Won’t cut through material

I am using material I cut from two days ago, and now my machine won’t cut through that or the proof grade material that came with my machine??? I have had this only since Christmas!???

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That probably means you need to clean your optics and fans.

Here are some tutorials you may find helpful:


Welcome to the forum.

If your optics and fans are clean and the material is held flat to the honeycomb tray, Glowforge guarantees that Proofgrade material will cut with Proofgrade settings. You will need to share photos along with the date and time of the print so that Glowforge can look at your machine logs.


Everyone is giving great advice here.

I’ll add a bit of context: since the machine is so new the by far most likely thing is that you just need to clean your optics.

Fans need cleaning much less frequently than lenses and the small laser windows.


I cleaned all of the lenses and the fans, and it will cut proof grade now, but it still will not cut my regular pieces of wood that I have been using since day one???

If you can cut Proofgrade wood at Proofgrade settings, you can rule out the Glowforge as the issue with the cut not going through. What kind of wood is it? Sometimes suppliers change up their veneer and glue. Sometimes stores change up their suppliers without changing the SKU, so you’re not buying the same product at all. Sometimes even a single sheet you’ve already cut may have defects in other parts of the sheet you can’t cut, as is common in Baltic Birch plywood for example. Sometimes a stack of wood you’ve bought that’s been sitting on a shelf for months needs different settings because now it’s the humid season and it’s been absorbing moisture from the air.


My dad owns a cabinet shop and has been giving me “scraps” and I have just been putting the thickness in at .28….with no problem! But I even put the thickness in at .47, and .5 and it won’t cut through it….almost like I have to setting on engrave instead of cut(which I don’t) :thinking:

Changing the thickness to something that is not accurate simply defocuses the laser and works against you getting good cuts. Leave the focus and adjust power and speed.


When you enter a material thickness, you’re telling the laser how high to focus the laser beam. By entering a thickness of 0.5 when the material is actually 0.28, you’re focusing the laser beam at a spot in the air almost a quarter inch above the surface of the material. The laser beam is houglass shaped, so the part actually hitting your wood is now a giant circle, spreading out the heat, making it ineffective at cutting. As @dklgood just said, you should use the automatic focus.


Beyond that, getting scraps from a cabinet shop isn’t a reliable way of knowing you’re using the exact same material time after time. THEIR supplier could have changed what they’re sending at any time.


Ok….that makes sense…so when I put something that is not proofgrade in there, do I choose “unspecified material”? Or how exactly do I do that??

Yes, choose unspecified material. Then set focus. Then place your artwork. Then set your settings.

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Ok, I am getting on my app and going to try cutting some thing again!!
The focus height is on auto!!

Here is some info regarding manual settings. You can start with the Proofgrade settings for a similar item and then adjust as needed. https://support.glowforge.com/hc/en-us/articles/360033633574-Working-With-Manual-Mode


This is the settings that I have……Focus height slid over to auto.

That cut speed is way too fast. What material are you trying to cut?

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Honestly not really sure….I slowed it to 300….it still didn’t cut through it!?

Speed should probably be around 120. Where are you getting the idea it should be 500 or 300? Going that fast, the laser can’t penetrate the material.


I guess I’m just confused because everything that I have done since I got it now all of a sudden won’t cut!?

I have no idea, actually a lady that has a glow forge and helped me with the very first thing I cut, told me to put it at that and I guess I have just left it there!?

What material are you cutting and approximately how thick is it - like 1/8" or 1/4"?