Everything needs two passes all of a sudden?

Lately, almost everything I cut needs two passes. Things that have cut perfectly fine in the past (on the chosen settings, usually Proofgrade settings) are now just refusing to cut through. Acrylic, wood, etc. Most of the time it’s 1/8" stuff that I’m using. Thin MDF draftboard is cutting just fine.

I have a brand new air assist fan. (Shoutout to GF customer support on that one!! Thank you!) My crumb tray is freshly cleaned and reassembled carefully. I pin my material all around as best I can. No debris in the divots where the tray goes. Lenses clean and no apparent scratches or damage to them. I’m fairly sure my machine is flat/level/whatever it needs to be. Though I did just move so maybe things are off a bit. But it was happening before the move too. (Machine was moved VERY delicately and properly secured.)

Machine is just over a year old.

The picture attached shows an acrylic cut where some of the circles did go through first time. (I think I slowed this one down a bit from Proofgrade, but just a little.) But the rest was not cut. I used to be able to put an entire sheet in, unpinned, and put these little cirlces over the entire sheet and just lift it up at the end. All of them would drop out, no issue. Smooth as butter. Not anymore.

Any ideas how to troubleshoot this?

You should not need to do two passes when things are close to cutting through . You can just decrease the speed slightly. I suggest giving all of the optics a wipe - don’t forget the side window and the mirror. Then I suggest printing the Gift of Good Measure on proofgrade material with proofgrade settings. If it doesn’t print perfectly, post photos (front and back) along with the date and time of the print. Support will be able to check the logs and see if they can adjust something.

Yes, all optics are super clean. I clean them every day and sometimes after a few cuts. (Especially when I experience some cuts not going through.)

I am not sure I have any proofgrade material on hand. I just moved and half my stuff is jumbled and boxed. :frowning: I will check though.

I do have things that go through just fine…1/8" MDF cuts easily. I cut some .17" birch from Home Depot earlier and almost all of it went through on one pass. Thin acrylic is especially troublesome right now.

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Huh. I just had a similar cut (acrylic, small shapes close together) and it went through with one pass. So this seems to be more of a consistency issue? Weird. The cut before did not go through.

Support won’t be able to offer help unless you can test with proofgrade material and the gift of good measure file. The photo you posted looks like that acrylic is not proofgrade and may actually be extruded acrylic rather than cast, which can have a very different outcome.

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This is potentially a focus issue. Have you tried masking the material and seeing if it cuts? Unmasked clear material has the potential to not read correctly with the depth sensing beam, since that can pass through the material.


I’ll look for some proofgrade material. I might have some draftboard around.

The acrylic is cast, not extruded.

I did some masked acrylic earlier. 1/8". It needed two passes.

Two cuts later, I did a sheet of unmasked orange acrylic and it cut fine on one pass. It’s very inconsistent, which makes it difficult to trouble shoot.

Just be aware that acrylic, unlike wood, has a pretty wide thickness variation. I seem to remember hearing that it would vary up to 10%. This would likely result in some pieces needing more power (or speed) to get through. It might be interesting to measure all the thicknesses of the various pieces of acrylic you’ve been cutting and see if there is a correlation between thickness and completion of the cut.

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I have been having this issue as well. I just tried cutting 5 inch circles out of 1/8inch mdf. I find this to happen from time to time regardless of material and cleanliness. Nothing gets my goat more than when it starts up and I forgot to check before pulling out my material. I have a box cutter at my work station now so I can check that ALL my items are releasing before I move them out. That way if I have to close the lid and run it again it cuts matching lines

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Hi Kelly,

My name is Mercedes and I’m part of the Technical team here at Glowforge and I’ll be helping you troubleshoot today. I apologize for how long it took to get an official response! But reading through the recommendations other users have they have all given great feedback and troubleshooting.

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. I suggest posting for advice in the Beyond the Manual section of our community. Note that the advice in this section is unsupported and is not reviewed by Glowforge.

If you have proofgrade material could you run the following test print for me? This allows me to verify how the laser is running in all cut modes ( engrave, score, and cut).

There are several things that need to be checked if the laser doesn’t cleanly cut through the material. We’ve discovered that photos don’t always come through well in emails, so I’ve included several links that will take you to reference instructions and photos. 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 through, 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, and let us know the results.

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Thank you, I am still looking through my scraps for some proofgrade material. I moved recently and things are all over the place. :frowning: I will respond as soon as I can find it and print the test!

Gift of Good Measure cut well. So did different cut of a file I’ve had issue with. So I’m guessing there is no further help you can provide. :frowning: It’s just very odd to me that material that cut easily before is not cutting now. :frowning:

So I just cut some .10" matte acrylic and it went through perfectly. I got a little over-confident and put in some .11" transparent acrylic. Very random. Some went through, most of it did not. I need to look for some Proofgrade acrylic scraps, I guess…

Thanks for running that test print for us!

The proofgrade material and settings working tells me the printer itself is cutting as we’d expect.

While we can’t offer specific settings for material from a different supplier, or guarantee printing results on that material, our support doesn’t stop there. We can still look for general hang ups that could impact the results of your print.

In this case I believe I was able to zero in on what may be causing trouble for you.

This is the clue that helped:

So I just cut some .10" matte acrylic and it went through perfectly. I got a little over-confident and put in some .11" transparent acrylic.

I was able to locate the two prints you mentioned here, and look at the data from those prints. I noticed that the autofocuser had trouble getting an accurate measurement on that second print because the material was transparent acryllic.

You’ll notice, all proofgrade material comes with a matte, lightly colored masking. This helps the autofocuser.

That makes sense. But even with masking, some of my acrylic has not gone through. I have been busy with work all week so I haven’t located any proofgrade scraps to try yet. I should have some time to test that this weekend.

So with no masking, can I use manual focus with hopefully more success? What should I put for material that is .12"? I have tried manually setting to .12" but it did not go through.

Hello, @shellykelly05 Thank you for working with my colleague Mike. It looks like he offered some good advice in regards to printing on transparent material. Trying manual focus may help here but we are not able to offer advice for settings on material that is not Proofgrade. I will post an article for you that will help offer some insight on setting manual height:


If you look under the heading “Focus Height” you will find some helpful tips. Let us know how everything goes!

No, that would be nonsensical.

As much as I’m aiming to cut maskless (for good reason), I went in and cut with masking. No, this is not PG material. But I used settings that have always worked. Half went through, half did not. So focus is NOT the issue. Optics and fans are clean. In the past, I used to be able to pick the sheet up and they all fall through. Now, I have to physically punch them out. Some of course, did not even cut through. This was pinned and secured. I lifted the masking after taking the pic just to be sure it wasn’t the masking holding it in.

I’m not understanding the inconsistency.

The cut lines still look thick, which is a focus issue. Are the two windows on the bottom of the print head clean?

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