Need help my glowforge will not let me engrave un
identified materials can anyone help me on this matter thanks

This should be what you need: instructions on working in manual mode.


What do you mean it won’t let you engrave. Will it let you cut? Is it the file that isn’t identified or the engrave process. Maybe provide a little more information regarding your actual problem.

When you are trying to use non-proof grade material, you must enter the thickness of the material. This thickness can be measured with digital calipers. If you don’t have them they are a must buy. :grinning:

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My files I’m trying to engrave say Trace on them,but I’ve engraved plenty like these before, yes there 3\8 and I put that in the manual entertain materials section.

What is the material? Do you have masking on it?

Sometimes 3/8 oak lumber and sometimes 7/16 oak lumber, and no I’ve never used tape on it, I engraved a photo and there was to much shade on it so I tried it again and it keeps telling me select material type by the print button… I’ve tried cleaning , shutting it down, trying on different images it s does the same thing… Most of my images say Trace on them is that normal… and I never have been able to drag a image in and trace it cut it and engrave it… Every one makes it sound and look so easy🤪

I guess I just use a tape measure :grin: But I’ve tried on the same board using different thickness and it still says select material by the button on the glowforge

I’m using thicker wood 3/8 oak and 7/16 oak and basswood lumber, but I’ve engraved a bunch of images already, including one today and then on the lumber no but on proof grade it does

Is it normal that it says trace in the corner of images in the glowforge library also?

It is VERY important to have the correct thickness because the Glowforge uses the thickness of your material to adjust what you see from the camera for image placement on your work. A little error makes a big difference. Do a search on digital calipers on the forum to find lots of info about them. Look on Amazon and you will find lots of them, and they are not expensive either. Good luck. :sunglasses:



You have to specify a couple of things if you want to engrave on non-Proofgrade material. It isn’t going to set up any of the settings for you.

First thing you have to tell it is the material thickness, and it has to be accurate. (So use calipers to measure the material thickness, then enter that measurement into the Unknown Materials slot, in the Use Uncertified Materials button.)

Then you will have to go to the Manual settings on the Engrave operation and set them up using the correct settings for engraving on that kind of material.

You need to specify:
Focal Point (which will be filled in if you entered the thickness in the Unknown Materials slot.)
LPI (Lines per inch for engraving)

So first:
Click on Unknown, then click on Use Uncertified Material and enter the thickness.

Click on the thumbnail for the engraving operation, check that Engrave is highlighted at the top, then click the little black arrow to the right of the word Manual to enter the manual settings.


Finally, enter the correct Speed and Power settings for that material using the little sliders, and enter the Lines Per Inch information for the engrave. (The height should already be entered for the Focal Point.)

Once you have all of the information correctly set up, it should allow you to engrave your design.


Thanks no I do all of that already and I put in a store bought peice of 1/4 in birch plywood and tried it and it wouldn’t work I’m stumped :thinking:

And after you enter everything and the thickness it says auto focus so it erases the thickness I put in the box, auto focus is real light in the box

If you type in the Focal Point in the Manual settings, it will override the autofocus.

But pay very close attention, if the auto focus is changing the value, it means you probably do not have the correct settings for the type of material you are using…make sure you are measuring the actual thickness of the material with calipers and entering the correct number. And you will get an error message now if you try to use one of the Proofgrade settings on non-Proofgrade material that is not the exact same thickness as the default for that material. Make sure you are using tested numbers in there.

This is designed to keep you from setting accidental fires…if you override it you are taking chances with your machine. Make sure you have correct settings in there for the material (birch or oak or whatever) you are trying to burn, and the correct thickness typed into the Manual settings for each of the operations you want to perform.

And watch the print closely any time you see a warning on the right hand side panel so there isn’t an accident.

This whole thread has me pretty confused.

What do you mean by, it wouldn’t work?

Do you know how to do screenshots and post them here? This might help get to the bottom of things.


Thanks for the answers, @Jules , that’s right. @perrington_j, can you let us know if these suggestions help?

Yes I think, i wish I knew more, but I’ve engrave probably 35-45 different logos already and all on different lumber or unknown materials and always worked… some better than others

thanks! can you call me please its easier explaining things over the phone…Jess

Probably want to edit this - you don’t want your phone number out there on the Internet for any bot or crawler to grab (or nefarious person either).