Pro Not cutting through Proofgrade now

I have had my machine for about 2 months now. All of December it was cutting great! Not a problem at all. I couldn’t get proof grade if my life depended on it so I was using 1/4 Plywood from home depot. It was working great, cutting at 170/full power… until I got more wood from Home depot and this was 1/4 sanded…? (my husband got it for me and cut it up for me) Anyway it would cut but I always had to take it slower by 5 every few prints. I finally got the OG wood again, I took the Pro all apart, followed all the directions, cleaned all the lenses, took the little fan out and cleaned that(wow that was bad!!)… I’m now at 160/155/full power and it’s still not cutting through UNLESS I have it go over the print 2 times but then the sides are so charred I can’t even touch it or put it down without black soot going everywhere and I can’t send those out as orders. And as I said in the title, proof grade is cutting just fine. Any suggestions? Thank you for your help!

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Likely the glue they used on that plywood isn’t laser cuttable…that’s the point of PG, they guarantee it’ll work - anything else is a chance.

You can get a container filled with salt and throw your cut pieces in there and shake them around - that’ll clean the soot off.

I’d suggest accepting the loss on the cost of this wood and picking up some of the other ones that have proven to be laser cuttable.

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It might be your material- plywood that isn’t specifically for laser cutting can often contain splotches of glues and fillers that a 40/45watt co2 laser just can’t cut through. They’re usually inconsistent even from the same manufacture.

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Oh that would make me very sad. It was cutting so perfectly, even super narrow stuff was perfect. and now its not even going through with the second pass. I just dont understand.

This is cut at 160/full power twice.

I imagine that if you hold a flashlight behind this piece you’ll see a big dark spot right about here:

Those are voids/fills that are acceptable in plywood - but completely flummox a laser.


Proofgrade is more expensive. This is why. It is manufactured to a higher standard specific to use in the Glowforge.

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There are many other places to obtain wood that might be more reliable when you can’t secure proof grade. Regular plywood can just be so variable.

I order the Columbia Forest Purebond 5/32" or 1/4" from the HomeDepot website and it is shipped directly to my house. It is different then what you will find in the store. Look for it in boxes of 10, in sizes to fit the GF of 1’ by 1’7". I am awaiting for my first shipment from Laser by the Creek as it has had several good reviews. There are several other sources you can look for, just search the forum for ‘wood sources’. Good luck.


Thank you so much!! I really appreciate it!!

Ok, so I decided to cut some pins on Med draft board proof grade just to see what would happen. It did it again. While they were able to be popped out they weren’t falling out like they used to. Now what? Is there something else I can clean, check or do? I also found it interesting that it was the middle of the board that was the least cut as apposed to the edges some did fall out.

When was the last time you cleaned all your optics? The directions are at

Today, and the fan. Took everything apart.

i had an issue like this and had missed one of the optics on the side…are you sure you cleaned them all? Once i cleaned it, it worked fine.

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I will definitely clean them again and see what happens.

It could also just be that you’ve cut a lot of MDF (draftboard) today – it dirties up your optics really quickly.

I actually got 2 boxes of that plywood from HD just last week. Haven’t gotten to try it yet.

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Ok, I just spent the last 1 1/2 hours cleaning the machine, it looks like I have a brand new machine. Did a test run… and still not cutting all the way through on proof grade. It is better, right side cutting but left still has to be popped out and edges cleaned up.

That’s actually the exact amount of cut-through I look for when dialing in settings. The only thing not cut is the back masking – makes it so nice when you’re doing fine cuts, because you don’t lose pieces to the honeycomb – also much faster to remove from the machine! :wink:


no kidding. you start sliding that out the pass through it would be terrific.

I tend to have tiny bits going nuts making that task harder.

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Now that it’s happening on PG a staff member can step in and look at your logs. Cut the Gift of Good Measure and post pictures of the front and back along with the time you cut it. It’s likely one has already checked in on this thread but refrained from answering since it looked like you had it covered.