Not Cutting Through (PG & Non-PG Materials)

Hi support folks. We’re having trouble cutting through materials using our old standby settings. The problem seems to have appeared after the beta speed upgrade on our Pro model.

As a test, we cut the Good Measure on medium draft board. It didn’t cut through (not even close).

Cleaned the lenses and the mirror. Verified that the mirror and lens are inserted correctly. Photos of print head attached.

Not sure what to check next. Thanks for your help!

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There are LOADS of threads about this, and always good idea to search the forum before posting about an issue–often you can find a solution that way.

It’s great you included lots of photos, but often it’s nothing to do with the unit, but the flatness of the material (nearly all sheets need to be pinned down with the “hold down pins” (search for those in free patterns & make loads–I use my scraps of med maple ply). Also if you have higher humidity than about 40%, slowing down about 10 pts in speed really helps.

But if the lens is upside down, that will drop the effective power–if etching is OK, but just cutting, then that’s not it. (Learned that one myself!).

And as a good rule of thumb, when cutting, never move the sheet until you’ve verified the part is cut out by seeing if it can wiggle–the kerf provides plenty of room to feel the piece shift if it’s cut fully through (though complicated shapes that may be more difficult).

I think that, in itself, represents a problem. The point of Proofgrade materials with Proofgrade settings is that “it just works.” It’s designed to be push-button simple. Shouldn’t require thought.

All of the things you mention can certainly be true. But with the “loads” of the same issue, I’d tend to think there’s some other issue at this time rather than some of those concepts you mentioned. Still, good to check those boxes!

And I’ve also replied as to what could be some of those other factors to you in another thread…

But everyone needs to know how adjust the settings to get the cuts/design out of the materials they have until there’s any changes to PG if it’s found necessary.

It’s good to note when PG that is flat & pinned is not cutting through so the GF team can determine if there is a real trend either related to the variation in the PG materials, season/temps/RH, or geography, so they can determine if they do need to adjust the PG settings…

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I’m so sorry to hear that you’re experiencing some trouble cutting through Proofgrade material. The beta speed upgrade does not effect default settings, so we may need to review a couple of items.

I appreciate you taking the time to send over images of your optics, and printing the Gift of Good Measure. I extracted the logs from your Glowforge to review the print. Could you measure your material with a pair of precision calipers (or another precise measuring tool) if you have them, and send me the values you record? Be sure to remove the protective layer on both sides before measuring.

Also, even when the Crumb Tray is clean and flat, the material may not be lying flat on the surface. Some materials can develop a curve (called ‘warp’), and warped material may not cut through consistently. The problem is especially likely to occur if the print is large.

  • Soft materials, like Proofgrade leather may need to be smoothed into place. Any lumps or bumps will affect the print quality.
  • Read our troubleshooter on warped material for ideas on how to take care of your materials.

Thank you for taking the time to review the material. Please let me know what measurements you capture, and I’ll send over the next best steps.

Hi Marc,

The material was/is flat. I always verify/ensure flatness before I close the lid.

Also, the problem was a step change (not decreasing capability over time). Things were cutting fine last week (no adjustment at all to normal power settings). I turned on the GF, noticed we go the speedup, and nothing would cut through (PG & non-PG) without significant modifications to speed/power. For example, we had to use settings typical for 1/4" MDF in order to cut through 1/8" MDF…

I won’t be home until after business hours (7 pm PST), so I’m afraid my measurement won’t make it into your hands until tomorrow. I’d love to do more than measure the thickness tonight though…

Can we assume the PG is within spec for now (I’ll confirm tonight) and you give me the next best steps so I can do them tonight all at once?

Thank you so much for letting me know!

The recent update should not have modified the default settings when using Proofgrade material, but when I extracted the log files from your Glowforge, I noticed some different measurements in regards to the material height that may have caused this behavior.

Sometimes this can occur when the material is warped or not flat, but since you have already checked this, the only other step is to verify the material specifications, or see if the same behavior occurs on an alternate piece of Proofgrade.

Once you can send over the measurements, I’ll provide the next best steps.

Thanks Joshua :slight_smile:

Hi Marc,
The proof grade measured 0.128 inches in the area near the cut.

Thanks for the help!

Thank you for your continued patience, and I apologize for the delay in response.

I’ve reviewed the material specifications, extracted the log files from your Glowforge, and read all of the great information you provided.

Unfortunately, it looks like your unit is experiencing an issue that we can’t resolve remotely. I’ll be in touch via email to sort out the details. I’m so sorry about the bad news.

I’ll close this thread, and follow up via email directly.