Inconsistent cutting / power?

Hi there!

I’ve been experiencing inconsistent cutting for the last couple weeks, thinking it was the material I was using. I’ve re-calibrated twice and now it’s happening again. Oddly enough, only on the left side of my machine. I cut all day yesterday with the same material with no issues.
You can see with this clear acrylic, the “mickey ears” to the right cut just fine, while the 3 on the left didn’t cut all the way through.

Any ideas?

I used to have a similar issue, where a certain section of the bed did better than other parts. It came down to the tray not being level. I took the depth gauge side of my calipers and measured each corner of the tray. Can’t remember by how much there was a difference, but it was in the hundrethds place. Which is my theory why my Draftboard will struggle to cut through with default settings every time (before I put hundreds of hours on my machine, now I’m sure it’s just degradation), because it’s not as consistent throughout its surface. Acrylic is known to have variances like this, too, so it’s possible that it is being caused by the acrylic being used. Not entirely sure how the calibration software works in conjunction to this, since I had the issue before the calibration was an option. I can’t imagine that the laser would compensate for irregularities like this in the software, but maybe that’s exactly what it does.

You’re going to have the obvious questions to this come up, like have you cleaned everything, are you using PG material, have you tried a different material, is it consistent with this material or all materials, have you attempted to cut the gift of good measure and have it cut successfully, is it specifically only this part of your machine that struggles to do a full cut. It could also be the proximity in which you’re cutting, but if this is the first time you’re seeing it, that may just be another factor, rather than the actual problem.


Have you cleaned your lenses recently? That’s always the first thing to do when your cuts fail to go all the way through.


I had the same thing happen to me recently.

I thought, “it shouldn’t be that my lens are dirty, I cleaned them recently!” But, after cleaning my lens, everything was cutting fine again.

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I’m so sorry to hear that you’re hitting this snag! When this trouble occurs, it is only happening on one type of material (such as acrylic) or all material types?

I would like to check over just a few more things. Could you do the following for me?

Please send photos of all your cleaned optical components, with special attention to any damage you might find:

  • Both windows
    • The printer head window, on the left hand side of the printer head
    • The laser window on the inside left of the Glowforge
  • The printer head lens
    • Both sides of the lens, top and bottom
  • The mirror inside the printer head
  • The bottom of the printer head

Once we have those pictures, we’ll follow up with next steps.

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I do believe it was because my lenses were dirty. It happened a few times with different types of acrylic, can’t say with word or not - I haven’t worked with it lately.

It must have been the lens - because after posting this, it worked fine…
I just did a deep cleaning of the gf and will report back if it continues.

Thank you!


@Cora I’m glad to hear you resolved it! I’m going to close this thread. If you run into any other trouble, please start a new topic, or email us at We’re happy to help!