Losing Power Over time?

I’ve used lasers before when the tube gets older, and with use, it gets less and less effective.

I’ve been experiencing that my GF basic won’t cut through PG stuff anymore on any of the settings, I have to boost the power or slow down the cut to make it through. I am usually pretty careful to make sure the stock is flat, bed is level and all the other necessary evils to make our little machines work well.

Any one else?

Have you cleaned all the windows and mirror lately?

Yes, I try and keep those ports clean with lens fluid and cotton free papers. It’s just something I am working around, just wanted to know if others are experience the same thing.

Also, the alignment stuff but again, it’s more of a work around that something I want to solve.

Mine hasn’t lost any power yet. (I do keep it pretty clean, but i’m not running it for production.)

I use mine about 4-5x a week, quick jobs, nothing too long. The longest jobs are my Cribbage boards which are about 45-50 mins.

That can be quite a list from mirror and windows as @Jules beat me to it, but also all the fans(there are three) and particularly the large head fan allows the smoke to block the laser somewhsat.

I wish we could have a read out on the hours we’ve used the laser tube.


That’s a bit more than I run it, but it’s not production level either…by a long shot. i wouldn’t expect it to start to fade yet.

I’ve cleaned the internal mirrors a few times, but how safe is it to clean on the regular?

Well, there’s a little fan under the print head that keeps buildup from happening on the lense and mirror…surprisingly, those don’t need to be cleaned very often. I might have cleaned them half a dozen times in the year I’ve had this machine. The side window on the left of the printhead, and the one hidden over the tank tracks need to be wiped a little more regularly.

But there are two very small windows on the underside of the print head…those need to be wiped too, and we don’t have any instructions to do that written up. If those get grungy, it can give a false reading for the focusing height of the beam. (I think…pure speculation on my part.) But try wiping those off and see if things improve any. Can’t hurt. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Just cleaned those ports again, we’ll see.

I kind of already had this problem way back and just treated it as wear and tear on a big beta release of a machine.

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Nope. Still a problem. Better but still a problem.

Cleaned everything I could and realigned stuff.

It BARELY cut through PF Draftboard and it’s still off a 1/8" even when smack dab in the middle. I had to punch it out and some of uncut fibres were still attached. Engraving is good tho.

Might have to knock speed down a few points. Ugh. Internal mirror?

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Your alignment looks like mine, so nothing going on there…the cutting through is probably close enough that I wouldn’t be concerned about the power fading…maybe do like @paulw suggested and knock the speed down a few points.

I do think they have the cut-through set to just barely get through the material all the way…that’s to reduce the kerf effect, but sometimes it doesn’t quite make it through as a result. It’s a trade-off. I prefer to slow it down a few points or cut a second pass in order to not create a honking big kerf, which makes things fit too loosely.

We’re pretty much caught by the mechanics of the process I’m afraid.


There comes a point in time when components of the optical system will have to be replaced. Residue is a part of the process and eventually, even with great care in cleaning, the lens, windows, and mirror will need to be replaced due to the nature of cleaning.

Not saying this is the case here but it’s possible. The Proofgrade cut settings, in my experience, are pretty near the “perfect” settings - meaning they will cut if everything is in very good condition, flat, etc.


Yah, I figured as much.

I have been working with these ‘problems’ for so long its just part of the machine quirks. It’s better than having NO laser at shop!

Just reporting what I find!

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From your photo I don’t see anything pinning your material down flat to the tray. Without magnets or hold down pins you’re going to have some gap under your draftboard; there’s just no way it’s perfectly flat. Even if it’s just a tiny bit warped it can affect cut-through, in my experience.

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that was my thought too - I’m sorry if you posted it already and I missed it but have you confirmed the pg thickness with calipers yet?

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Normally I would hold it down with magnets but this scrap was dead flat (I put it on some plate glass to see if it was).

yup, I just slowed down the cut back down to 150 speed and it went through no problem. Just annoyed that the optimal easy settings aren’t working well.

Thankfully new firmware has allowed us to save our settings.

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