Alignment Changes?

I am curious, does alignment change every time the GlowForge is power cycled? I made a jig for some keychains that I was making and after powering off the glowforge for the weekend and continuing the engraving job on my keychains, I noticed the alignment had changed and basically the jig was no good anymore. There has to be a way to 0,0 out this machine somehow without having to make a new jig every single time I want to make multiples of something. Has anyone figured out a permanent solution?

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At least two other people are having alignment problems this afternoon. I’m one!

Well, this is a continuing issue. The further away from the center of the bed I go, the further the software is off the mark on the bed image. I have pre-cut pieces that I need to place perfectly in the bed and it’s nearly impossible without creating a border in the artwork and scoring that on a piece of wood so I know where to exactly place the piece to be engraved.

Alignment has been stated to drift over time. In the neighborhood of 0.000738188976“ per each “scan.” Is my math right? .01875mm.

I use jigs almost exclusively in what I do and have never noticed a difference when power cycling the machine.

How exactly are you working with this jig?


What I did was cut out rectangles on a piece of maple that my keychain blanks fit into. I placed it into the very front of the bed, all the way to the left of the crumb tray so I know where to put it each time.

I don’t rely on the bed image at all…when I made the jig, I made the cut from wherever the software placed the image and every time I make my engravings, I leave the artwork where it imports onto the bed. Placing any artwork on the bed image is 100% unreliable for alignment for me and is usually 1/4" or more off.

Has your crumb tray drifted? The crumb tray has quite a bit of drift within its dimples.

I reset my crumb tray every time I want to make a precise cut. Here is the method I use:

  • Open the front of the glowforge
  • Pull the crumb tray forward and to the right
  • Slowly close the front of the glowforge. It will push the crumb tray back into nearly the same position every time.
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You might want to wait for official word, as I may be wrong here, but…

Alignment is reset with every calibration step, I think. Therefore yes, power cycling will change the alignment. In theory, not by much, but porentially yes.

And yes your crumb tray can move too, throwing you off.

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I have found from personal experience (formerly operated 3500W CNC metal laser) that while it’s nice to have a permanent fixture that you have, and pull out for “that” project in reality it’s not helpful.

Even with commercial production lasers there’s the ever slightest bit of shift (when they do their edge detection).

Best practices is to every time use a piece of sacrificial material held in place (clamped/magnets) and have a two step (minimum) file. First step cuts out the hole you need to have for “that” item. Then you remove the windows created in the sacrificial piece and place your work piece exactly where you want it.

Exactly right alignment every time. Only way it fails is if there’s a gantry shift /crash/mechanical issue.


I’m sorry for my delayed reply.

Your Glowforge calibrates every time it’s powered on.

The software on your Glowforge is responsible for ensuring that the print lands on the material in the same place as the preview. When you’re done with a print, let a new image load. If the print appears on screen far from where it was supposed to go, you may have an alignment problem.

Most alignment problems come from the material being closer or farther from the camera than expected. While the software is still improving, you can take these steps for the most accurate alignment results:

  • Use Proofgrade™ materials.
  • If you don’t use Proofgrade materials, use a precision set of calipers to measure your material, and enter the thickness in the “uncertified materials” dialog.
  • Use material that is not warped or tilted.
  • Place your design near the center of the bed.
  • Clean the area underneath your crumb tray, particularly the four indentations on the floor.
  • Reboot the machine. Alignment can drift over time, particularly if you bump the head of your Glowforge while removing material.

Should you finish all of these steps, and find that you have an alignment error of more than 1/4", please try the following next:

  1. Turn off your Glowforge.

  2. Check for small pieces of debris or dust.

    • Check the lower door to make sure it closes all the way. It may require some force to open, but open it, wipe any dust off the edges, and close it all the way.
    • Remove the tray and clean any dust or debris from the surface underneath. Pay careful attention to remove all debris from the four dimples where the tray rests.
    • Check the lid to make sure it closes all the way. Small particles of material, such as dust or debris, can prevent it from closing completely.
  3. Check the surface your Glowforge is on to make sure it’s flat. Ensure it is not twisted slightly and that there is no debris propping up one side of the machine.

  4. Turn your Glowforge back on.

  5. We included an extra piece of Proofgrade Draftboard with your materials shipment for troubleshooting. Place Proofgrade Draftboard in the center of the bed and print the Gift of Good Measure using the default settings.

  6. When the print finishes, without moving your artwork or your material, take a screenshot of the workspace to show us the difference between the artwork placement and the actual print placement. Make sure to include the rulers in your screenshot and show as much of the bed as possible.

    • Mac: Press Shift-Command-4 and click and drag a box around your image. You’ll find the screenshot file saved on your desktop.
    • Windows: Click on the Start Menu and search for the Snipping Tool. Open the Snipping Tool > New then click and drag a box around your image. Click the Save icon and name and save your file.
  7. Send us the screenshot along with the date and time of the print, and we’ll investigate.

Thank you!

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email