Laser not cutting all the way through material

I am having issues with my laser not cutting all the way through the wood I use. I mainly use birch plywood and have been having issues lately that when the laser finishes cutting, it either does not cut all the way through or there will be spots that aren’t cut out. I have even had issues with it not cutting all the way through proof grade material. The last cut I did I had the speed set to 150 and used full power. The machine has been cleaned. The print head has been fully cleaned. I know the support team cannot fully help because I do not use proof grade material all the time. Also, the plywood I use is pinned down using the honey comb pins. I try to make the material as flat to the bed as possible. Any suggestions?

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Many owners have tactics for side-stepping this issue, mostly by slowing down the cut speed, but if it’s not cutting Proofgrade, then there might be a problem with the machine that needs to be remedied and, if it’s still under warranty, you should get it addressed. All you need to do is print the Gift of Good Measure on the spare Medium Draftboard that came with the machine, and post pics.

If it cuts the GoGM without issue, then you can focus on dealing with settings and inconsistencies in materials.

My machine will be three years old in a few months, and still cuts Proofgrade perfectly.

There’s a section in the troubleshooting section of the support pages dedicated to this.

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Since everything’s clean and flat it sounds like you may just have an annoying batch of birch ply, it happens unfortunately.

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I have done the print for the gift of good measure because the support team wanted me to do that as well and they said as long as the material is mainly cut through and I can poke the excess pieces out, that still falls under it being a successful cut. I have tried slowing down the cut speed as well. Still same issue. And it seems as though it happens with all my batches of plywood. I have been having this issue for a while now. When I first got my machine, I never had this problem. It cut through everything with no problem at all.

Non- PG plywood is a crap shoot. The voids and pockets of glue can be a nightmare. Both of which can render the laser impotent when trying to cut through.

Try buying Baltic birch instead of just regular birch plywood. You’ll still run into problem spots once in a while, but it tends to be better quality and more reliable in the GF. :slight_smile:

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Having the exact same problem. And I am using Baltic Birch from a seller on ebay, 1/8”. Seller has 5 stars, my GF is newer, and we also are experiencing all kinds of problems with spots not cut through at all. We are disappointed. We recently cleaned all lenses as well.

If it is cutting the GoGM on draftboard as you say, then your machine is operating normally and (as I said) you can start to work on your settings.

The material you are working with now is not the same as when you first got your machine, regardless of where you are buying it from.

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Most plywood is not manufactured to be cut with a laser. The specifications for interior grades of material, sizes of knots, sizes of voids vary greatly. Some glue patches or voids are so tough to cut through with a laser that often times they cannot be cut through. Plywoods that are designed to be cut by a laser (such as proof grade) have stricter standards for the interior layers and glues so that they can be cut easily by a laser. You pay more for the stricter standards, but you get what you pay for.

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It’s not the laser.

I will report back geek after trying proof grade again. We have tried every setting we know to from experienced users here. We have cleaned again. We just cant figure it out. We are trying. Are there any suggestions on where to get good baltic birch? Where do most purchase their wood, do you happen to know any good sources? Thanks…

The sad truth is, as others have pointed out above, there’s wide variation in plywood composition, and some glues / fillers are not laser-compatible. That’s not the fault of the machine, it’s just the way it is.

As for sources, that’s been discussed here many times previously. Here’s a forum search to get you started:

https://community.glowforge.com/search?q=baltic%20birch%20sources

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Will check it out right now. Thanks… :grinning:

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It sounds like you expect PG settings to cut non-PG materials. You simply need to adjust your settings. The machine will cut it just fine.

I can cut up to 0.59" material (yes, thicker than officially supported) in a single pass, every time. I regularly cut cheap and nasty 3/16 plywood underlayment, again with rarely any issue - but those issues are not a problem with the machine. The BB I use cuts cleanly as well. I don’t use your settings.

Hi eflyguy…if it is ok to ask…do you have a plus or pro laser strength? I own a plus laser, wish I had the pro for the passthrough.
Maybe later…lol. Would you mind me asking what settings you use for baltic birch 1/8” and 1/4”? I have followed several settings people on the forum have suggested for baltic birch, but just cant get it to cut consistently yet.
I have only had my GF for a few months, so learning all I can along the way. Thanks!

Local lumberyards have been very reliable. In Southern California we have Ganahl, Anawalt and Rockler. I’ve had about 95% success with 1/8” Baltic birch ply from them.
Cheaper, too. Even with cutting fees it works out to a little over $1/GF sized sheet. (True BB Ply comes in 5’x5’ sheets at lumberyards and runs about $11)

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Would you mind sharing what kind of setting you use to achieve this results?

Custom material settings can only be discussed in Beyond the Manual.

That said, I won’t share my settings, because they are the ones I have determined through testing on my materials. Other people don’t have my material, and if they are blindly followed on “similar” material, they could cause a fire. There are plenty of existing discussions here on how to determine the best settings for your material.

Finally, the material always has variations. I think I mentioned that above, or at least in another thread in the last day or so. What this means is that if I have a large job, I still test my setting in a small area (usually just a small circle) to make sure they will work on that particular sheet - even though it may be one I cut from a larger sheet that I have used previously.

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Here’s a foolproof way to dial in settings that will actually work on the exact material you have, on your machine:

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