Not cutting completely through proofgrade materials

Hi there! My machine is brand new—I’ve only used it for about 4-5 hours of cutting time. It started off perfect but as the day went on I started having issues with getting the laser to cut all the way through proofgrade materials using the proofgrade automatic settings.

I cleaned all of the lenses, glass, and mirror in case this was the issue (it wasn’t).

I’m using a pro with the glowforge filter. I have only cut proofgrade materials + paper so far.

Has anyone else had this issue?

I also noticed when cleaning the print head that there is some shiny hard substance built up near the windows. I’m not sure what this could be from…?

The shiny substance is likely a sloppy glue job, but shouldn’t impact anything. As far as the not cutting through…how close is it getting?

Make sure you are pinning the material completely flat (we use these Honeycomb Pins) to eliminate any problems from warp, and you might want to run a copy of the Gift of Good Measure on Proofgrade draftboard, then show pictures of the front and the back here if it does not cut through completely. (Support uses it to analyze machine issues.) :slightly_smiling_face:


Just checking to see if you cleaned the one on the left side of the machine. It seems to be a common miss initially by folks when the machine is still new. I thought I’d throw it out there for you. Let us know how it goes?


I did! I followed their full cleaning instructions


It’s getting pretty close on the plywood (gets about 20% of the way through the back veneer) but not that far on the draftboard. The beam also seems to be a little thicker on both than it started—like it’s burning at a slightly lower temp or something? It could also be that I’m watching it more closely right now but I feel like there’s more smoke than there was at first (which could be explained by a slightly lower temp).

Good call on printing the good measure tool to prep for their feedback. Will do that first thing tomorrow when I get in!

If there is more smoke than you used to see and it is pooling in the machine and not getting sucked out immediately, then it’s possible that your filter cartridge is filling up, and that can definitely affect the beam of light and make it cut less effectively.

It’s possible to clog a filter with as little as 5 hours of cutting time - are you cutting a lot of draftboard? If so, that might be the problem. A replacement cartridge will fix the problem with the cutting, and you will likely need one soon if you are starting to see smoke pool in the unit. Try turning up the fan speed on the filter, but go ahead and order a replacement for the cartridge.

(You want to avoid draftboard with the filter if at all possible - the glues in it tend to clog the filter cartridge prematurely.)


Man, that would be crazy! Those filter cartridges are $250 and are currently sold out. Will try turning up the fan speed and see if that helps. It’s not that it’s “pooling”—it’s still being pulled out but must be less effective. I can turn the internal fan back on too (I have it selected that I’m using the glowforge external filter which disables the internal fan)

Well guys. I tried two things: running the filter on full blast with the internal fan also running (cutting the “good measure“)—no dice. Also disconnected from the filter, moved the machine close to a door and ran the duct directly outside with the internal fan running, also no dice. So it’s not a ventilation issue, but at least my filter isn’t likely full yet :woman_shrugging:

Note the time of this GoGM print so support can check the logs.

I don’t see anything wrong with your print head, not sure what you were referring to there.


Hmmmm. Do you have a set of digital calipers on hand? If you can…measure the thickness of that draftboard and see if it is significantly off from the default value of 0.125 inches. (Draftboard swells in high humidity areas…sometimes it will get up to 0.134" or over, and that can keep it from cutting through using the default settings in one pass.)

I’ve seen different results in different seasons, due to humidity, but it’s always high humidity around here, so I have to set up my own settings for Draftboard. (About 10 points slower in speed.)

That might not be what is causing the issue here, but if you can measure the thickness of that board it might help to eliminate it as an issue.

thanks for the tip. We’re pretty low humidity over here in Northern California, so I don’t think that’s the issue. I can get it to cut through if I slow the speed down by about 20-30 points but then the beam is cutting so thickly that it’s impossible to get finer detail work to cut (and it makes the cut look somewhat angled from top to bottom, burning more through the material on the top than the bottom)

Yeah, that’s too much. You’re going to need to let Support look into it from their end.
Good luck with it. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for jumping in to help and being about 10000000x more responsive than support. They’ve been replying to emails every 4-5 hours so it’s going to take me a week to resolve this. Really cool experience with the machine so far. :expressionless:

They’ve got more to look into. (They do get it cycled in about a third the time now, so it’s improving. Even with the COVID related problems.) :slightly_smiling_face:


Hi @jhische I see you’ve already emailed us about this issue and we’re working on it there, so I’m going to close this topic.