I'm new and not sure why the engrave didn't come out an even color

I’m not sure why the engrave didn’t come out even unless this is the way it is supposed to be. I used the proof grade material that came with theave Glowforge. I did leave the protective paper on like in the directions for the first project I did, so not sure if that was wrong. I’m putting a picture but truly it looks better in the picture than real life.

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Welcome to the forum. Engraves are a bit tricky as they expose layers of material and sometimes the material is not a good medium for engraving. That being said, what settings did you use and specifically what do you find unacceptable about the engrave? What lpi were you using?


I was using the medium draftboard that came with the Glowforge. The setting were automatic from the barcode. I’m not sure what lpi but I did the image in inkscape so it should be even. I did a different practice thing with printing that was engraved on the same material and it came out a nice even dark color. I don’t know why this isn’t. It doesn’t show in the picture so well but parts of it is the nice dark color but other patches are lighter. At first I thought it was because of the protective paper so tried rubbing it but that just made it worse. Maybe that is just the way it’s supposed to be but like I said in the printed one before it all came out even dark brown.

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When something first comes out of the machine there is a burnt layer. It is possible to very carefully pull something out and then spray it with a lacquer of some sort to lock that burnt layer into space, but mostly you would clean your engravings out - a toothbrush and vinegar/hand sanitizer/etc. will remove the burn layer and reveal the actual material underneath.

Draft board is basically tiny bits of wood glued together, so it’s never going to give an even of an engrave as a hardwood - but it can still look nice if cleaned and sealed.


Thank you so very much. I was afraid if I tried to clean it I would ruin it and while it’s just a practice as I learn inkscape and glowforge it is nice to have things come out well. I will keep in mind the material makes a difference but this is good for practice since they sent more of this than anything else. I appreciate your help.


Another tip - if you clean with water (which you can totally do) it’ll warp the wood, you can set it to dry beneath some books or something heavy and it’ll dry flat.

Also, with draftboard you have to be extra careful cleaning because a lot of things will dissolve that glue…start with the toothbrush and only add a liquid if you hate it after a dry cleaning :slight_smile:


I would not have thought about the warping so good to know. :slightly_smiling_face: I want to add, I did the cleaning with a brush you suggested and it looks much better. It is good to know it’s safe to do this as long as I’m careful so it doesn’t warp.


Oh no, I’m sorry to hear your print didn’t turn out as expected.

There are some excellent suggestions from @deirdrebeth on here, would you let us know if any of those steps help?

I took the advice to use a brush and cleaned it with a small amount of water and dish soap. It looks much better but not the same dark color that I got with the lettering. Still it was better to have it be lighter than to have it blotchy. I didn’t use enough to get it really wet but still took the precaution of drying it with a paper towel and then putting it under a heavy box so it wouldn’t warp. I’m sharing a picture of how it turned out.149959696_5006829079387253_4904951928411257002_n


First off… Welcome to the neighborhood. You have just entered the Twilight Zone :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Second… I looks really good. Engraving can be a frustrating journey, but along the way you are going to have some OMG moments that keep you coming back for another run at it. I hate it when people tell me what I’m about to say, but be patient and don’t give up. With experience you will be making some wonderful things. I’ve been doing this for about a year and I still have more oopses than yippees. Whenever you engrave any media (solid wood, mdf(draft board), cardboard, plywood, etc) there will be variations in the piece that doesn’t come out just like the rest. Dont get discouraged, some of my favorite projects are the ones that have that “blemish” from a variance in whatever it was I was working with. Most of the time I am the only one that thought it was a problem or defect in my project.

Third… read everything you can on this forum. Search the posts past and present. A lot of your question will have been asked before and a quick run through the search function will yield much and as you get comfortable using it you will learn to refine your queries for even better results. Interact with the pioneers that came before us. There is more knowledge and experience in this group than you could ever use up and we are willing to help as best we can. So feel free to ask questions and seek assistance. It is best to ask for this type of help in the “Beyond The Manual” as the “Problems and Support” area opens a service ticket.

Happy lasering and again welcome.


Thank you for so much encouragement, I have been learning inkscape and have that down pretty well now. At least to do a couple designs like the seahorse and another one I just finished. I will put a picture of it here for you to see. I know it’s nothing great but it’s still so new to me. I was just about to post in Beyond the Manual when you sent this. I want to do some things that are not proof grade material. I looked at what they had to offer but it is very limited and not what I was looking for. That leaves me totally lost, lol. 150110047_281113646682870_4456006498035683318_n

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I like this design too. What type of things are you looking for? I’m not familiar with Inkscape at all, I have been using CorelDraw and just subscribed to the Adobe Creative suite.

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I was trying to find out if there is a protective paper I’m supposed to use if I am using non-proof grade materials, and where I find how to do the settings for different materials. I was thinking I would like to use 1/2 inch thick boards to do plaques or cutting boards to etch recipes on but they don’t have things like that in proof grade and I don’t know where to go for information on those types of things.

Here is a good place to start regarding masking, manual settings and non Proofgrade materials: Common problems/questions


I’m so glad to hear that the advice @dklgood provided was helpful, and you were able to receive the result you intended. Thats so great! I also love the seahorse design. It is amazing :slight_smile:

Since you are no longer running into trouble, I’ll move this thread over to “Beyond the Manual” so that the discussion regarding material that is not Proofgrade, and any settings to be used can continue there.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly at support@glowforge.com in the future if you happen to run into any more trouble. We’re here to help :slight_smile:

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@foster_sawyer2 another thing to keep in mind is when you use water on wood, not only may it warp the wood but will also raise the grain and give you a rough finish which will then need sanding. Somewhere on here someone recommended a hand cleaner, comes in an orange bottle.

Here is the link


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