The GlowForge has worked beautifully with 1/8 inch plywood but has been extremely difficult with cutting 1/4 inch (non-proofgrade). I finally got a portable ac unit which has helped tremendously, eliminating the painfully long cooling pauses. But now a serious alignment issue has popped up. Yesterday, when I started a cutting project, there was a 1/2 inch shift from the alignment I saw in the app and the alignment on the board. The cutting fell off the board. I have to do multiple passes to cut 1/4 inch beyond the standard 3 the app allows. In the past, there was no shift at all if I start the cutting process again after the last one finishes, as long as I don’t touch anything. Now, the next cutting attempt is in a different location than the first, ruining the board. I have game pieces that need to be cut from 1/4 inch but now I am beginning to wonder if the glowforge is up to it. I do have proof grade 1/4 inch board coming. I am hoping that will cut better. But this alignment issue really worries me.
Not sure if you did, but you’ll need to
- Measure the exact thickness of the material with your calipers.
- Enter that exact measurement into the app.
I’ve cut through 1/4" woods in a single pass with no issue at all. Hell, I’ve cut through 3/4" in a single pass (although I would NOT recommend it!). But consider that all woods are not the same. And even when you acquire wood from the same source, it may not be the same wood and settings may need to change.
Can you recommend settings? This is one thing I really wish Glowforge offered (maybe they do but I do not know about it), but recommended settings for basic materials like 1/4 inch baltic birch plywood. I am having to guess and so far, it seems to require way more than double what 1/8 inch requires. And the shifting alignment is making that impossible to accomplish.
I really can’t because we’re not using the same wood. Every new material will require testing. I recommend keeping a spreadsheet or keep clearly-marked material tests themselves. (The actual samples are perfect, but the spreadsheet takes up a LOT less space. ) To start, you might find a similar material and see if those settings work. Then adjust from there as needed. Another starting point might be 1000/Full/270 and see what that gets you and then adjust from there as needed.
Your alignment should not shift between runs unless you are having a mechanical issue (the Head is hitting something or you are manually moving the head while the machine is on), or are moving the design in the UI, or moving material around.
Not all wood is created equal. GF could maybe provide guesstimates but that’s all that they would be. You’d still have to test. You can get good starting points by doing as @Tom_A suggested and selecting a similar Proofgrade material, changing to manual, and looking at the settings.
FWIW, I cut just 1/4” Baltic birch at 130 speed/Full power on a pro, 1 pass.
Just try using the Thick Maple Plywood setting on your 1/4 inch BB. It should work pretty well, and if not, you can tweak it manually. (Does for me…I’m too lazy to do testing on cheap plywood. That’s usually reserved for support structures anyway.)
One thing to keep in mind is that the speed and power scales are not linear. What that means is 200 is not twice as fast as 100. Nor is 50 power half 100 power. So unless you’re accounting for the different scales you’re not likely specifying "double’.
Grab one of the calibration designs posted in Beyond the Manual and you can see what various power/speed combinations will do for each material you use.
Thank you all! The alignment issue seems to have corrected itself. I realized that I cannot do the higher settings at too slow of a speed because I am trying to cut out small camel player pieces and they scorch very easily. Either they don’t cut out all the way through, or they become terribly charred. I enlarged them somewhat, and now that the alignment issue has corrected itself, I have found a good balance between power and number of passes, where they cut out without terrible scorching. I am happy now.
Again, thank you! Another hurdle overcome!
Thank you everyone for your help!
I’m so glad you’ve found solutions!
I’m going to close this topic. Please post a new one if you have more questions.