Pro weaker than Basic

So I bought a Pro and a used Basic this year and I need some help here because so far I’m extremely disappointed in the Pro’s performance. There is absolutely no difference in engraving speed as advertised. I’ve run the same design in both and it takes the same exact amount of time. When it comes to cutting, the Basic is far superior to the Pro. I can’t get the Pro to make clean cuts on 3mm Baltic Birch when the Basic does a fantastic job running at the same specs. I thought maybe it was just bad wood, but I’ve run dozens of test and the Pro never gets everything cut out. I’ve just been dealing with the inconvenience for several months now, but I reached my breaking point last night. I tried to cut out a simple hello on PG Draftboard and the Pro didn’t even cut all the way through. I’ve done multiple camera calibrations and I clean the lens regularly. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make this better because currently I’m feeling like the Pro is a bit of a scam unfortunately.


If yours is the only one. then it is not the machine design. Have you checked the “hidden window” under the left hand side? Folks often miss that one. and even the slightest smudge can cause what you are looking at. Not having the “cup side up” in the main lens will do so also. and is also easy to miss.

Support will also want to see front and back photos of the “Gift of good measure” in :proofgrade: Draftboard and the time done so they can check the logs. They can even increase the settings on your machine to bring up the apparent power according to what the standard is supposed to be.


I think there are a lot of factors involved in the speed of an engrave and cut, but something that confuses a lot of people is that the machine should behave roughly the same at all power levels but “full power.” The range from 0 power to 100 are equivalent on the machines.

Assuming you’ve cleaned all the things that need cleaning (following the GF cleaning guidelines), hopefully support can make sure that everything is functioning as it should.


Scam probably wasn’t the best word choice. Not worth the money increase would have been better. I follow the cleaning guide very carefully and everything is as it should be. I even wear gloves when cleaning just for extra measure. It doesn’t hurt to check again though. Basic will cut a clean 4" square at 180/100. Pro cuts 95% at 130/100.

Now magically my Pro, since making my post, is cutting better. Still not as good as the Basic but much better than before.


That’s a good point on the engraving. I don’t run full power. I never could get full power to give me an engraving that I liked.

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So just for an update for anyone reading. My Pro is now cutting perfectly at 180/100, just like my basic. I’ve done nothing other than make this post. I noticed about an hour after making the post that the back of the wood had more burn marks than usual so I slowly started raising the speed. Fingers crossed it stays way.


Oh no, I’m sorry for the trouble.

Cutting speed depends on many things:

  • The 45 watt Glowforge Pro cuts about 20% faster than the 40 watt Plus and Basic.
  • The faster the laser moves, the more power is required.
  • Thicker material requires more power and more time. Twice as thick takes more than twice as long to cut through.
  • The chemical composition of the material makes a huge difference. Some 1/4" plywood cuts quickly; some 1/8" plywood is impenetrable.

For engraving, speed depends on three things:

  • How fast you move the laser head - slower makes the engraving deeper and, in some cases, darker.
  • How big the area to be engraved is. The head must move over the area to be engraved, and while Glowforge is smart about setting its path, two dots an inch apart will take longer than two dots right next to each other.
  • Your Glowforge Model: the top speed of the Glowforge Pro is 3 times faster than the Basic, and the top speed for the Glowforge Plus is 2 times faster than the Basic.

To investigate further, could you provide me with the approximate date and time you performed the test print on both the Basic and the Pro?

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I am having the same issues. I have to run my Pro at 140 and 2 passes to cut through 3mm Birch. I still have some spots that don’t cut through. I’ve been all over the place with the speed settings. I have cleaned the lenses as well. Now my machine is all of a sudden cutting 1/2" off to the top, from the on screen image. I can’t find where to calibrate the camera in the posts. I would think GF could make this more easily accessible. I am supposed to be at a festival in four days and have spent the last week down for gantry wheels breaking, and now this. I am also working out of a garage. It gets warm in here, like mid to high 80’s. I’m working on AC soon, but have fans running on the GF with it lifted on risers to cool all surfaces. It still shuts down constantly day or night. I currently own a large paper weight.


Any CO2 Laser has a very limited operational temperature range. It can be pushed but at the shortened lifespan from burnout. Without AC if there is not a problem of overheating there is a bigger problem of death by cold as the coolant water freezes.

You could air-condition as small an area as a hydroponic grow tent or the whole garage, but unless you have a dry cave handy with electricity it will need some sort of temperature controlled environment,

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It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread @barnowlcreativemo so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email