Alignment / Calibration

Buy our proofgrade = no problem.
Use your material = way off

Simple equation.

*Please note: Calipers measure thickness.



Please don’t tell my Baltic birch (in two thickness) and dozens of other of my materials, it would upset them.

Even a cheap set of calipers will work wonders.


You mean the past few months have been an illusion? Well…crap.

I guess that means my Catan board (which was made with 90% non-PG material) was just a lie.


Do you mean, use your own material = must measure?

The horror.


To the people mocking you OP, I disagree. Alignment and making cool things are different points. The machine is not very accurate (it’s very precise). even with proofrgrade the alignment is ±1/4" which is pretty garbage for a production machine.

The machine is pretty bad about wasting material with inefficient placement without work extra step work flows to get a secondary calibration/manual offset on the camera.


I routinely cut items at the very edge of the bed with no more than 1/8" play right/left. And have stopped worrying about vertical – it’s spot on as long as I have accurate thickness measurements. I get reproducible results by careful use of 20x12 artboards in file setup.

It can be done.


I think for a lot of people, the point is not that it can be done, but that it takes a kludge to get it done.

I sure hope the fix comes sometime soon. Constantly doing workarounds is getting old.


Thank you. Yes, you are spot on, I own and operate laser and cnc systems since 1995, the problem with GF machines is their cloud base software.


This is a true statement as far as it goes. The thing is, the OP said he has had good results with :proofgrade:, all that is doing is giving the cloud a good thickness reading. We can do the same thing.

I don’t even consider measuring an extra step, more like you get to skip a step with :proofgrade: I have to measure this before doing any cnc as well, for different reasons but still have to do it.

No matter how “magical” they make this you are still going to have to do a little something.

Now where are my calipers?

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I don’t consider material measurement and proper file setup as “workarounds.” To me they are “best practices.” Every other laser cutter, CNC, & 3D printer that I’ve used required the same simple steps. YMMV, of course.


Even if not needed for placement, the thickness is needed for zooms and pews. “Why isn’t this cutting through? oh, it’s 20% thicker than the last batch.”

I kinda think :glowforge: oversold the magic and some overbought it. No matter what, you are going to have to learn a few things and bring something to the show.


I agree, My machine is ± at least 1/8" even with proofgrade or measured materials.

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That’s exactly right. I replied sarcastically to the OP because he was implying that the GF only worked correctly with Proofgrade, when there are literally hundreds of posts here showing projects with non-PG materials. The difference is that with non-PG materials you have to measure and experiment to get the correct settings.


Agreed. And I disagree with the premise of this thread. Alignment with proofgrade is no better or worse than with material X - unless you’re a conspiracy theorist that believes Glowforge is hindering alignment for non-Proofgrade materials.


And the reason you (@zfam) believe the Glowforge is measurement is off is because you aren’t seeing the very left side of the material/bed. There is a “dead space” that is, I’m supposing, cropped from the raw bed image on the very left side of the bed that is about 7/8".

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I concur.

I am referring to the visual location positioning with the lid camera -after- you have done all the proper setups.

Easy enough on a fresh sheet of material, but locating a cut/engrave on a previously used piece of material is a pain the a**.


There’s an error in this part of your post…

Also, you should have positioned the wood in the same orientation in all the photos. And also placed it entirely within the FOV of the lid camera.

The lid camera can actually see the entire bed area, not just what is shown in the GFUI.

I am not sure what limitations are incurred as part of the de-warp process, but the original image is quite wide:

Versus what is shown in the GFUI:


Did a quick comparison between Proofgrade, and non-Proofgrade…

Baltic Birch from Woodpeckers (.115"):

Proofgrade Medium Cherry Plywood:


With that level of distortion I’m surprised they have it down to 1/4. Dan has said that for that field of view at that distance required an expensive lens.