Left side of most cuts won't go all the way through - been having this problem for months

I’ve had my glowforge under a year and maybe since October I’ve had a struggle to get the left side of any cut to go all the way through. Photo here, from the underside of an 1/8 acrylic sheet:

It always cuts well on the right but it just ALWAYS tapers off to the left. I’ve tried cleaning it the head and the left lens, taking the tray out, cleaning that, making sure it’s secure in the bottom. I’ve used a level and everything is straight. I can’t figure out why for everything it never cuts properly on the left. I waste SO much material.

I’ve had to start using slower and slower speeds to cut through things. For 1/8 black acrylic I use 140 speed/full power and it still struggles to cut through on the left of anything. Like it cuts through great on the right, but just tapers off to the left.

EDIT: I should also say that this happens for every colour, every material. I primarily use 1/8 acrylic as I make earrings but it’s been a struggle for a while.

Any help appreciated. Thank you.

This is definitely not the usual problem when cuts are irregular across the usable area. Usually it is the right side that has a problem if the optics aren’t properly aligned. You have checked the other obvious problems which have to do with a honeycomb tray that isn’t properly seated and a Glowforge that isn’t level.

You should print the Gift of Good Measure on Proofgrade material on the left side and right side of the material. Send photos (front and back) along with the date and time of the print to Glowforge support.


In most cases, when things cut better on one side than another my suggestion wouldn’t have anything to do with it, but I can’t help but notice how heavily your Glowforge is covered in residue…both the tube and the lid glass. While those two things are merely cosmetic, it suggests to me that perhaps you’ve also not cleaned ALL of the optics in some time. There are more things to clean than just the left window and the main lens. A clean tray won’t have any bearing on your problem at all.


That’s a fair assumption. I don’t clean the tube much or the glass as it’s cosmetic. I use pressurized air & lens cleaners to clean the rest. I cut and engrave SO much product in the machine that the residue builds up quickly. I use pressurized air to clean out the left and right sides of the machine, and the head. I see your point but I do clean the important parts of the machine & I am aware of the residue.

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I will do this- thank you. I don’t have any proofgrade material left as it’s very expensive to ship to Canada, do you think acrylic from another source would be alright? If I’m comparing the left and right sides then maybe it would be fine.

EDIT: I did find some proofgrade basswood hardwood but it would be great to do this test in acrylic.


Hey, I actually woke up this morning to this comment thinking “I DO CLEAN IT!” but then I did an hour-long DEEP clean with a magic eraser getting a ton of grime off. And… the machine works loads better. So, thank you. I think I lashed out earlier.


That would be a bit scary on any lens or window as each has a coating that I would not trust to anything but a Zeiss or similar cleaner specifically for such lenses. However, that does sound like a great idea for the inside of just the glass part (not the ribbon or lens area) of the lid. :slightly_smiling_face:


Oh gosh, I should probably state that I only cleaned the front door, the lid, and the tube with a magic eraser. I use lens cleaning wipes for the lens + pressurized air for the rest. :slight_smile:


Other than the various lenses everything else you cleaned would have zero effect on the issue you were having. That is a weird one. Many people in the past have had issues with the right side not cutting through possibly caused by misaligned mirrors which could defocus the laser as it travelled farther from the left side. I haven’t heard of anyone with the problem occurring on the left side like yours.


It’s weird, right? Every time I looked it up no one had problems on the left. It works better now after cleaning but I still need to have it go a lot slower than normal to cut anything. So far, after cleaning, the left and right sides are fine. Hoping it lasts. Maybe the tray WAS misaligned, but I clean it all the time and slot it back into place. Really not sure. It tends to start having this problem more and more over time.


Just be really, really, really careful when you deep clean that you don’t get any liquid where it shouldn’t be. A little drop sliding down one of those ribbon cables into the connector is the fast path to being out of commission.


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