Inconsistency with GF and Possibly wrong laser?

I use my glowforge on a regular basis and so far feel indifferent about it. I have two major qualms with my glowforge thus far.

  1. Inconsistent operations from one job to another.
    One day I will be cutting a piece of 1/4" Poplar to make some cool coasters without a problem. The next day I will cut the same exact operation, (Same file, same settings, same Focus Height) and get completely 100% different results. I thought this was an issue with the dirtiness with the lens’ so I cleaned them and ran some tests and of course it cuts fairly well at first but the quality regresses over time really fast. Do I really have to clean the lens’ after every single operation? Even as something as simple as a 5 min engrave and cut on wood?
  • I did check the lens they are all thoroughly cleaned; nothing wrong with my illustrator files, yes the lens inside the head is installed correctly. Yes, I use strong magnets to make sure the material is flat and use metal bars to keep the material from flying about with the fans inside the laser.
  1. Did I get the pro version or the basic version?
    I’ve been seeing some videos recently and noticed that their laser moves and operates a lot faster than mine I paid and ordered the Pro. How can I know that I did in fact get the pro and not the basic, because based on recent inconsistencies I’m a little sad and disappointed with what I’ve received thus far. With the amount of maintenance needed on what it seems every other operation to comparing mine to others’ and not really being fulfilled I’m beginning to think I have either wasted 3 years waiting to be disappointed or gotten a faulty laser with no way of knowing.

Thanks for your help. Anything would help.

Not at all surprised. I saw HUGE issues with inconsistency working with woods other than the Proofgrade products. I would experience the same issues that you describe when trying to work on locally sourced materials - to the point of deciding that I would just stay with using the Proofgrade wherever possible. Different glues, different densities, different manufacturing methods, knots, voids, plugs, charring, incomplete cuts…they all happened with the goofgrade stuff.

It pretty much boils down to where you are getting your materials, and if it is inconsistent from one sheet to the next, (or even on the same sheet), that isn’t surprising or unusual. That material is manufactured for cutting with a saw, not a laser.

One of the nicest things about the Proofgrade material is that it is generally very consistent. With anything else, it took constant testing and re-testing to get decent results.

So it’s not your machine, it’s your materials. If you have a pass-through slot on it, it’s a Pro model - they manufacture the different kinds of machines at separate times.

I’d try to find another source for materials. :slightly_smiling_face:


When you clean the optics are any of them noticeably dirty? When a material fails to cut have you cleaned the optics and then found that it improves on the same piece of wood?

See. That’d be great if it was the materials.

However even with Proofgrade materials and using their preferred laser numbers and all; it failed to cut.

No I haven’t tried that.

I always engrave then cut. doing it backwards is very unqise since engraving on a cut piece that isn’t held down could result in a sloppy and otherwise very poor quality engrave. (with the constant air flow the small piece that was cut out would wobble slightly causeing a fuzzy engrave.)

Always Engrave then cut!

If you can demonstrate the problem on Proofgrade, with clean lenses, then Support will have something to chew on. Unfortunately they won’t support any non-PG issues.

You can know you have a Pro by looking for the pass-through slot on the front. If you look at the upper-right side menu on you should see confirmation there too.

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Gotcha. Yea I can do a full clean sweep and run their Proofgrade and upload it later today.

Sweet I do indeed have a pro. Just doesn’t feel like it with all the problems I’ve been having.

A few people have reported inconsistent cuts on PG, IMHO it’s certainly possible there are some real issues lurking out there. Good luck!

Here is the Gift of Good Measure using all the settings provided not changing a single thing. I cleaned the lens’ (ALL OF THEM) and immediately ran this job.
*Ignore my horse design was too lazy to remove it…

After the Laser finished this is Front:


Back again with failed cut across the top. Can’t press out at all. Same with Little Oval thing on the side. Only the circles can be popped out.

I’m so sorry you’ve been having trouble with your prints not cutting through. Thanks for taking the time to clean and inspect your unit, as these are very important troubleshooting steps. Can I have you try one more test as well and let us know the results?

We included an extra piece of Proofgrade Draftboard with your materials shipment for troubleshooting. Please print the Gift of Good Measure on that Proofgrade Draftboard in the center of the bed, as well as the right hand side, and let me know the results. If these don’t print well, please let me know the date and time of your prints and send photos of the front and back of the prints.

Thank you in advance!

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email