Having some cutting and engraving issues in my 2-month old Glowforge

Hey there! I got my Glowforge 2 months ago and really love it. My main use is to make acrylic earrings but for the last month none of my cuts go deep enough through 1/8 acrylic unless I use special settings. I’ve changed all my proofgrade acrylic settings to instead use 150 speed at 1000 power for acrylic. Before, I could use the proofgrade settings but now it just never cuts through.

Also, it cuts worse on the left side than the right. If I cut something out on the whole bed, the right will cut through but the left won’t. Sometimes it just doesn’t cut right through.

My last issue is that it started engraving slightly off. Everything is slightly to the left. If I was making something big this wouldn’t be noticeable but because everything I cut is so small, it’s been really annoying. It didn’t do this before!

I’ve been trying to clean it with lens cleaning towlettes on all the lenses, I’ve used some compressed air in other places. I can’t figure out why it won’t cut accurately and I’m super frustrated. Below are some photos. Thank you so much for the help.

Welcome to the forum.

The first thing to check is whether or not your Glowforge is level. This is important because you state that the left side cuts better than the right.

It would be helpful to share a photo showing what you mean by things engraving to the left.

Have you used calipers to measure the acrylic you are using? It is possible it is different than the Proofgrade acrylic which might require slower speeds. There is no 1000 power for cutting, so I am assuming you meant full power for cutting.

1 Like

The machine does not have to be level, but it does need to be on a flat surface so there is no twist in the frame which can cause misalignment of the beam from the left-hand mirrors relative to the head.

1 Like

Here is an example of the engrave being slightly to the left (or the cut is slightly to the right maybe?)

I just checked and it is completely level. the back right side was maybe a mm too low so I fixed it.

I use non-proofgrade acrylic and it seems to need a slower speed. The proofgrade has a faster speed. It’s just that, for the first month, I used proofgrade settings with my non-proofgrade items and now I have to turn every setting up to cut. Yes, I meant full power for cutting. When I cut MDF I now need it super slow when before, I could simply use the proofgrade settings.

Yes, it’s sitting on a flat table.

Acrylic can vary in thickness significantly between sheets, even if sold as the same nominal size. Glowforge requires their suppliers have tight tolerances and builds in a margin of error in their Proofgrade settings to guarantee cuts on their material, but that may not be the case with third parties.

When cleaning, definitely follow the guide from the Glowforge website or owner’s manual, so that you don’t miss any of the 7 optical bits. There’s just one lens, but also 4 windows, a mirror and three fans that need cleaning. A clogged up air assist fan can reduce cutting power.

To diagnose whether you’re having a hardware or user/material issue, print the Gift of Good Measure design from your design library on Proofgrade material at Proofgrade settings. If that cuts cleanly, then the machine is working normally and you’ve narrowed down the problem to material or settings. If it doesn’t, you have something you can troubleshoot with tech support.

Finally, inspect the window on the left side of the print head for any signs of melting or discoloration. If there’s any issue with laser beam alignment that could explain a difference in left vs right side cutting differently, it should show up as damage here if the beam isn’t entering the window dead center when the print head is further left than right.


Have you run the calibration process?

1 Like

Yes, I have. Everything looked pretty normal.

Do you use the set focus (making sure the red dot lands on your piece) before you place your artwork? This is very important.


Thank you. I just cut a Gift of Good Measure. It cut perfectly, so at this point I assume it’s that my acrylic is slightly off-size or my settings are wrong.

Frustrating only because I cannot buy acrylic from Glowforge as it’s about $150 to ship it to Canada.

Thank you for all the info.

I don’t, but I will start doing this. thanks!

Do you do the cut and engraving in the same pass? or do you cut and then line up the engraving?

1 Like

I have them do it in the same pass.

perfect! do you have a screen shot showing the line up from the app view?

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.