Not cutting all the way through - any advice?

I have cleaned every single mirror/lens, cleaned my whole machine, using only proofgrade materials and can’t get a clean cut for the past week. If I have a small design and center it exactly in the middle of the machine, it will cut enough that I can punch it out with some rough edges left. If I have a large design or if I cut in the to the left or right corners, it won’t cut all the way through. My materials are flat, I’ve used proofgrade mdf and nonproofrade mdf that have cut fine prior to this and am having the same issue with both. Can anyone think of something else I maybe missing or can try? I am having to do double passes to get it to cut through at this point.

It might not be a bad idea to slow the initial cut down by about 5 to 10 points. I know the PG stuff is supposed to always cut through in one pass on default settings, but the reality is that wood and draftboard swells when exposed to humidity, and the seasons can cause some swelling.

If you set up a Custom setting for materials like Draftboard and MDF, which tend to be affected the worst, it can save a lot of time. Slightly slower speeds and all else stays the same.

Thank you so much! I am going to try this today. I live in South Florida so the humidity is 1000% everyday :slight_smile: I run the AC 24/7, but I can see this still being an issue! Thanks again for the advice!


If your machine is not cutting Proofgrade with default settings, it is not working correctly. Support can only recommend repairing. If you’re willing to live with it, then you can try slowing down the cuts as suggested.

Proofgrade MDF doesn’t swell in humidity. Something I had made from draftboard that hung outside for 2 years (in Atlanta) had the same thickness as objects stored indoors, as well as brand new sheets.

1 Like

Yeah, I’m in Houston. I have to use Custom settings on Draftboard. (Most of the plywoods are okay though, so that helps.) :smile:

You can measure the thickness with calipers and see if it’s swelling first if you want…the Medium DB should be at 0.125" for the default settings to work. Mine is never under 0.134", so I adjust for it, and get perfect cuts with the custom setting.

Unfortunately, I still think it does. I’ve still got scraps that I measured three years ago at 0.128" and they are now 0.139". (Yes, I AM completely insane, I actually measured all of the samples during the testing phase and recorded it in a spreadsheet while we were in Pre-Release stage. It was part of my learning process.) These were always stored flat inside an air conditioned house. Not enough…it’s still humid here. GF used a different QR code then, it’s easy to spot the early scraps since I tend to cut around the QR code as long as possible. So I can identify the old scraps (and sheets) for comparison now.

I also created an early kitchen brush holder that I didn’t seal, out of the plywood, and then put it into an environment near the sink where it warped and twisted as it got swollen with damp. After a few months it had swollen to twice the original size on the side that was near the sink. Totally ruined it. I wasn’t happy.

Whatever causes it to swell, or whether it is coming out of the factory that way…the default settings in the Glowforge program are set for 0.125". My assumption was that most other people around the world are not getting the thicker draftboard, so that’s why Glowforge uses 0.125" as a generic focal height. If the draftboard is significantly thicker than that, for whatever reason, the cut might not be complete. So the default settings just don’t work as well for people in coastal areas. (The only time I can use the defaults on Draftboard with 100% certain cut-through is when they first arrive here.)

Anyway, setting up the Custom setting made cutting draftboard as easy as having the system do it for me, so I recommend it for folks who also live in an area where humidity is over 70% year round.

Glowforge doesn’t agree that it’s a humidity issue either, I think. I’m just not sure “one-size-fits-all” is possible with one default setting. Too many variables.


Another thing I have noticed that ever since they fixed the overburn at the corners the power where the higher speed cannot be reached gets automatically reduced in power, there is a bit of overshoot and so intricate movements do not cut as deep as happens on the straightaway. Because of this I usually slow the cuts there for that reason also.


I’m so sorry to hear that you’re running into trouble. I hope the advice provided by the community has been helpful.

I’d like to review a specific test print, so that we can create a baseline for your Glowforge, and ensure that it is performing within specification. When you have a moment, could you please do the following?

  1. Turn off your Glowforge, then turn it back on

  2. We included an extra piece of Proofgrade Draftboard with your materials shipment for troubleshooting. Place Proofgrade Draftboard in the bed and load the Gift of Good Measure design.

  3. Set the score and engrave steps to ‘ignore.’ Print the Gift of Good measure using the default settings. Allow the print to finish.

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

  5. Check the completed print:

  • If the Gift of Good Measure fails to cut, please let us know the date and time of the print

  • If the Gift of Good Measure cuts successfully, please try another print of the design you saw the issue with, and let us know the results.

If the issue still occurs, please let us know the date and time of the finished print. Let us know how it goes!

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email