What is the point of proofgrade materials?


#1

I was looking over the proofgrade warranty and there is nothing about the settings actually working being covered that I saw so I am trying to figure out what the point of it is. It doesn’t seem like it saves much other than not having to research a starting point on a material (and I would probably just use the proofgrade setting as a start for similar material anyways)

There is no guarantee that it will work the first time and I am seeing a bunch of posts where it hasn’t cut through or has given crappy quality cuts but the warranty doesn’t cover that so it just seems like more expensive material I still need to treat first cuts as a test with.

Maybe I am missing something because I haven’t used it yet?


#2

The point of proofgrade is what is know in the bizniz as “addons” a lot of companies make a great deal of their profit this way…

But more seriously, you will quickly find that damn near everything you put in the laser needs to be tested and documented to work well. Proofgrade skips over that to give you a consistent result with no hassle. Realistically as I’ve become more and more adapt at lasering, I’ve looked for cheaper options.

But I have to say I really like the ease of use of throwing proofgrade in and hitting go. I wish GF would let us save / print our own QR codes.


#3

What you are seeing are the times it does not work just right. You are not seeing the thousands of times it just does.

I like working with a lot of materials and acrylic is not that big of a thing as if you are using cast and it is of consistent thickness it is all about the same.

The place :proofgrade: shines for me is in the plys, I can’t find anything like them. Cut/engrave, use. I’ll gladly pay the small upcharge for the time saved over having to finish something else.


#4

Sure in theory it lets you do that, but a quick glance at the issues page shows a bunch of screwed up proofgrade settings and cuts. Also with the advice of “don’t touch anything and test if pieces are actually fully cut so you can run them again” as something you need to do with it… Which you would have to do with other material as well.


#5

Well its good to know at least the plywood is good. I had read about people hunting down very specific plywood for laser cutting as you want properties that other industries don’t.


#6

I know, I am one of them. They made it right in my case after some troubleshooting. I don’t know what the official policy is on it, but they have stood behind the “print and forget” idea so far in my experience.


#7

By the time you have used up your sample pack and your store credit you will be convinced to use :proofgrade: at least some of the time. How often will depend a lot on what you do? I do a lot of Baltic birch but come back to :proofgrade: when I need something that looks good.


#8

Proofgrade chocolate has apparently been floated… good luck finding that anywhere else. hahah.


#9

Well I’m in canada so unless they get a distributor for it up here then it will have to be really special. I’d have to go across the border every time I ordered to pick it up.


#10

Well, that would make a big difference. I do hope they do get it up there to you somehow. I keep them depleted on maple ply.


#11

Whenever anyone has a problem they complain about it. People don’t bother mentioning it when it works perfectly. So far I’ve never had a single problem with any Proofgrade, even the one warped sheet of plywood I’ve had, although admittedly I’ve only gone through five or six sheets of Proofgrade so far.

But it really is nice stuff. The paper masking is high quality and makes life easier. The fact that I’ve never had to figure out my own settings is amazing.


#12

Me too, but if it does work really well then I won’t mind making the trip once a month or so


#13

I’ve been using my GF for a few months bow and I haven’t had PF fail me. Like others have mentioned, for every discussion here about a misprint, there have been hundreds (thousands?) that cut perfectly. I use a lot of different vendors so I’m not stuck on PF, but I love it for my wood projects. It’s outstanding for creating a finished product straight out of the GF. No sanding, no sealing, not nothing; it just looks finished the moment you pull it out of the laser. The PF acrylic is nice enough, but I don’t see as much benefit as the wood. Still nice stuff to use without having to really think about it though.


#14

I’ve had issues with proofgrade not cutting all the way through twice, maybe three times, since I got my Glowforge.

Everytime it happened, the material was bowed. Also, when I say not cut all the way through, I mean there were a few spots with material left behind. If you look at the bottom left of the image below, you will see what I mean. For most pieces, you can just punch it out no problem. For this one, I ran an xacto knife over it, because the parts were small and fragile.


#15

FWIW I have had zero issues with any PG material, and I have also used PG solid wood & acrylic settings on non-PG same-thickness solid woods & acrylics without issue. I will definitely be using PG plywood & draftboard when needed and not bother trying for other similar sources. But acrylics I will probably just source locally, and while I don’t see myself using a ton of solid wood, I may look to other sources for that as well if I can find similar sizes/species for the same or less money.


#16

I’ve had my PG materials work every time. Your mileage may vary, but price wise it is comparable with other laser supply places that can assure you that something is laser safe, and the ease and simplicity of dropping it in and having it work has allowed me such ease in spending my time on the creative end of things. I won’t always use PG materials (they don’t have everything, including slate, marble, glass) but I intend to always keep a variety of them on hand. I think it is a brilliant idea and well worth utilizing…


#17

Let me add a bit about the consistency of Proofgrade. One issue with plywood is that it can have voids or knots hidden in the inner plies. This can lead to inconsistent cutting during a single cut. For example knots are comparatively hard to cut through. Proofgrade does not have hidden knots or voids. It’s not just that the settings are pretty consistent for a Proofgrade plywood species, it’s that cuts are also consistent across a sheet.


#18

Proofgrade ply, hardwood and acrylic have all worked perfectly for me across 6 months of using it almost exclusively.
Pre-sanded, pre-stained, prefinished with clear satin and masked. Huge time saver.


#19

I’ve been using Proofgrade for 10 months. During that time I got to experience a gradual tweaking of settings and improvement in hardware so that the defaults work almost every time now. Any issues with them not cutting through are negligible for me now and seem to be due to placement in the bed unevenly or some type of warp.

Work with the Glowforge for a while and you learn settings enough that the QR code just becomes a reference point for starting. Something that works great for beginners or those with no experience in materials or knowing how to finish wood. You might not be the target market for Proofgrade if you understand how lasers and CNCs work in general, know how to finish wood, and understand the composition and sourcing of plastic and leather.

Proograde plywood and veneer has some great advantages for one off pieces that you can take it out and assemble and it’s ready to sell or give away. It is comparable to what I’ve tried to shop for. It beats anything I could try to source locally plywood wise.

Acrylic is where you might want to find the easiest cheapest supplier for you since it’s a much more universal formula. Hardwood you can make your own and finish or find a local supplier.

My take on the many reports of Proofgrade not working is that it is a reporting bias at work toward over-reporting problems and under-reporting successes. I have to catch up on posts from the last five days, but otherwise I’ve read pretty much everything ever posted and follow the Facebook group. I like the Proofgrade. I do spend time though looking for alternatives that I can use that might be slightly less expensive for odds and ends projects. For giving away a gift, the Proofgrade just works great.


#21

Great info, this all helps me spend my credit.

I do have a full woodshop and cnc shop at my disposal so good point that it might just be my circustances that colour my view of it.

However I’m not going to make my own plywood so I will be sure to get a bunch of that.