Not able to consistently cut thick material

I have a Glowforge Pro that’s around 3 years old. It has gotten progressively less reliable at cutting through 1/4" thick material like Proofgrade Thick Draftboard over the past year. Most of the time, it does not cut through at the Proofgrade cut speed. I have to slow it down all the way to 110-120 (vs the PG speed 132).

I am attaching pictures of the Gift of Good Measure printed on PG Thick Draftboard at the PG settings. The cuts partially made it to the back of one sheet, but were not complete and the smaller circle cuts couldn’t be pushed through. Printing the same design on another sheet of PG Thick Draftboard that’s a few months old and it didn’t cut through at all on 90% of the design.

I have replaced the lens, mirror and windows with new ones from Glowforge’s spare parts store and keep them clean. I am attaching pictures of the optical bits as well. The exhaust fan and crumb tray are also clean and properly seated.

What are my options for getting my Glowforge back to working condition? The website says I can get the laser tube replaced for $499 shipping inclusive, but the last I’ve heard on these forums, you don’t have a repair center that can carry out that service. What else can I do?

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This doesn’t really solve the underlying condition but instead of slowing your cut speed you could run fast with multiple passes instead. I always cut my 1/4” materials this way to reduce char and heat effects.


Could you recommend a speed and number of passes for any thick material in particular? I’d love a good starting point, as my guesses haven’t worked much better so far.

I can’t give specific numbers but I experimented with this a fair amount back in the day.

My methodology that gave decent results was by working the speed variable to where two passes took approximately the same amount of time as one pass (usually a touch longer).

To guesstimate… the speeds you mentioned above: 120 speed is 11.8 inches per minute. 23 inches per minute (a touch slower than double) is 150 speed. So two passes at 150.

110 speed is 8 inches per minute. So 16 inches per minute is 131 speed.

Hopefully you can get sorted out with the new tube, since unfortunately it looks like you’re having to slow down more than 25%.

My understanding was that with the repair facility being offline, they are sending refurbs at the expected cost of service, so I would imagine that they would offer you the refurb, if it’s determined to be a dying tube, for $499 with shipping included (since the $499 includes round trip shipping).

This is actually a pretty good deal, IMO, since it’s much less downtime than sending your original machine in and waiting for a repair (4-5 days shipping each way, 4-5 days for repair - 3-week turnaround).


Hi there. I’m sorry to see you’ve run into some trouble with your Glowforge cutting through thick material. I appreciate you including the results of the GIft of Good Measure printed on Proofgrade material, and the photos of the optical parts from your printer. I just sent you an email to move any troubleshooting to there since this may require confirmation of your private information to help address everything. Can you confirm that my email was received? I will keep this thread open until we can confirm you received my email and will look forward to hearing back. Thank you!