Laser stopped cutting

My glowforge was working well, then it just stopped. It moves and sounds like it is working, but does not have a laser.
I’ve cleaned the mirrors, the air assist fan and lenses many times.
What else can I do? Please help!

Prepare to do the gift of good measure. Do what I did, it’s a 3 minute video at most.

Oh no, I’m sorry you’ve hit a snag.

If your Printer Head is moving but you aren’t seeing the laser marking your material, there are two likely causes:

  • The mirror in the Printer Head is not installed correctly and may have been damaged.
  • The print power has been set to the lowest possible setting.

First, please inspect the mirror in the Printer Head

  • Follow these instructions to access the Printer Head mirror.

  • If you see damage to the mirror or the plastic handle (for example, if the plastic handle has been melted), please check the interior of the Printer Head for any additional damage. If you don’t see any signs of physical damage inside the Printer Head you can purchase a replacement Printer Head Mirror through the shop. Note: If there is damage to the plastic handle on the mirror, the mirror may be difficult to remove. You can follow the instructions here for removing a mirror that is stuck.

  • If you find any damage in the Printer Head, please take a photo of the damage and send it to us and we’ll follow up with next steps.

If the mirror looks good, do a test print

  • If the mirror is undamaged, please reinstall the mirror.

  • Place a sheet of Proofgrade material in the bed of your Glowforge and open the Gift of Good Measure design.

  • Before starting the print, please select the default Proofgrade settings. Once the material has been chosen you will see the word, “Cut”, “Score”, or “Engrave” under each step in the design.

  • When the print finishes, leave the lid closed and wait until the fans stop and the lid image updates.

  • If the design prints successfully, it is likely that the power was set too low on the previous print.

  • If you still don’t see the laser marking the material, please reply to this email including the date and time (with time zone) when your test print was run.

Thank you for responding. The mirror looks good but it is still not cutting. I noticed the tube is not lighting up as usual either which had me concerned. I told pictures of the settings and a video of the machine while it was running. I will upload all (of the files aren’t too big to upload). I ran the print from 2:25-2:29 PST today.

Looks like the video was too big to attach. Please let me know if you would like to see it.
Thank you!

Hello @jmeuljic, thank you for working through the steps that my colleague Jeremy provided, and for running the test print. Looking at the logs from the print I can see that the laser did mark your material, so the laser is working which is great.

Did the Gift of Good Measure cut through the material? If not, there are several things that need to be checked if the laser doesn’t cleanly cut through the material. We’ve discovered that photos don’t always come through well in emails, so I’ve included several links that will take you to reference instructions and photos. Please turn off your Glowforge and check the following:

After confirming all three areas above are good, please try another Gift of Good Measure print to see if you have any further issues. Please let us know how it goes. Thank you!

Thank you for the suggestions. The crumb tray is empty, I have used Zeiss wipes to clean all optics several times and the proof-grade wood was pinned to ensure it is flat.
The laser engraves and scores well but instead of cutting it engraves. The laser is not strong enough to cut.
In reading about others with similar problems, it seems the tube has blown. Since the machine is still under warranty, I would like to send it back for a replacement. Please advise how to begin this process.
Thank you!

Hi @jmeuljic . Thanks for getting back to us with that added information about the Gift of Good Measure result. I extracted the log files from your Glowforge and noticed there may be some trouble with the focusing step of recent prints. To help me rule that out as any cause of the print issues, can you do the following?

Send a photo of the bottom of the Printer Head like the reference image below. We want to check the side windows indicated by the arrows for any obstructions of debris that cannot be wiped away.

Next, can you try a Gift of Good Measure print design placed on the print bed without overlapping any of the QR code, and ensuring the Autofocuser is being used instead of Set Focus? The Autofocus setting will default when the Proofgrade material is recognized by the QR code, or when it is selected in the Glowforge app. If it does not cut through, can you send us photos of the front and back of the print result. This will give us more data about the laser performance against its design specifications, and help us see if this is something we can resolve remotely for a faster alternative to get you back up and printing.

I appreciate your time and patience working with us and will look forward to your response.

Here are the pictures requested. As you can see, the engrave and score functions seem to be working, but the cut function is not. I started the print today at 12:36 pm and finished at 12:41pm PST.
Please let me know if you need anything else. I am hoping to get this resolved as quickly as possible. Thanks!

This lens needs a good cleaning:

You probably should clean all the others while you’re at it.

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I have wiped it with the Ziess wipes. Should I do something different?

Does it still look like that pic after cleaning? If so, it is not clean.

It should look like this: (red arrow)

I took the lens out and cleaned it again. :crossed_fingers:t2:It works this time.

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Unfortunately, cleaning the lenses again didn’t make a difference.

Have you cleaned all the lenses and the mirror?

Things that need wiping

After every 40 hours of printing, use ZEISS lens cleaning wipes (available on Amazon and many other stores) to clean the cameras, laser lens, and windows. This will keep the unit working properly and prevent permanent damage to your unit.

  1. Remove Printer Head

Turn off your Glowforge. Grasp the printer head as shown, and pull gently up and back to disengage the magnets and remove it.

2. #### Wipe Windows on Underside of Printer Head

Turning the printer head over, use a ZEISS cleaning wipe to gently wipe the small window on either side of the lens.

3. #### Remove Lens

Gently insert the lens tool into bottom of the head with the “Remove” arrow pointing in. When you hear the magnet click, withdraw the tool and the lens.

4. #### Wipe Lens

Gently slide the lens off the lens tool and wipe both sides with a lens wipe. Be careful to touch only the metal ring to avoid fingerprints on the lens.image7.jpg
5. #### Replace Lens

Flip the lens tool until the “Install” arrow points up. Set the lens down on the lens tool. The open side goes away from the blue plastic, so it looks like a bowl on top of the tool. It will sit firmly on the tool and will not wiggle. Slide the lens tool up into the printer head until the magnet clicks, then remove the tool.V1 Lens on Tool Showing Bowl
6. #### Replace Printer Head

Review instructions for snapping in your printer head, then put the head back on.
7. #### Wipe Head Window

Wipe the window on the left side of the head.
8. #### Wipe Laser Window

Carefully reach over the left rail and wipe the laser window on the left side of the bed.
9. #### Wipe Camera Lens

Finally, gently wipe the lens of the wide angle camera on the unit’s lid.

10. #### More Wiping

It’s normal for some dust to accumulate inside your Glowforge. It is not necessary, but you can wipe the laser tube or the inside of the case with additional ZEISS cleaning wipes. Allow any moisture to dry completely before turning on your Glowforge again.

Wiping the Mirror in the Printer Head

After approximately every 120 hours of printing, use ZEISS lens cleaning wipes (available on Amazon and many other stores) to clean the mirror in your Printer Head.

  1. Turn off your Glowforge

  2. Open the lid and gently move the Printer Head to the center of the laser arm

  3. Remove the top of the Printer Head

The top of the Printer Head is held on by strong magnets. Grasping only the top, pull up carefully to remove it and set it aside.45deg mirror
4. #### Gently pick up the mirror

examine mirror
5. #### Inspect and clean the mirror

  • Be careful not to touch the mirror surface with your bare fingers.
  • Using a Zeiss wipe, gently wipe the surface of the mirror.
  • Use several passes until the mirror is clean, each time moving to an unused portion of the lens wipe.
  • If the mirror has a spot in the middle of it after cleaning, or is generally unable to be cleaned to a reflective finish, it needs to be replaced. Please take a photo, share it with us, and skip the rest of these instructions.
  1. If the mirror is unblemished, replace it carefully

  • Replacing the mirror incorrectly can permanently damage your Glowforge. Fortunately, we designed it to be easy!
  • Hold the mirror by the handle and gently slide it into the notch with the mirror at a 45 degree angle to the top of the Printer Head.Mirror 1
    Mirror 2
    replace 45 mirror 3
  1. Set the mirror gently back into the notch

The Glowforge logo on the handle will face up and sit parallel to the floor. It will rest softly in place - there is no need to push it in.

  • The mirror handle should look like this:
  • It should NOT look like any of the below:

02684fa1-ff52-4d55-a8d1-b05753dc9cf9.jpgbad mirror 2 bad mirror 1
8. #### Tap the blue handle once

This will help ensure that the mirror is resting properly in place.
9. #### Replace the top of the printer head


Thank you for such great visuals on how to clean my machine. I have done all of that and cleaned the air assist fans, still no luck. Any other suggestions?

I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. Hopefully a staff member will see this post soon and offer some further assistance.

You have been VERY helpful. Thank you!

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Hi @jmeuljic. Thank you for getting that photo of the bottom of your Glowforge’s unit. I’m happy to see that @beerfaced was able to give some good suggestions and detailed cleaning steps. Since the last Gift of Good Measure prints failed to cut through, I’d like a closer inspection at the optical components of your unit. At your earliest convenience, can you send me the follow?

  • 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 removed from the Print Head
    • Both sides of the lens, top and bottom
  • The mirror inside the printer head

With those pictures, I’ll follow up with next steps. Also, since this thread is getting lengthy with images and troubleshooting, I wanted to offer to move this discussion to email to help. If you’d prefer that, let me know and I can follow up with that upon your next response. Thank you!

![image|375x500](upload://9p iBUoZ0YTMJoD3Oxr4N0YJm9pE.jpeg)

I too am thankful for @beerfaced and all the tips!
Please let me know what else I can do to get things up and running again. It is getting a little frustrating.
Please feel free to continue this conversation via email (
Thank you!

Hello - I’ve gone ahead and sent a follow up email your way for some next steps and adjustments we can try in order to get you back up and running.

Please keep an eye out for that email and let us know you’d like to proceed.

Since we’ll be moving to email, I’m going to go ahead and close this forum topic.