Glowforge not cutting all the way through proof grade stock

Hey everyone,

I’ve have used my glowforge on a good few occasions now but I’m noticing a lot of problems.
Ive recently tried to cut some reindeers I saw on the forum but when ever I try and cut the file the glowforge doesn’t go all the way through the material???
I might understand on some of my own plywood etc but this is on Proofgrade material and took around 4.5mins to cut.

Ive noticed this a lot with a lot of my time on the glowforge which has kinda left me feeling a bit underwhelmed (when I do get it working amazing the result are nice) I know how to set up files etc, but when I have stock of 4mm birch ply and its not even cutting through when doing it on a proof grade profile or a manual stating the material is thicker than what I’m cutting Im lost.

Any help would be amazing.


The first thing to do is to make sure your Proofgrade material is absolutely flat at all points. I use the hold down pins and others use very strong magnets. If the material is not flat you will not get consistent results. It doesn’t hurt to measure your proofgrade material to see if it is the same as the settings say it is. If not, change the material thickness. Don’t move your item or artwork until you are sure the cut has gone through. If it hasn’t, you can run a second pass. If your material is absolutely flat, and you are using proofgrade material with proofgrade settings and the problem persists, you might need Glowforge support. By posting here I believe you have already opened an inquiry with support.


Thanks for the reply, I’ve noticed that some of the pieces are slightly warped but I’ve flattened them and cut on the side that was flat to the bed, its cutting almost through as I can see a few scotch lines on the other side but not full.y.
Will bring the stock in to the house under weight tonight as I want to make xmas decorations with my kids this weekend.

You may want to be sure all the lens are clean especially the head. The smoke will leave a residue on the lens which will reduce the laser power…

Thanks will try this too, do I need to detach the head for that?

Yes you will. Clean the lens on the bottom, side and the one on the top, all 5…

I’ve started slowing down the cuts by like 20% or so. The proofgrade calibration seems to use just barely enough to cut on perfect conditions, which is sensible, not wasting power, not causing unneeded burning, but I don’t mind the bit of extra time or scorch for being extra sure that the cuts always work. I’ve been working through a massive order of draftboard and the problem has been kinda recent so I’m curious if the age of the material might be causing the issue for me.

To cut successfully, there are three important things to check. First, your material must lie flat. This requires a clean, properly installed crumb tray and flat materials. Second, there must be no obstructions, dirt, or damage preventing the laser light from reaching your material. Third, your design must be set up properly - for example, with lines that are fully on the material and that are set to cut. It’s hard to know which issue might be affecting your print, so please thoroughly inspect your unit and design according to the suggestions below.

Crumb Tray mispositioned or holding particles

If the Crumb tray is mispositioned or holding bits of material from packaging or printing, it could keep your material from lying flat. Even a millimeter difference in height could affect your laser’s ability to cut.

  1. To remove the crumb tray, lift the lid, then swing down the front door. Lift the crumb tray slightly and slide it towards you to remove it. Be careful not to tilt the crumb tray up, or it will knock into the printer head and rails.
  2. Remove all dust and debris from the bottom of your Glowforge.
  3. There are four dimples for the feet of the crumb tray to sit in. Wipe them with a damp tissue or cloth.
  4. There is a slot in front of the crumb tray, under the handle. Point it towards a garbage and shake the tray so that debris falls out. If debris is stuck in the honeycomb, gently push it out. Debris can force the honeycomb to be uneven, or prevent your material from resting flat against the honeycomb.
  5. Replace the tray. Make sure that it’s facing the right direction and that the tray’s four feet drop into the small dimples. When the four feet drop into place, the tray will no longer slide freely.

Material not lying flat

Even when the Crumb Tray is clean and flat, the material may not be lying flat on the surface. Some materials can develop a curve (called ‘warp’), and warped material may not cut through consistently. The problem is especially likely to occur if the print is large.

  • Soft materials, like Proofgrade leather may need to be smoothed into place. Any lumps or bumps will affect the print quality.
  • Read our troubleshooter on warped material for ideas on how to take care of your materials.

Lens or Windows are Dirty or Damaged

Your Glowforge unit’s laser is powerful, yet it can be stopped by a tiny amount of dirt or damage to the lens or windows. If something gets between the laser light and your materials, they won’t cut through. Here’s how to check for damage and clean your lens and windows at the same time.

1. Remove Printer Head
Turn off your Glowforge. Grasp the printer head as shown, and pull gently up and back to disengage the magnets and remove it.
2. Remove lens and check for scratches or dirt.

  • Gently insert the lens tool into bottom of the head with the “Remove” arrow pointing in. When you hear the magnet click, withdraw the tool and the lens.

  • Look at the lens on the tool. It should be resting on top of the tool like a bowl, with the top open and with the orange-colored optics on the bottom. If it’s upside down, it won’t work properly.

  • Gently slide the lens off the lens tool. Be careful to touch only the metal ring to avoid fingerprints on the lens.

  • Check the lens for fingerprints, dirt or scratches. If you see a scratch, you can order a new one at
  • Wipe both sides with a Zeiss lens wipe.

3. Put the Lens Back In
If the lens appears clean, you can put it back.

  • Flip the lens tool until the “Install” arrow points up.
  • Set the lens down on the lens tool. The open side goes away from the blue plastic, so it looks like a bowl on top of the tool.
  • Slide the lens tool up into the printer head until the magnet clicks, then remove the tool.

4. Replace Printer Head
Review instructions for snapping in your printer head, then put the head back on.

5. Inspect the Head Window and the Laser Window

  • Check the windows for damage. You can find one window on the left side of the printer head, and another just over the left rail. Shining a bright flashlight at an angle onto the window may help you to see more clearly.
  • If you see damage, write support.
  • Otherwise, wipe the window clean with a Zeiss wipe.

Once you’ve inspected and cleaned, please try another print. We included an extra piece of Proofgrade Draftboard with your materials shipment for troubleshooting. Please print the Gift of Good Measure on Proofgrade Draftboard and let us know the result. If it doesn’t print well, please let us know the date and time of your print and send photos of the front and back of the print.

Thank you!


It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email