Out of ideas.. help!

I am at a loss for what is happening with my GF. It will not cut and I’ve been tested on PG materials, just to see if it’s my material or actually something wrong with GF.

Steps we’ve taken

  1. crumb tray- clean
  2. replaced lens, as we noticed that it had a spot in it. This was the original lens from a few years ago. We thought we hit the jackpot, as it cut perfectly for 3 to 4 sheets of material- like butter. Then, it started not cutting again out of nowhere.
  3. everything, and I mean everything, has been cleaned.
  4. tension checked on the belts. Totally fine.
  5. machine is level

My husband is extremely mechanically inclined, and has done everything possible to troubleshoot. He’s helped many times with GF issues, and is very comfortable with the machine.

I’m out of thoughts so I am hoping someone could offer a suggestion. It’s very suspect to me that it cut perfectly for several boards after replacing the lens and then out of nowhere, stopped cutting through.

What did you cut after replacing the lens that cut perfectly? Have you inspected the mirror and cleaned all of the windows?

Please print the Gift of Good Measure on proofgrade material using proofgrade settings and share a photo (front and back). If it doesn’t print as expected, send the photos along with the date and time of the print to Glowforge support.

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Yes, everything has been inspected and cleaned.

I first tried the PG draftboard and it cut perfectly. I then switched to what I always use, which is 1/8th HDF, adhesive on back and masking on front. I used 4 12X20 sheets and everything came out perfectly. I put my 5th sheet in (picture of front and back attached) and didn’t cut through. I then pulled out the PG draftboard again and it wouldn’t cut through (pics attached)

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I have reached out to support, as suggested. As you will see, the gift of good measure did not cut through.

Did you clean optics between 4 & 5?


I would check to be sure the lens isn’t in backward, The lines look pretty wide. I think there is a small arrow on the lens showing which end goes in, “cup side up”.

The infrared energy is just light until it touches something - then it’s heat. Residue on the lens or windows gives a surface for the laser energy to be deposited on, and will eventually burn them.
That’s why clean optics is rule # one with lasers.


What @ekla said…i have that happen as my optics get dirty.


How old is the machine? How heavily do you use it?

It’s definitely not the first thing to assume/investigate, but the laser tube is a consumable with a manufacturer rated lifespan of about 2 years. I ran through one in about 2 years, cutting over 1000 full sheets of 1/4" thick MDF (so, many hours running at slow speed and full power). At the end, it became very inconsistent in whether it would cut through thick or dense materials – even the same sheet at the same settings. It couldn’t maintain the same “full power” it could when it was new, which your symptoms reminded me of.


[quote="mollyandshea, post:1, topic:115743
replaced lens, as we noticed that it had a spot in it

  1. Which had the spot?

  2. Did you try wiping it with a Zeiss Wipe?

  3. Your cuts have a weird smoke pattern. Are you getting good airflow blowing smoke to the front? Sometimes something apparently minor can interfere with the flow from magnets to bed-pins, there are also three pins in the head that come down on three plates on the carriage, and a dirty connection there can slow the back carriage fan(which can also get jammed with crud).

  4. HDF and MDF are very dirty and will cause build-up much faster than even oak which is about the worst common wood for build-up, and as the source and bonding agent, etc are not rigidly defined as is Baltic Birch for example the problem could be the material.

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No, I did not. I did nothing, except put another sheet in.

It cut 4 12X20 sheets perfectly after replacing the lens so definitely not that.

In that case you should definitely try cleaning the optics, especially the mirror on the inside far left. HDF and draftboard, which is MDF, burn very dirty due to the glue holding the sawdust together.


The left-side mirror is enclosed and inaccessible.

The window covering it is easily cleaned, however.


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