also, while I know the first response is probably going to be “image quality” since that does make the most sense… how can it be that since it has perfectly engraved hundreds of times before?

But just incase, I make my images in Silhouette Business Edition. Whether it’s a design like shown in the picture that I might import or text that I type myself. I type, trace, etc and then size, make it all black and save it as an SVG file. I’m not sure how to see the quality details on the SVG file… I just clicked info on that image you see on my Mac and just basically see that it’s an SVG. But again, I can literally copy handwriting in my Silhouette following the same procedure: trace, blacken, save as SVG and any other days it would engrave perfectly - deep and smooth.

Since support does not help with non-Proofgrade materials, you might want to go ahead and print the GoGM (gift of good measure) file on your dashboard, using some PG material, since they will ask you to do that anyway. They will want photos of how that turns out. That’s the only way they will be able to determine if it’s an actual issue with your Glowforge.

ah gotcha, thank you for the tip! I will do that next. (still sitting here playing with settings and it is getting better with slower speed and higher power but that is also adding a lot of time to the engrave… I’ll take what I can get but it’s odd that I’m having to adjust this much suddenly)

Could it be some slight chemical difference in the material? Have you tried it on a white one since doing the grey one to see if you can get the smooth engrave again?

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Yes, I ran about 20 bands in all different varieties yesterday and they all did the same thing. I have it running again now at 500/80/675… 500/90/675 produced good results aside from burning the band a little so trying to fix that now. It’s just odd how I’m suddenly having to make major adjustments and also that much slower increases my engraving time by a big chunk so that’s a bit of a bummer but at this point, I’ll do whatever works. Just hoping it’s not a bigger problem. I noticed with my first GF basic that the laser definitely lost “power” after about a year and I kept having to make it work harder. This Pro I’ve had since May though so surely not…

Yeah - I think it far more likely that the bands have changed consistency than the laser has - but the way to confirm that is to see if you’re having any issues on a PG material.

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I am also in the “the bands” might have changed camp.

I had used setting for the Whiteboard/chalkboard wood from Home Depot.

Oddly enough what I ran didn’t work on the settings somebody else had posted in a YouTube Video.

comparing barcode numbers with a couple members on here, it was determined that different manufacturers made my board, vs. their boards.

Ive been running these bands all month though so it can’t be that…

I’ve had that happen when I changed vendors before too but I’ve been running this specific batch of bands all month long so I don’t believe that’s the issue. I have them doing much better now but it’s taking a lot longer. I’ll deal with it but curious as to why I have to change it. I’m going to run the GOGM on Proofgrade as soon as I’m done and I suppose that will be the real test.

My GF also had trouble with the pro pass thru on Sunday. On 2 different sections it didn’t auto align and the manual alignment was off despite what was on the screen. Then I had a fan assist error once so just hoping my GF isn’t having issues is all… this is my 3rd one so I get nervous at the sign of trouble lol.

I believe GFUI only gives you that option if it’s a bitmap / rastered image. So maybe these are vectors that you’re engraving?

You could try rasterizing the shape in your design tool, and then I believe you’ll get those options.

I wonder if GFUI changed the default of those options (dots/lines/vary power) when engraving vectors? Or maybe it’s dependent on whatever last setting you used somewhere?

One more idea for you to try :wink: although I still might suspect your material changed slightly and you may have to test different settings to get it dialed in again.

Good luck!

I totally understand the mindset of everyone thinking the material changed but that would just be very odd too… a month into the same package of bands, they randomly ALL change? Hmmm yeah idk about that either. And I have had a GF “lose power” previously… my basic did that after a while and then next thing I know it went POP and died. lol so I’m 2 replacements in and just got a little worried.

I’ll test the proof grade when I get the chance. Unfortunately I can’t seem to close this topic but thanks for all the advice. I think everyone kinda thinks the same thing so I’ll just report back after testing the GOGM or chatting with GF. I was just curious if anyone had something similar happen randomly seeing as how everything printed fine last Friday but come Monday, nope.

Could also be that the bands were exposed to air when you opened the package a month ago, and have slowly been stiffening up as they are exposed to the air? (Or something along that line - not entirely sure how silicone works, but I’d bet eventually it changes…)

GF sometimes changes the way the machine prints without necessarily changing the visible settings in the UI, and this is the kind of effect you might see. Not saying that’s what happened here but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. They change the underlying operational steps - power, frequency, etc. - and depending on the material, you might see different results with previous designs.

Forgot to add - so you’re back to having to come up with settings that actually produce acceptable results, for your material. today…

Hi there @ashley.collins0513 - I’m sorry for the trouble, and I deeply apologize for our delay in getting back to you.

As some others have said, since this problem is being seen on materials that were purchased from another company, we can’t offer support for prints that don’t come out as expected. Materials may vary widely from piece to piece, even if they’re created by the same manufacturer.

Although I am glad to help you continue troubleshooting and making sure the printer is behaving as we expect. As @Xabbess mentioned the best way for us to gauge this would be to do a Gift of Good Measure test print. This enables me to help you troubleshoot the printer itself and not the material. I want to make sure the printer is performing as it is supposed to.

I wasn’t clear if you’d had a chance to do that test print already. If you have I’d like to take a look at how that print. Additionally, if you could let me know roughly when you ran that print it’d be helpful. If you haven’t run this test print, here’s what those steps would look like:

To start, please turn off your Glowforge and check the following:

Once all these things have been checked, please perform the following test print.

  • When the print finishes, leave the lid closed and wait until the fans stop and the picture updates.

Check the completed print:

  • If the Gift of Good Measure fails to cut or engrave, take a photo of the front and back of the print and attach these photos to your reply.

  • If the Gift of Good Measure cuts successfully, please try another print of the design you experienced the issue with, ( on proofgrade ) and let us know the results.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

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