Alignment problems

Hi, I’ve been having alignment and possible focusing problems. I just read through here, turned off GF, unplugged, manually moved head to center, plugged in, restarted, inserted Medium Draftboard, printed gift of good measure. As you can see the alignment doesn’t go back in my screen grab. Also, it hasn’t been recognizing the QR code. I’ve noticed that when I try to print something specific, or on small pieces of wood, the alignment is off. See examples below:

Alignment after printing Gift of Good Measure:

Before printing Pickle Rick With Face and without Face:

After printing Pickle Ricks:

Then adding the face after, moving the face where I think it should go, assuming the visual is correct:

And the result:

And photo:

If you align Pickle Rick with the pink preview of the rectangle instead of with the cutout on the board, you’ll have much better results. :slightly_smiling_face:

What happens is the fisheye distortion from the camera being placed so close to the bed, and having to cover such a wide angle, causes the actual placement to be slightly off from where it appears to be on the screen when you set it up. (Your alignment looks like it is well within tolerances.) Placement alignment is going to be closest directly underneath the camera in the lid (less distortion) and it gets further off at the outer edges of the bed.(Fisheye effect.)

So when you burned the rectangle, it fell a certain distance away from where it appeared to be on the screen. If you leave the pink rectangle up on the screen though, you can align the pink face to the pink rectangle and the amount of displacement is going to be the same. So when it burns, it will fall right into the middle of the burned rectangle.

That’s the concept behind using a jig, and that’s how we deal with the slight visual difference. If you include the rectangular cut and the face engrave in the same file, they will always come out perfectly correct in relation to each other.

If you have to add something that you forgot to something that is already cut out, you want to align it to the Preview, and it will move the same distance on the board.

Your focus does look a little bit blurry. Did you try cleaning the lens?


I clean the camera regularly with the wipes they suggest. Also, I never had this problem previously with something already cut out, it should be aligned no matter what. The past few months it’s been this way and tonight I just had to share because something is definitely off.

Oh, so you’re just reporting a recent change. Got it! :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you for taking the time to do some initial troubleshooting. Can I have you check a few more things as well? If you see a step you’ve already done, just let me know that you skipped it.

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 contact us so we can investigate.

Thank you, I have done all those steps and I feel like something still is off. It needs like a reset of some sort. It used to be accurately back on after a print.

If you have an alignment error of more than 1/4", please try the following:

  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 the Proofgrade Draftboard in the center of the bed and print the Gift of Good Measure using the default settings.

  6. When the print finishes, leave the lid closed and wait until the fans stop and the picture updates. 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 type “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.


I’d also pull, clean, and re-seat the lens. People have reported both fuzziness and alignment changes when their lens didn’t get all the way back up in the tube correctly after cleaning…

Thank you, I cleaned the machine quite thoroughly, there was a lot of build up, cleaned all the glass surfaces and lenses. I reset the lens in the head.

You can see in my screen shots that the qr code is blurry and the glowforge doesn’t recognize the material. I manually selected proofgrade draftboard. After printing, it got stuck on Scanning but wasn’t actually doing anything. So I reset the glowforge. Tried to print again. Now it says PRINT STOPPED. So reset again. Then it got stuck on Focusing. This is worse than when I originally started this thread… Turned off, moved head to the lower right side, turned on. Took the screenshot where it shows misaligned print. (Example G). And then finally it printed and focused.

All my screenshots below. I started testing March 4th, 2019 at 5:10pm PST:

Example G:

Unfortunately, it looks like your unit is experiencing an issue that we can’t resolve remotely. I want you to have a reliable unit, so I’m recommending we replace this one. I’ll be in touch via email to sort out the details. I’m so sorry about the bad news.