Glowforge Basic not cutting proofgrade materials



I have had my Glowforge Basic for about two weeks and haven’t been able to cut through any of the proofgrade materials. Everything is clean, crumb tray is in correctly and all the material is flat. I have followed all the steps on the trouble shooting page.

I also remeasured the medium draft board and clear acrylic to make sure those measurements were correct. Nothing has worked for the draft board not even doing 6 passes for simple text. I was able to cut a small square out of the acrylic with 3 passes.

I also did some simple text engraving adobe font, outline and in a vector format saved as an SVG, but there are a lot of noticeable lines in the text?

If anyone has any advice on how to get things working correctly it would be much appreciated.

It sounds like you might have had several issues going on. So to take them one at a time:

1. Regarding the laser not cutting through after six tries…

Did you click on the Manual settings button for the draftboard when you cut the text that took six passes? Maybe just to see what it looked like? Sometimes when you do that, or if it does not recognize the material from the sticker on the corner, the settings will default to 1% power as a safety measure. And 1% power won’t even make it through the masking.

The way to check for it is…if you are using default Proofgrade settings, you will see the words Cut, Engrave, and Score underneath the thumbnails for the various operations in the thumbnail column at the left of the screen. If you have accidentally reset it to something else, there will be two numbers with a slash under the thumbnail representing the Speed/Power% settings for that operation.

In order to restore it to the default Proofgrade settings for that material, do the following steps:

  1. Click on the Materials button at the top of the column and make sure that the correct material is selected.
  2. Click on the operation thumbnail that you want to change.
  3. Click on the Back button at the top of the flyout.

  1. Click on the operation that you want to perform - Engrave, Cut or Score. (Or Ignore if you want it ignored.)
  2. Click on whether you want to use Draft or High Quality settings.
  3. The word Score will appear for that operation, so you now know the default is in use.

That’s how you set it back to the Proofgrade defaults.

2. Second Issue…the fact that it’s not cutting through in one pass when the Proofgrade defaults are selected.

You live in LA, which has 65% average humidity. I live in Houston which is similar, if not a little worse. I have to slow down the cuts a little because of the humidity level here and you are likely going to have to do that also. Generally about 5 to 10 points slower on the speed is enough to get a clean cut on most materials. Draftboard is going to be the worst offender, the plywoods generally aren’t going to be too bad. (It’s the price we pay for having fewer wrinkles as we age.) :smile:

You can set up your own settings for materials, including the Proofgrade, and save them for future use, and it’s literally one click easy, although the initial keying in can take a bit of time to set up. Still, there are usually only one or two materials that will tend to be problematic…set those up and you’re good to go. The instructions for how to set and save your own settings are here:

Testing and Saving Settings

If you prefer to not set up your own settings, you can send a second pass without moving the material on the bed or the image on the screen, and it should land right where the first one did.

3. Lines on the acrylic engraves.

Yes, they happen. They are going to be dependent on the LPI you choose to use, and more is not better because acrylic retains heat and melts. There are various methods and techniques for getting rid of them. One of the most used is to run a fast defocused engrave as a second pass to kind of level things out a bit. There are plenty of threads on it on the forum, just do a quick Search using the magnifying glass at the top right.

Hope that helps some.


Hi Jules,

Thank you so much for the information! I went back in ad checked all the default settings and all seems to be ok there. I haven’t played with the manual settings since I haven’t been able to get the default settings to work right.

Gift of Good Measure

Circle Cut

Circle Cut Proofgrade Information

Circle Score

On my first attempted project right out of the box, I tried using the walnut proof grade, and it didn’t cut that out either. It also missed some of the engraved stars.

After checking all settings, I tried again tonight another engrave and engrave cut on the proof grade clear acrylic. Three passes worked this afternoon to cut the square, but three passes didn’t work this time to cut a larger square or text. Again still using default settings only adjusting the number of passes. I also noticed that even after two passes for the engraving, it skipped some parts, and it is hard to read clearly.

Square and engraving

Engraving Text

Text Cut

I took a short video to see if maybe something is happening that I am not aware of…

One other thing to check is to make sure that the lens is inserted correctly into the head…the open bowl shape should go up into the head from underneath. And you might want to closely examine all of the windows and the mirror to make sure that they are clean and there are no marks on them. Instructions for that are laid out here:

Things that need wiping

It’s possible that the lens or one of the windows is dirty or damaged. (It would be unusual after a couple of weeks use, but it’s something to check.)

If you see any problems with any of these, post a photo of it for support to take a look at here.


Hi Jules,

Thanks again for the help. All is clean and the lens is in correctly. Hoping customer service has some solutions to help.

I’m so sorry to hear that you’re running into trouble! I will follow up directly via email for the next steps forward, and I will close this topic.

Thank you!