5 Long Hard Years with the Glowforge : My biggest Frustration

I understand that there is not going to be a Super New Camera any time soon .

But there is no Reason why we need to be limited to 3 Passes before the whole machine needs to rely on that cheap ass camera to align itself in the exact same postion and 75% of the time it does the job , but that other 25 % Is MONEY DOWN THE TOILET.

Who else would love to have 4 Passes or more before the machine Resets ?

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The camera is a visual aid for the operator, nothing more.

The camera is not an input to the movement system.

If you don’t move the artwork on your screen, you can press print 100 times and it’ll print in the same place all 100 times.

If you’re unable to ignore the camera, and move your artwork because it doesn’t look lined up with a previous pass, resulting in a 4th pass not lining up with a 3rd, put a piece of tape over the camera to get yourself out of the habit. Your moving the design is what made it not line up.

The machine doesn’t need the camera to keep printing. It’s not deciding where to move the print head using the camera.

The only thing that decides where the print head moves is where on the art board you placed your design elements.


That makes no sense , my art does not move, the only thing that changes is a Refocus and if the camara is off so is the cut.

The same damn thing with the Extended Cut , relies fully on the Camera sometimes it works others times it dont.

Rather than here about your perfect victory , lets hear it for more PASSES .

If you think focus is the problem, then use the Set Focus option.

I don’t think you are correct though.

I’m curious what you are doing that you think needs multiple high speed passes rather than 1 slow speed pass?


Cutting 0.5 material for the last 5 years , every machine i run has its own perfect Jig. Nothing changes , nothing moves.

People have been talking on this forum about the camera being off as much as a 1/4 inch,
I never cared about that , as where ever it wants to start the cut is fine with me as long as it can do it everytime I press Print.

Honestly I have no clue what Dan is talking about .

I can also tell you the same thing happens on the Extended Cut , that camera does not always get it perfect. Lets not Pretend this does not happen ::

To sove this issue : I am just asking , pleading really to give us more than 3 Passes , that way when you start the first cut in increases your chances for a nice precise cut.

This is not true. Where the cut happens is not in any way determined by the camera (outside of Pro Passthrough mode, which isn’t involved in doing more than 3 passes of the same cut). Again, you could put a piece of tape over the camera so all it sees is black, and your print will still happen in the exact same place. The lid camera image is not used for anything except to show a picture on your screen, it does not change where anything prints. The focus height also doesn’t change where anything prints, it only determines how high up and down the lens is moved in the print head before the cut begins. This would change the spot size of the laser beam, but not where it hits the material.


I am going to try that tape over the camera , but what I am really strugggling with is if the camera is not Responsible for where the next cut starts what is ?

Where the artwork is on your screen. If a shape is at position (x=1,y=1) then the print head will be moved to (1,1) and start cutting. If you turn off the machine, turn it back on, place the artwork at (1,1) on the app, and hit print, the print head will be moved to (1,1) and start cutting, again. No camera is involved in this.


Are you saying that because i have made my Jig to fit in the middle an not from the very corner of the machine is why so many of my Cuts are off ?

I am not even sure how to place my print head at x 1 ?
Is there a video for that anywhere ? I am getting madder by the minute if this is something I have not understood for the last 5 Years… lol

As long as you don’t reboot your Glowforge, everything you said is true.

There’s one exception: every time the Glowforge boots up, and you see the message “Centering”, it’s using the camera to calibrate the initial position of the print head (because the print head may have been manually moved while the power was off). That’s why you see it move the print head directly under the camera, followed by some tiny adjustments.

This is the reason that the positioning can shift a tiny amount if you power down the GF and restart it. Keep it powered on for multiple operations that require repeating the same coordinates.

Note that the “Focusing” step only relates to determining the focus depth (Z axis), not X-Y positioning. But indirectly, it does impact how the camera adjusts for perspective to produce the image you see. It has to transform its fisheye view into a flat view, and for that, it needs to know the height of the material in the print bed. This is why warped materials make your manual alignment in the camera view less accurate, and why your manual alignment in the camera view is more accurate if your piece is directly under the camera. (So you understand why everybody advises ignoring the camera view and using a jig, if you need precision!) This is also why, after re-“Focusing”, the camera image may shift a tiny amount. If you want to repeat the same cut, don’t reposition the piece, even if the camera image makes you think it needs to be moved!

Also note that the automatic Passthrough process also relies on the camera to figure out how far your material has moved. (I’ve never used it, so that’s just what I gather from what I’ve read.)

Also note that mechanical problems with belts or motors could cause the print head to become misaligned, and a cut to be off position. But this would have nothing to do with the camera.


Lets please keep in mind the Glowforge is almost brand new , few months into it, so that does not pertain to the other 5 machines.

Something is not adding up for me , but I am getting arround to taping the camera perhapsit will be my Defining moment. I hope I am wrong and its been my fault for the last 5 years. Will See.

So i covered the camera and your were right.

That means that I have Two Glowforges in a box in the garage that I was told by Glowforge had a bad camera , and now I am finding out that they dont even need a camera.

So I am so confused an I apologize for my demeanor , but I am steaming mad .
But I am still at a loss of why the glowforge sometims looses its postion if not for the camera.

What am I missing , im sick to my stomach now.


If your honeycomb tray is secured in place so there is no wiggle, and you use the placement coordinates, you should be printing in the exact same place every time.


They need the camera to calibrate on power-up.


I put in a pre fab tray so I can cut a circle in a 0.5 inch Foam sheet using the 3 Pass at 205 speed 100 % precision . Last 5 years nothing has changed.

Every now an than it is not a clean cut thru so I have to let it go one more pass which causes me to have to lift the lid and close it again and now this is where thing can an have gone wrong,

Many times the new Cut after the focus and the 0.5 input the glowforge will start the circle outside of the orginal one.

Once that happens the material is lost.

I than repeat and by luck get the 4th pass to work, its been like this for 5 Years .
when I ask for support , they tell me the camera is bad , and have sent me a new glowforge .
Or they have let me have a new one for like $1200 .

Now I have new glowforge Pro and got 45 good cuts in a row but earlier today something caused it to miss align , I was stunned. I assumed it was the Camera and started cleaning it nicely .

I put in the new piece of Foam sheet and went again , this time the 3 rd pass cut thru nicely.

I lost faith in the 4 th pass so I lowered the speed to 200 and kept the power at 100 % of course it cut thru but the edges were burnt deep , which than requires sanding .

Its been an edless cycle , but something still does not add up for about the camera sadly.

I now need a reason why the Re Focus of the Jig does not always pick up from where it was left if all the camera does is calibrate the machine.

Not sure if this is what you’re meaning, but if ‘re-seal’ the lid means you’ve opened the lid and closed it again, it resets everything.

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Yes that is what it means , its the only way I can check to see if the cut has gone thru , without just doing another pass for the sake of it and risk burning the edges even more and messing the whole part up by having a miss allign cut.

Opening the lid doesn’t change anything if you don’t move anything. If you find the cut didn’t go through run the job again without moving anything. Ignore the camera.


UGH !@

There is a missing part to this puzzle , it has nothing do with me moving anything , nothing moves .

Maybe its because the machine struggles with 0.5 somehow and gets confused on the closing of the lid , up until now I thought it was the Camera glitching.

For the last 5 years on every Glowforge I have owned the same thing has happened not on every cut but enough that I have lost gobs of money on Material.

What part of the Glowforge is responsible for making the 4 Pass after opening and closing the lid. ?
What part of the Glowforge knows where to go if not for the camera which clearly is not the answer.

If I thought there was a possible chance something moved I would know it. but my pre fab tray is braced with velcro stips and never moves or comes out. Something else takes place.

This is why I would love to have more Passes than 3 as it woudl be perfect .

You do know that you can have as many passes as you want just by typing it in?