Lens underneath the the laser head

Should the laser lens in the laser head be all the way up because mine keeps slipping down just before the opening for the fan and I noticed that whenever it does this my Glowforge is not cutting well I’m barely getting through 1/8th inch MDF all my fans are clean I have an additional intake fan attached it doesn’t matter how well I clean it shouldn’t be taking four passes to get through 1/8th” mdf. Please help.

No, the lens is supposed to move up and down. That’s how it focuses.

Are you cleaning ALL the lenses and mirrors in addition to your fans? Mdf is notoriously dirty.

I am. I learned that early on.

In that case, what settings are you using? 4 passes does seem excessive.

I tried GF settings, then thick draft board, then same just x2, 123, 2x its crazy. Same batch of mdf I have used in the past with no issues.

Do you have any Proofgrade materials to test with? MDF can be inconsistent where Proofgrade materials are generally not. Too much resin in the MDF mix, etc. You never know. It should help us identify where your problem is.

I only have PG walnut. I have not been able to get PG material for months.


Any chance you can do a small test on a piece of that? I know you don’t want to waste it, but I think it will really help figure things out for you.

I’m sorry to hear that you’re having some trouble with cuts not going completely through the material. The Print Lens will move up and down as part of it’s focusing stage, and to address the cut issue, please turn off your Glowforge and verify that you have checked the following:

Once all these things have been checked, please perform the following test print.

  • Print the Gift of Good Measure on Proofgrade material, using Proofgrade settings.

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

Check the completed print:

  • If the Gift of Good Measure fails to cut through, take a photo of the front and back of the print and attach these photos to your reply.

Feel free to try the print on the Proofgrade Walnut material. I understand any concern about waste, and the great thing about our Gift of Good Measure test print is that is small enough to be printed on any scraps of other Proofgrade materials that you may have on hand. I’ll look forward to your response.

Thanks for getting back to me and I understand these are apart of your checks you need to go through, but please understand In the time I have had my GF I have noticed the efficiency of the cuts drastically reduced , time increase and productivity out the window. I have quite a checks before I even contact you all so yes that was all done prior with no change. It’s just a waste of material at this point. Especially 1/4” material. No I do not have PG material except walnut because Glowforge has been out for months every single time I have checked. And waisting walnut as expensive as it is, is a big no for me.


The tests they have us run on Proofgrade material sends standardized data to them (through the machine logs) that they can analyze to determine what is wrong specifically with a machine.

They’re not asking you to do it for no reason, they need that data to see if anything is actually wrong with your machine mechanically.

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That’s understandable but as I stated I have not been able to get proof grade material for months other than walnut.

Yeah, I just had a couple of sheets of Draftboard delivered after them being out for a couple of months. (Be sure to sign up to be notified when it’s in by email over in the Shop, because it comes in small batches, and they sell out quickly.)

I wouldn’t want to have to wait for the next shipment of draftboard to get in…do you have any scraps of Proofgrade material left over that you can run the test on?

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I only have PG walnut

Well, you can run it on walnut, but that’s expensive. Didn’t keep any scraps? Something that didn’t work and you don’t mind disassembling it for the test?

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Burned through any scraps I had. I have had my forge for 9 months and have used up whatever scraps I have had testing.l and making. So yeah a little dilemma.


Definitely caught between a rock and a hard place.

I’d go ahead and run it on the walnut if that’s all I had, since finding the problem is going to save you time overall (having to make multiple runs is a huge time waster), and it might be something that will continue to deteriorate. Maybe just rotate the GOGM vertical, and place it over on the far right side…then you can flip the sheet and not actually lose much from it.
Good luck!

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You must understand you’ve got 3 of us here, including Glowforge staff, trying to help you and all of us are telling you the same thing… If you want to solve your problem, you’re likely going to have to burn a couple of inches of Proofgrade. They currently have Maple, Basswood, and Poplar in stock if you want to wait on the issue until you get more.


The lens should be seated all the way at the top. If yours is slipping down, that is a problem. Make sure its inserted correctly.

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I apologize for the delay. Our support request volume has been higher than normal with the holidays, but I wanted to get back to you this evening.

I’ll be happy to see what we can troubleshoot with the recent failed prints from your unit. If you’re able to complete the Gift of Good Measure test print with the material you have on hand, feel free to respond with that, along with a description of the material used for our reference.

The next step would be to check the optics of the unit that could cause any cut through issues. Could you do the following for me?

Please send photos of all your cleaned optical components, with special attention to any damage you might find:

  • 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
    • Both sides of the lens, top and bottom
  • The mirror inside the printer head
  • The bottom of the printer head

I’ll review the requested photos once received and feel free to send at your earliest convenience.

Thank you!

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