Please help! Machine won't cut through anything

Hello, all. I have cleaned 6 lenses, I cleaned the fan in the back and the small one by the removable lens. I have cleaned the glass on the lid. I have emptied the crumb tray. My machine won’t cut blue acrylic with PG medium blue or PG thick blue. I also tried cutting it with the medium and thick black. Please help. I am NOT tech savvy and I am afraid to take anything apart to clean deeper than that, so please be gentle with comments. Thanks so much in advance. ~Kim

Have you been able to cut successfully except now suddenly it won’t cut? Does it almost cut through or not even close?

Hi! Thank you so much for responding.
Funny thing is it has almost always given me a hard time, so I would change it to PG THICK BLACK, and that would work, as it did today, but sometimes it just works really well and it cuts on medium with no issues. I am using 1/8" acrylic. I have the Pro.

These pics show where it starts to cut through, then doesn’t anymore.

Let me also add that when I use Glowforge Proofgrade materials, like medium walnut hardwood or plywood, I always have had to choose thick, otherwise it would not cut all the way through. :weary:

Just tried to cut these, and the same thing. :weary: This is 1/8" hot pink acrylic on PG medium black acrylic. Cuts some, then stops. The flowers didn’t cut to the other side at all.

Telling the Glowforge to cut something that is thick rather than the actual thickness of the material is misunderstanding how lasers work. Lasers need to be focused at the proper point on the material - the laser doesn’t exert more force because it has been told to cut something 1/4" rather than 1/8".

Glowforge guarantees that Proofgrade material will cut with the proper Proofgrade settings if the material is held flat, the optics are clean and the fans are clean. Therefore, you need to supply photos to Glowforge of your failed cuts once you have everything cleaned and are using the correct settings.

I suggest you carefully reclean all of the optics. Pay special attention to the window on the inside of the machine on the left side and the window on the left side of the printhead. Also clean the lens, mirror and lid camera lens. You say that you cleaned the little fan on the printhead, but I get the feeling that you have not cleaned the air assist fan which is behind the printhead on the carriage plate.

Once you have cleaned the optics and air assist fan, print the Gift of Good Measure on any Proofgrade material using the appropriate Proofgrade settings. If it doesn’t cut through, send the photos (front and back) of the failed print to Glowforge support.


Thank you so much. I will absolutely look for where that is and try again using the proper settings. I appreciate your time. ~K

1 Like

It is so frustrating and expensive to have material ruined! Your cuts are very close to working, and your design is lovely so I really hope you can get this solved. Here is the information about cleaning your air assist fan. It seems harder than it really is, so be brave.

1 Like

You are very kind - thank you for taking the time to help me.
I took your advice and I did it! I removed the carriage plate and cleaned the assist fan. It was very dirty. :grimacing: Getting the belt back on the left was a little difficult, but I got it. I cleaned the lenses again and tried cutting again.

I did successfully cut the Gift of Good Measure on PG medium draft board, but when I sent the Papel Picado design through again, on yellow, using PG medium yellow, it did not cut all the way again - it cut most of the design, but the other half did not cut all the way through. :weary: The parts that did cut, I had to really poke through to get the pieces out; they aren’t just falling out like before.

Your designs are so intricate and lovely. While you’re waiting for Support to get back to you - it looks like many of your cuts are pretty close, try running two passes (don’t move anything between them, you can tell the machine to just run 2 without stopping)

Also get in the habit of trying to lift or jiggle pieces, without moving the outer piece, before removing from the machine. As long as you don’t move anything, you can always rerun the job to cut through any bits that didn’t cut completely the first pass.

1 Like

Do you notice that things cut better on one side of the Glowforge bed? If so, does it cut better on the right or the left? While waiting for Glowforge support, you can also slow your speed by 10 or 15 and see if things cut through better.

Send the pictures you shared here to Glowforge support and include the date and time that you made the cut so that support can look at your machine logs. As I said, they guarantee that proofgrade settings will cut proofgrade material. Good luck.

1 Like

I will do that.
I can’t really say that it’s better on either side; it seems to just cut some of the design every time, but then stop. I am going to try slowing the speed as you mentioned to see if that works.
Thank you again. :pray:t2: You have been a GREAT help!

Thank you so much. I will try the two runs, but it sure is going to take a long time when I cut 20 pairs of these beauties - it’s taking about 2.5 minutes per each design. :weary:
I will reach out to them now since nothing seems to be working to correct my issues.

Oof, you could run the cut a slower like @dklgood said instead, just keep a super close eye on things. Acrylic with intricate cuts tends to cause fires more than other materials and the slower the cut the hotter it gets. Still jiggle everything to see if the parts are free, you can run another cut if they’re not.

1 Like

Time is so relative. 2.5 minutes wastes your time and material but 2.75 min just takes a long time. I did an engraving recently that took three hours. It might have done badly in just an hour but I would have spent more than three hours regretting it did not look better.

On another point. Proofgrade acrylic is cast acrylic. Much acrylic sold is extruded. I have several pieces that I could never use for detailed work and even simple shapes might need a coping saw to get them out. All the bad acrylic I have is unlabeled and that is a hint but not definitive. The stuff with the corporate label on it is cast and cuts fine.

I don’t know if that is the source of your problem, but be very careful and watch it like a hawk while it is cutting. From what I have seen on this forum 90% of the fires that destroyed their machines were cutting acrylic and they were nearby but not watching.

1 Like

Thanks so much!!! I will absolutely try this, too - tomorrow. I have been so frustrated and stressed out with all this. It’s so sad to think if I hadn’t paid it off as soon as I could, I’d still be paying on it, but can hardly use it. :pensive:
I do appreciate your help sooooo much.
𝒯𝒽𝒶𝓃𝓀 𝓎𝑜𝓊! :pray:t2:

Thank you. I will definitely try everything everyone suggests. So far, nothing has worked. :pensive: It’s so frustrating.

1 Like

Just keep watching while you are cutting and think of the folk still paying it off that did not watch it. Even a little fire can do in the carriage but when in the next room the first thing they know the lid explodes (it is tempered glass, so being under stress makes it stronger, but if that strain is unbalanced as in a fire it explodes)

You’re absolutely right.
Having a Glowforge is definitely WORK. But the results of what it can do are mind-blowing and beautiful. I cleaned it again and it is working… still having issues cutting through 1/8" white and black without setting it to thick, but it’s getting me through until I hear from Support.
I sincerely appreciate everyone’s help and input.
𝒯𝒽𝒶𝓃𝓀 𝓎𝑜𝓊!


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.