Glowforge not cutting through at settings it normally does?

Hey all,

I recently have run into a snag where my forge isn’t cutting all the way through boards it previously would have.

For context, I’m cutting .25" cherry plywood boards with the settings of
Material thickness: .25"
Speed: 145
Power: Full.

Normally, like up until yesterday, it had no problem cutting through these boards, but as of today it’s suddenly not. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong or what has changed.

Any thoughts/tips/suggestions?


Not sure how long you’ve been at this so apologies if any of this is too basic but check out #5:


.25" is right at the limit of what the GF can handle, so any slight variations in material density could cause problems.

Change your settings, slow it down a little, see if that helps. That’s pretty much all you can do, as (again) 1/4" is really pushing the limits of this machine.


It looks like my everything needed cleaning. I’ve been cutting a lot of plywood recently so I’m not super surprised but I guess I underestimated the amount of dust buildup it was causing.

Thank you!


It’s very important to keep the optics clean. Infrared is just another wavelength of light - until it touches something, then it’s heat. Accumulation on the optics gives the light something to deposit its energy on and will eventually burn them. I check mine every time I start it.
The window under the left side gets dirty first, then the window on the side of the head. I probably clean those two 10-15 times before the mirror and lens might need it, of course, it depends on what material you are using, some are dirtier than others.


Agreed on frequency.

I also wipe the lid camera every time I clean the windows.


Yep, check your lenses and clean them often.

See also: Lens Fail: Burnt O-Ring; Not Cutting Through Material - #3 by Stu
in case you have something florked in the lens housing.


Yes! I had forgotten that.


I often overlook cleaning the optics as a possible cause. It takes just a few seconds so I rarely even think about it.


I clean off the laser tube itself (with a baby wipe/moist towelette) - not because it needs it, but it getting dusty is a reliable indicator that the rest of the machine needs an optic cleaning with a Zeiss wipe :slight_smile:


You didn’t mention whether you were using PG ply or other brand. Most plywood that is not PG will give you lots of problems because of excess glue and/or voids.