Alignment is way off on a brand new glowforge. Please help!

Hey, y’all. I’m very eager to get started using my brand-new glowforge, but I’m having some alignment issues that are definitely outside of the tolerance. I’ve already taken a bunch of steps to try to fix it, and I’m at a loss. Here’s what I did:

  • I cleaned all of the lenses/mirrors per the directions.
  • I also took out the crumb tray and cleaned that.
  • I’ve run the camera calibration on a piece of proofgrade draftboard per the directions.
  • I then tried to measure the camera accuracy using the “precision preview test pattern design” twice, and they are significantly off.
  • I shut the machine off, waited about 5 seconds, and then turned it back on.
  • I did the calibration again, and have now ruined a second piece of draftboard running it a second time.

My results with the second calibration are no better than the first. I’m not sure what else to do to fix this? But it must be better than this…the X isn’t even in the circle at all. As I mentioned, my glowforge is brand new, and I’m just using it for the first time.

Thanks in advance for the assistance. I really want to make a thing for my nephew, but that project is engraving on a piece of wood that’s already cut, so I’m super worried that the alignment will be off and I’ll ruin it. :confounded:

Support might decide that that is slightly too far off and want to replace the machine, or they might want you to run more tests first, depending on what your logs show.

Whatever they should decide, you can engrave perfectly on your piece of wood if you use a jig. (I wouldn’t start off with that as the first project though, I’d start with the three test cases that Glowforge recommends to get familiar with the machine… here.) You can run them on the marked up draftboard so there’s not even any waste.

If you do use a jig, you’ll need to do a couple of things like take into account how thick the wood is, and you’ll need to let people know which design software you are using.
And ask for help with it when the time comes. Jigs are not hard, but if it’s a “one of a kind” item, you might want to run a couple of tests with jigs to get comfortable with what happens before trying it on the real thing. :slightly_smiling_face:

There are a few “Getting Started” tutorials here that you can start reviewing while you wait to hear from Support about that variance.


I had one just like that, off by more than 1/2" at the corners. I emailed support, they made some kind of remote adjustment, and now I’m within .1" everywhere.


Hey Jules. Thanks for your advice! I cut my ruler when I got the machine. :wink: Actually, I was running my first for fun little project as a test, and that’s how I noticed my alignment was way off. So then I looked up what to do and found all of the above info and did it twice.

Thanks for the tip. I’m using Illustrator. The actual piece I’m engraving into is 1/4" thick. Is it okay if the jog is made from a thinner (1/8") material?

Oh, hearing that gives me hope. I already emailed them, so I’m waiting to hear back.

1/4" inch thick is going to be fine, and yes, you can cut the jig out of thinner material like cardboard. But what you will want to do is change the focus height in the operation for the actual Engrave after you cut the shape out of the cardboard. That will keep you from getting a defocused engrave.

Steps are:

  • Create your design, and align the engraving inside of the cutout shape.
  • Save both in the same file.
  • Measure the thickness of the cardboard. Pin it down in the machine.
  • Enter that thickness into the Unknown Materials slot and use it for the Cut step.
  • Set the Engrave to Ignore.
  • Cut the shape out of the cardboard, then remove the center.
  • Drop in the wood piece.
  • Set the Cut to Ignore and change the Engrave to Process. Use a focal point for the engrave (inside the manual settings) of 0.25 inches. (The thickness of the wood.)
  • Then just process the Engrave.
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Also, 2 things: first, you could have just flipped over the draft board and used the other side, no reason to use 2 pieces. 2nd, keep one of these pieces of draft board that you have already used for calibration and if you ever need to run the calibration again, all you have to do is remask it with paper tape and you can use the same piece of draft board over and over again. Don’t keep wasting more boards. Hope that helps.


FWIW, I ended up using a piece of flat cardboard (from a shipping box) to successfully complete my calibration. I had to attempt it several times, and it failed after “printing” due to a network issue.

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also for future reference sending them an email opens a ticket and posting here opens a ticket - duplicate tickets have to be found/researched/closed before they will respond - and they will always respond to email over a post here. So when you see them come in here and close this post go check your email, your answer should arrive shortly.

In the future do one or the other and you’ll get a faster response. You can always post in Anything Else if you want advice from the forum crowd without opening a new ticket :slight_smile:

I’m so sorry to hear about the trouble with the print alignment. I’ve just replied to your email with the next troubleshooting steps, so I’m going to close this thread.