Unable to successfully complete the gift of good measure

I just got through setting up my Glowforge and I’ve been having difficulty even completing the first project. The problem I’m having is that the machine doesn’t seem to cut all the way through the medium draftboard.

I’ve tried this project 4 times and all times, the problem seems to get worse as you go to the left. Additionally the score lines look very inconsistent compared to the engravings.

I’ve followed the directions below, but that hasn’t improved anything. The material is flat against the crumb tray, the crumb tray is seated in the dimples with no debris

Can anyone suggest any additional troubleshooting? Do I potentially need a replacement?


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You’ll need to post pics of the failed attempts, front and back.

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Adding pictures

Note the second one is smaller than the others because I was using my iPad and didn’t realize I had accidentally scaled it.

In the picture of the top you can see that the score lines around the perimeter of the holes and the outside are rather inconsistent (not sure why but the first one also had a smudge below the Glowforge logo)

On the backside, the bottom one is pretty representative if the cut of the others it didn’t go through on the right side). The 4th was the worst as I couldn’t even force that one out. The others took a fair bit of coaxing but there was tearout as a result.

Any suggestions?

When the material is on the bed, can you tap or press it down at all? It has to be absolutely flat.

Which machine do you have?

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Nope, no play at all. I’ve got a nice straight edge that I use for calibrating my jointer that I used to check the material and it’s about as dead flat as I could imagine MDF being.

I’ve got a basic GF.

Unfortunately the only thing I can think of (besides needing to be replaced) is that it is using “pro” settings, which has higher power capability, on your Basic machine.

Support can check the logs. Unfortunately, it can take them a day or two.

In the meantime, you could use it and manually adjust the settings to ensure material is processed as needed. It’s not ideal, I know.

Well I appreciate the suggestions anyway. Hopefully I’ll hear back from them sooner than later. In the mean time will try some other projects to see if those come out any better. I just hate burning through all this material just troubleshooting out of the box!

Do I also need to send an email to support or will they see this post here?

They will see the post here. Opens a ticket the same as sending email.

Test on a small, out of the way area before committing to a full print.

In the meantime, you can edit the settings and slow it down just a little so it cuts all the way through.

Actually, now that I read your post more closely, I see that the engraves and scores don’t look right either. On the off chance that there’s a fixable issue with your machine, like a lens in wrong or something interfering with the beam, it’s probably safer to stop using it and wait for support. Don’t want to make it worse.

I would like to check over just a few more things. Could you do the following for me?

Please send photos of all your cleaned optical components, with special attention to any damage you might find:

  • Both windows
    • The printer head window, on the left hand side of the printer head
    • The laser window on the inside left of the Glowforge
  • The printer head lens
    • Both sides of the lens, top and bottom
  • The mirror inside the printer head
  • The bottom of the printer head

Once we have those pictures, we’ll follow up with next steps.

Photos attached.

Everything looks okay with the exception of the printer head window. I didnt notice it at first and it’s really difficult to see except in the right light but there appears to be a slight scratch that is sort of visible in this picture

It’s the squiggly line just to the right of the dimple on top, about 3/5 of the way up.

Unfortunately, it looks like your unit is experiencing an issue that we can’t resolve remotely. I want you to have a reliable unit, so I’m recommending we replace this one. I’ll be in touch via email to sort out the details. I’m so sorry about the bad news.