Weak Laser - Faded/Blurry Engravings


The laser seems to become weak. For example, the calibration pattern was deep clean lines but now they’re very shallow. My 3D engraved products are super blurry and not crisp anymore. I haven’t changed designs or the printer settings everything is blurry. I initially thought it could be the lens dirty. I clean all the lens and recalibrated with no signs of improvements.

Please help I’m not sure what else to do now.



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Please check that you put the lens back in correctly after cleaning. I accidentally put mine in upside down and had trouble cutting. Putting the lens in correctly fixed the issue. If you are holding the print head upright in one hand and the lens in the other, the cup side of the lens goes up.


Thank you for replying… I checked retried and same result. The blurry/weak engraving was also happening before the cleaning.

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So, I’m not saying you didn’t, but often people give that response thinking they have, but they have missed something.

Optics to clean:
Removable lens in the head
Mirror underneath the lid of the head
Window on left side of head
Window hidden on the left side of the machine

The window on the left side of the machine is frequently missed. The mirror is also missed - but it’s very important that this be installed correctly per the maintenance instructions.


Your photos are showing two different materials, so the settings could be one issue. More than likely your focus height is incorrect and/or the optics are not pristine. To be completely sure that there is a problem with the machine, you may want to print the Gift of Good Measure on Proofgrade material using Proofgrade settings. If it doesn’t print perfectly, post photos along with the date and time of the print so that Support can look at your logs.

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I’m sorry that your recent results when engraving haven’t matched the past performance from your unit. Thank you for the detailed photos you’ve shared so far.

I’m sorry that your recent results when engraving haven’t matched the past performance from your unit. Thank you for the detailed photos you’ve shared so far.

@dklgood is right that a good next step would be to run a test print on Proofgrade material using default settings. This will help our team investigate as we’ll be able to extract logs from the test and review them along with your photos.

Here are the standard steps we send for running this test:

  1. Turn off your Glowforge.
  2. Check for small pieces of debris or dust.
  • Check the lower door to make sure it closes all the way. It may require some force to open, but open it, wipe any dust off the edges, and close it all the way.
  • Remove the tray and clean any dust or debris from the surface underneath. Pay careful attention to remove all debris from the four dimples where the tray rests.
  • Check the lid to make sure it closes all the way. Small particles of material, such as dust or debris, can prevent it from closing completely.
  1. Check the surface your Glowforge is on to make sure it’s flat. Ensure it is not twisted slightly and that there is no debris propping up one side of the machine.
  2. Turn your Glowforge back on.
  3. Place Proofgrade material in the part of the of the bed that you are having the most trouble and print the Gift of Good Measure using the default settings.
  4. When the print finishes, leave the lid closed and wait until the fans stop and the picture updates. then remove the finished Gift of Good Measure and take photos of the front and back of the results.

When you’re done, please share the photos of the result along with the date and time of the print, and we’ll investigate.

I was able to print by refreshing the bed image 3x then focus 2x. This worked for my two prints after I post but now it’s happening again. My hack isn’t working anymore. I went through full calibration already it did not help at all.

Both materials and setting are the same, the lighting makes them look different.

Thank you for your response. I had watched a youtube video on how to clean and I wiped all mirrors and lens you stated still no luck.

However, I had a hack that worked briefly, refresh the bed image 3x, focus 2x, then print. This worked until today :frowning:

The laser beam seems to be much larger than it should instead of a thin focal point. I think this is causing the finishing product to be blurry and not deep.

I don’t think my settings is the issue, I always use the 3D engraving preset.

This is almost always either an upside down lens (lens should look like a cup with the bowl facing upwards) or a focus issue. Either the Set Focus or autofocus is returning the wrong material height or you’ve got the wrong focal setting entered.

If you use a piece of PG material with the QR code, does it recognize the material and set it for you?

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Thank you for the update. I’m sorry that your unit’s print results are continuing to not work out well. Did you happen to get a chance to run a test print on Proofgrade material using the Gift of Good Measure design following the instructions in my previous post?

Once you’ve had a chance to do so, our team will be able to extract the logs from the test print and investigate this further for you. Along with photos of the front and back of the finished test print, may we also have photos of your unit’s optics?

These are the components our team would like to examine:

  • 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 with the lens installed

Please let me know if you run into any questions while capturing these images!

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