Laser will not cut through Proofgrade Medium Walnut

Hey Team!

I have had my GF Pro for a few months now, never ran into issues until very recently and on a very specific material: Medium Walnut Plywood.
The material was purchased from Glowforge. The GF Pro is using the preprogram settings (no alterations). Part of the design is cut all the way through, some does not (and it is within an 6" circle).

I search the Community forum. There is almost the exact same thread back in 2019 (link here) and in 2017 (link here). I could not find something that solved my problem.

I cut and scored the same type of design (somewhat intricate) on Basswood, Cherry, and Walnut. Walnut is the only one giving me problems.

What did I try so far to fix it?

  • I used 30lb magnets in 2 places, assuming the center of the board could be warped. That did not help.
  • I changed the settings from Medium Walnut Plywood to Medium Walnut Hardwood. That did not help either.

The Proofgrade Walnut is $31 apiece. I have wasted 2 of them so far. I would love to not keep wasting Walnut Plywood.

Any advice?

Welcome to the forum.

One of the advantages of using the expensive Proofgrade materials is that Glowforge guarantees it. Send photos of your failed cuts along with the date and time of the cut to Glowforge support and they will look at your logs and try to figure out what went wrong. If you use Proofgrade settings and Proofgrade materials, your optics are clean, your fans are clean and the material is held down flat against the honeycomb tray they will honor their guarantee.

Magnets have caused problems in the past with the speed of the air assist fan, so you might want to reconsider their use.

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You didn’t mention if you cleaned all the optics? That solves 90% of my “didn’t cut through” issues.

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Thank you for the info! I did not know they had that guarantee.

Aside from magnets, any advice on how to keep those Proofgrade boards flat? I can’t use those Honeycomb Pins or I would have to drill holes in the board and stick them though it.

If your material is so warped that the hold down pins won’t work, you could have identified why you are having trouble cutting. How are you storing the wood? Is it possible to weight it down to flatten it out while it is in storage? I have lots of Proofgrade stuff that is not at all warped.

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I’ve clean them only once since I got my GF. But I also cut probably less than 1 dozen 12x20.
How often do you clean yours?

Your optics definitely need cleaning whenever you see any trouble at all with cuts. The side window inside the left side of the machine often gets overlooked.

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They are stored vertically, but lengthwise. The bowing is happening the other way. I just looked at the stack I have left ; 2 of them are not flat, but barely 1/16" off, in the center.
I’m in Florida. I’m wondering if the humidity is part of the problem too. They have been stored in my garage for a few weeks.

I am about to print those pins and give it another try. For some reasons, I thought I needed to pin down the center of the board… but I could just put them on the perimeter. Duh!
I’ll clean the optics too for good measure.

Hopefully that solves it. :slight_smile:

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I clean optics every few projects or whenever the lid glass and tube start looking dingy - Zeiss wipes are cheap and cleaning regularly helps prevent smoke/debris from getting burnt on. In 5 years I haven’t had to replace a single lens or mirror.

For bowing - if you put the board in bulgy side down, pinning the perimeter will work nicely.

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@ dklgood and ekla,
Thank you both for your advices!
I ran a quick test by use the pins and cleaning the lenses. No issue on that test run! :slight_smile:

Moving forward, I will make sure to keep up with a better cleaning schedule.

Again, thank you both for your time!

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