Issues with cutting clean lines

I’m cutting 1/4" cherry and the edges splinter in places when I take it out of the tray. Almost like the laser didn’t cut in random spots. I’ve triple checked the design and the lines look clean there. I’ve slowed down the speed, which seems to help, but I’m trying to avoid excessive char on the edges. Any suggestions?

Here’s an image of the bottom when I remove it from the tray

Generally hot and fast yields less char, but some materials char more readily than others (cork, mahogany, zebrawood, etc. all char extensively).

1/4" material puts you on the back foot already, because it’s naturally going to need more laser energy to cut that much material. Have you tried doing a full power 2 (or more) pass cut test?

The benefit would be that you could go faster at full power, and the two passes would potentially yield a less charred outcome.

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Thank you! I had forgotten about that test strip, although I have used it before. But it seems that the results from the test strip don’t translate to the larger cut for me. Still having the same issues, even with two passes. I lowered the speed to 130 at full power, still same results with more char. I also cleaned the lens and camera, so I’m kid of at a loss.

I’m going to bet $0.05 that you’re cutting cherry veneered ply, not hardwood.

The issue is with consistency in the core.


okay, well that would make me feel less crazy

Pics of the cut and the file you’re using might help in terms of figuring out the issues.

Also be sure you haven’t unintentionally manually set the focus height in the cut operation. You can usually tell if your height is off by the thickness of the cut.

If it’s cherry, 130/full should get all the way through even on a basic (btw what machine do you have?) Cherry is usually very easy to cut.

Something is amiss. Lens upside down, focus incorrect, something.


Fast is key. Slower almost always yields more char, all other factors being equal.

Here is the file I’m using, made in illustrator. It almost exclusively happens on the long, straight sides, not the curves. I checked the focus height… it was set to 0.19 (which is the material thickness I put in manually.

I’ve made several cuts on a smaller scale to lower waste. I just cut on 1/8 baltic birch at 180/100, which is what I normally use for that material, but still get the same.

I am using a pro

Are the tiny cut failures in the same place every time? If so I’d think it’s the file. If they move around then it may be the material or some other physical problem with the machine.

Some illustrator person needs to look at the file and see what’s up maybe?

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they are in random places each time, so I don’t think it’s the file. But I’m relatively new to everything here, so I could easily (likely) be wrong. Thanks for all of your responses, appreciate the help!

With the machine turned off gently move the laser head from side to side and then pull the gantry forward and back. Does it feel smooth? Are there any bumps or skips as you do it? Trying to rule out that you might have junk under your wheels or some thing that would make the laser skip around physically.

I just got some of that car polish that is supposed to leave a layer of silica polish while it gets rid of any crud. Upon experimenting, however, it is really good at removing crud but not so much as polish, It is specifically supposed to not injure plastics, so it could be really useful on acrylic.

My Glowforge is down for a bit so I cannot do the testing I want to do.

Not exactly smooth. Back and forth seems fine

The gaps in your cuts there look like tiny air pockets. The laser doesn’t work when it hits them, because air doesn’t burn…no fuel.

Those are so small you’d never spot them with a flashlight. (You might have better luck with a different material.)

Okay, thanks for the feedback. I’ll keep experimenting with different materials and see what happens.

And now that I think about it, that would make sense. It doesn’t seem to happen with my jewelry. I thought maybe it had to do with the size and curves, but I usually use PG for jewelry.

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