GlowForge Pro Not Cutting Through

Hi! I am relatively new to the community as I just recently purchased my Glowforge Pro so I would really appreciate any help and suggestions you have.

I’ve been having the problem of not getting a clean cut-through when trying to cut 1/4" Birch Plywood. I am currently trying to cut at Full Power and down to 110 Speed (with masking on both sides of the wood) but oftentimes, the wood doesn’t cut through and I have to manually try to break the letters out of the wood which sometimes ruins my project. Not to mention that the charring is a lot at this speed for full power. I may be wrong but it seems like most of the settings other people have posted on this forum have the speed higher than 110 at full power and they’re getting good cuts. I have followed many of the troubleshooting tips I found like cleaning my Glowforge lenses but still, the problem remains.

Am I missing something or does my Glowforge have a possible issue?

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It is very likely that the material is the problem, and Glowforge support will not address issues with non Proofgrade material. Also, we cannot discuss settings for non Proofgrade material anywhere in the forum except Beyond the Manual.

I suggest you print the Gift of Good Measure on Proofgrade material using Proofgrade settings. If it does not print perfectly, post pictures (front and back) along with the date and time of the failed print. If it prints as expected, the problem is your plywood.

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Okay, thank you very much. I apologize for posting that here as well. Thanks again!

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No apology necessary. 1/4" birch plywood is very variable. Some cannot be cut at all because of voids and glue pockets. There are lots of posts about this material. Here is one showing some test cuts. 1/4" Baltic birch plywood cut test

Here are more posts about it: Search results for '1/4" birch plywood' - Glowforge Owners Forum


In addition to @dklgood’s sleuthing about 1/4" birch plywood, there are some good general tips and guidelines here, particularly #5 and #6:


Your machine sounds fine. 1/4" non PG plywoods are always tricky. I find two passes hot and fast works better than 1 slow pass. Cuts cleanly with less char.


Did you get your plywood from home depot? Cuz they’re material sucks and you can’t cut thru it well.

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Okay, thanks again!

I’d take a look at it now

Thank you very much for the info. No, I actually bought this one from KJP, a store here in Ottawa


Would you mind sharing the settings you use?

You don’t need her settings and they’d just be a guess — your plywood is different from hers. Do a material test, and you’ll know for sure.

Read #6:

In your test set it to make two passes, put power to full and range the speed from about 150 to 250. You can do this in one test job.

You don’t really want to go slower than that, it’ll char too much.

If it doesn’t reliably cut through then up to three passes and try again. But as always buyer beware non PG plywood’s are sometimes unlaserable if they use fillers that are laser proof.