How to Reduce Glowforge Flashback on your Lasercut Projects

What is flashback? Flashback is the little burn marks that show up on your laser-cut projects, typically on materials such as wood or MDF. Glowforge flashback appears most frequently around the edges of cuts.

Glowforge flashback on wood
Image from the Glowforge Community Forum shows a LOT of flashback and burning!

Flashback can ruin your project! You can remove it later by sanding or painting, but it is a pain! In this post, I’m going to share some tips to reduce Glowforge flashback on your products and make sure every cut looks great!

Lasercut MDF with flashback
Lasercut pieces with and without Glowforge flashback

Fine-tune your Glowforge Cut Settings

Glowforge gives you a lot of control over how to cut your materials. If you are using Proofgrade materials, you shouldn’t need to change any settings. But if you are using custom materials, each one will need testing to get the settings just right. Too much power or too much speed can cause flashback.

This Glowforge Support article on working with Manual Mode is an invaluable resource.

Clean your Crumb Tray

A full crumb tray can prevent air from flowing properly, which can cause patterns of flashback to form.

To clean your crumb tray, first remove the tray and tip it over a trash can to let all the little pieces fall out. Then use a cotton swab to remove any pieces that are stuck in the crumb tray grid. Be careful not to bend any of the grid out of shape!

Check out this article on how to remove and clean your crumb tray.

Make sure your Material is Flat

Just like a full crumb tray can prevent proper air flow, a bend in your material can cause air to flow between the tray and the material. Use painter’s tape around the edges of your warped material to hold it flat. Or purchase special pins from Etsy that are perfectly designed Glowforge accessories.

Shop Glowforge pins on Etsy

Space your Cuts Farther Apart

If you are doing lots of cuts close together, their edges can get extra flashback. Try putting a quarter inch of space between your cuts.

Use Paper under the Material

If you are looking for a quick fix for a little bit of Glowforge flashback on the back of the print, slip a sheet of copy paper or cardstock under your cut area. You will see the scorching on the paper when you are done.

Mask your Material

Apply masking paper on 1 or both sides of the material. The masking will catch most or all of the flashback, ensuring you have a perfect cut!

Shop masking paper on Amazon

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