My Glowforge is not cutting 1/4" plywood. Any thoughts on why?

Any thoughts on why?

Lots of reasons. First, it could very well be the material. Some plywood will never cut with a laser because of glue pockets, knots voids, etc. Dirty optics cause poor cutting results. Dirty fans, can be an issue as well as warped material.


the general advice is shine a bright flashlight thru the wood, and see what ‘shape’ its in, that may give you some guidance on the ability to cut it, can you cut other woods?
if not then time to do a full clean.

Good luck



In my experience 1/4” blocks all light. This trick works best with 1/8” materials. Still, worth a shot.

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The Glowforge has made cuts on this plywood I’m using now before. And it just wont cut now.

yes it can cut other woods as well as acrylic and everything else. Just this one, and I’ve used it before.

I just picked up some Baltic Birch from a lumber yard that i know and trust, and the latest batch of wood is total crap, smoky sticky crap.

I think with the prices of wood shooting up, wood manufactures are throwing in garbage into the mix as ‘filler’ that 90% of people who use it would never notice.

just my thoughts.


Check out #5:

If you’ve cleaned your machine lately, particularly note the part about lens orientation.


If it cuts everything else, the problem is your material.


yes I have cleaned it recently. Im gonna check oh that. thank you.

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I have this problem too very often. The plywood is the problem most of the time or the machine is dirty. I usually clean my lenses every day now and works pretty good.

Send me a message when you have a moment and we’ll see if we can get this hammered out. There are a few variables that could be causing this so we’ll want to hammer this out. I do a ton of work with 1)4th so I’m very fimiler with it and it’s possible issues.

When I first got my Glowforge I got what was supposed to be “Baltic Birch” at Home Depot and it was the very worst stuff I ever touched. Where it worked it was great but that was only perhaps half, so every try was chancy and more so the bigger it was.

I’ve sent you a message.

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@lia.craftstudio21 sent a message!

Hey. I had exactly this problem this week. My GF won’t cut any plywood anymore and I also cleaned it very well every day. But the problem was I never took out the laser lens. Once I took it out and cleaned it, the laser just started to cut like butter. Cuts great. No more wasting for me :joy::see_no_evil::see_no_evil:


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