I want to throw my GF off a cliff!

Got my GF Pro about a month ago and did any awesome project on it before I left. However I noticed my last couple of cuts on it were extra charred unlike all my previous cuts. Now I am home working on a new project and its char city over here!

I have ran multiple cut tests and the bare minimum is 125 speed at full power to cut 5.2mm - Sande Plywood from Home Depot. As stated my first its were super clean now it is super charred. Often times it will cut one letter all the way through and not the next two.

Fan Cleaned
Laser Cleaned
Laser focused

I am frusrated that this machine is a bout 2 hours old and I can’t get any kind of consistency for it! As well GF only offers support of Proofgrade products which is BS! Proofgrade has a low selection, no bare wood, and the sizes suck! It really puts me off GF! They should support all materials not just who they have a contract with and most likely receives compensation. I really would like to return this and buy a new one but until they answer me I am asking for our advice?

My advice is to print the Gift of Good Measure on Proofgrade material with Proofgrade settings. The reason for this is that you are using a known file on known materials with known settings. The result enables Glowforge support to analyze the performance of the machine and diagnose any problems. Post photos of the front and back of the Gift of Good Measure along with the date and time of the print.

Your problem could very well be the Home Depot plywood.


I refuse to buy subpar Proofgrade materials and if GF doesn’t offer support for a $7000 product then I would like to return it ASAP!

The Proofgrade was provided at the time of the machine delivery and the instructions were to put one of the pieces of drafboard aside in case there is a problem with the machine.

No one on the forum can help you get a refund and that is all you want, so I don’t think you really are asking for advice.


I’m asking for actual advice from other users. Not your copy and paste response you post on everyone’s posts!

So anyone with actual advice I would appreciate it! Or a material you really love to use that is consistent!

Here is the info on that:

  1. Refunds. Refunds may take up to 10 business days to process. All refunds are in US dollars. If you are located in the United States, returns are subject to the following conditions:
  • Prior to confirmation of shipping address: You will receive a full refund for your purchase price, including shipping.
  • Unopened Glowforge Basic, Plus, Pro, or air filter package(s) within 30 days of shipment with its original receipt: You will receive a refund for your purchase price, less shipping and a 10% restocking fee.
  • Opened Glowforge Basic, Plus, or Pro unit, unused, within 30 days of shipment with its original receipt, with all original materials and packaging, undamaged: You will receive a refund for your purchase price, less shipping and a 15% restocking fee.
  • Opened Glowforge Basic, Plus, or Pro, unit used up to 50 prints, no visible wear or damage, within 30 days of shipment with its original receipt, with all original packaging and materials except the Proofgrade Materials, undamaged: You will receive a refund for your purchase price, less shipping and a 30% restocking and refurbishment fee.
  • Opened air filter package, used or unused, within 30 days of shipment with its original receipt, with all original materials and packaging, undamaged: You will receive a refund for your purchase price, less shipping and a 30% restocking fee.
  • After 30 days or 50 prints, whichever comes first, your Glowforge Basic, Plus, or Pro unit is no longer eligible for return
  • After 30 days your air filter unit is no longer eligible for return.

Welp I purchased it 32 days ago! I guess this POS is going on Craigslist

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You really haven’t done much reading on how to use your machine.
Did you accidently insert the lens upside down? It should be “cup” side up.
You will also know, if you did a search, that plywood can be notorious for bad cuts.


Just because I didn’t use the forum doesn’t not mean I haven’t researched this machine. The lens is not upside down but thank you for your advice.

True Baltic birch plywood in 3mm (approx 1/8”)
Other than Purebond, all the other ply at HD or big box stores is utter garbage for lasercutting as they’re full of fillers and voids.

Just because you don’t like the Proof Grade options doesn’t mean they weren’t engineered to be laser ready. Asking any laser manufacturer to support any material that could possibly go into the machine is utter nonsense.


This is extremely helpful thank you! I will go grab some of this and see how it cuts!

That isn’t what I’m asking for, what I am asking for is for Glowforge to provided assistance or troubleshooting instead of a standard we can’t provide support unless its proof grade.

How could they possibly provide support for a material that they’ve never tested?


Plenty of people are making plenty of great things - some with Proofgrade and many using other materials. If you look through the Gallery https://glowforge.com/discover/wood and read through Beyond the Manual you will get lots of inspiration and plenty of posts about non Proofgrade materials.


Very Easily…

What depth is the material?
What speed are you cutting at?
What power are you using?
What is it that isn’t working for you and what is your intended goal?
We haven’t used that material but we would recommend this…


My 10,000 sewing machine offers trouble shooting for any kind of material under the sun!!

Another user generously provided link with photos to lots of different materials and settings for non Proofgrade materials. You can see it here, and the file with the settings is shared at the end of the post.

Also, share a photo of your charred work and someone could offer a better guess at what may be wrong.


So this was my first project and had not a problem except towards the end.

Now starting on a new project its doing the same thing. All the same material. Definitely going to go run and grab some birch right now.

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That is a great sign! You will be able to make many more successful projects like this if you get better material. The flare in the E above is undoubtedly the result of a void in the wood, not a problem with the Glowforge.


Get Baltic Birch. That’s a cabinet grade material with a defined manufacturing specification. It generally lasers well and reliably. You’ll find it at places like Woodcraft. A full sheet is 5’x5’ so if someone tells you it’s Baltic Birch and it’s 4x8’ you’re going to want to see the manufacturer’s paperwork (there is some 4x8 BB but it’s not common and fairly expensive).

Regular Birch plywood from somewhere like Home Depot or Lowes is birch veneered over an unknown core that is not the same from run to run from a manufacturer much less from different manufacturers. The typical issues you’ll find will be voids (empty areas within one of more plies, incompatible glues (lots of resins and glues won’t laser) or fillers (like automotive Bondo body filler) which won’t laser.


Thank You!!!

That flare was for a second pass but I stopped it as I saw what a mess it was making. But as you can see the rest of the letters cut out but those two did not. It happens on almost every sheet hence my frustration.

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Shine a strong flashlight through the wood from behind to check for voids and dense spots…then place the design to avoid them.

I won’t touch Home Depot plywood…it’s complete crap. (For lasering.)