Birch bark

aw, TYSM! You’re all so wonderful :slight_smile:

I knew it would need to be flat, so I laminated a few small wood boxes to play with. That said, my 1st 2 prints were way off center (the 2nd after realigning the camera)…and since I don’t want to “waste” any materials, I think what I’ll do is laminate one of the proofgrade sheets that came with the machine, and play around with settings on that.

I also love celesteprobichaux’s idea for repositionable spray adhesive, so I may go searching for some of that, too! That way if the engraving doesn’t come out well, I can use a new piece and not ruin a box I glued onto :wink:


:joy: that’s AMAZING

Thank you all SO much! You’ve got some great ideas and knowledge, and I’m happy to soak it all in!
Trying to reply/converse, but the board system is telling me I talk too much LOL So, I’ll beg your patience while I work things out, bcz I haven’t been on a board in over a decade :flushed:

So, this was my first test piece- I thought I had caught the settings in the screen cap, but evidently not LOL The design was way off, as you can see.
I used 20lb copy paper setting (bcz the bark is more like paper than wood; and I wasn’t finding other paper settings, besides cardboard, which I may try next).
I glued the bark onto a wood box- did not mask (overhandling makes the bark look like crap tbh)
Had to remove the crumb tray (put a piece of masked proofgrade under, to prevent reflection?)
Speed was around 1000
Power was around 40
1st try
You can see how far off the mark it was; so I realigned the camera, and tried again.

The only setting I changed was a toggle, regarding lines? (sorry, can’t remember- I’m new here LOL) The lines are crisper, but there’s some charring. Also, just like in the first photo, the engraving was off from where I’d placed it, but not as badly.

And every time I tried to use “set focus”, I got an error message- followed the directions (refresh browser page and turning GF off/on), but still kept getting the error. Not sure why. Maybe bcz the crumb tray was removed?

I also want to mention that when my box arrived, it was like, sideways, almost upside down- it had NOT been kept flat in it’s travels. I’ve been in contact with my sales/CS person, who’s willing to help if the machine is damaged from mishandling…but I don’t know if my alignment issues stem from that?

Any ideas?

1 Like

Removing the crumb tray allows for thicker objects, like your box, but you still have to have the surface in the sweet spot. Most of the time when you remove the crumb tray you have to prop up your object on scraps to get it to the right height.
There are some tutorials posted on measuring for the right height as well as some tool files to measure and little boxes to “boost” your object.
This is such a cool material. I hope your experimenting gets you the result you’re after!


It is essential to use the Set Focus feature (it’s under the three dots menu) when you are taking out the crumb tray, or really just about all the time to get good alignment. Also, after cutting/engraving and the camera takes another picture of the bed, you will notice that the image is offset a bit. You can pretty much ignore that image; if you run the job again without moving either the material or the on-screen image, the operation will take place in exactly the same place. It’s a bit counter-intuitive…


Thanks you for the info about the finished phot being offset- much appreciated!
I wasn’t able to use the set focus feature- as I said, every time I tried, it gave me an error message :confused: I’m going to try @jenhupf 's suggestion, and rise the object-seems like that may have been the problem?

Trial & error LOL
Now I’m off to steam iron birch bark…in case you’re wondering what an illustrious day I’m having :joy: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Also, just to throw it in there, did you run your camera calibration with your sacrificial piece of draftboard yet? I forget where the test is located, nevermind, found it. I usually have to run it when I move my glowforge. Also, make sure the surface is sitting on is flat (level and flat are a little different). You’ll be able to tell if its flat because the lid of the glowforge won’t sit flush with the body of it.

All those aside, set focus is your friend. If you get an error message, it’s usually because the material is either the wrong height for the laser (too high or low), reflective, too dark, or not level. Lots of ways to fix those problems on the forums.

If you’re trying to place an object like a box and align a design, it’s best to put it directly under the camera.

I usually make a jig for accurate alignment, but I’m not great with jigs without a crumb tray. Recently there have been some great posts about material placement without a crumbtray. She shows the rulers she made and placement.

Also, you don’t have to respond individually, just type @ and the username and it will tag them in the reply so that you don’t get that message from the forum gods about talking too much by yourself.

Looking for some of the threads I was talking about, here are some:


Set focus relies on the red dot hitting your material in a suitable place. If your material is confusing it (too much pattern maybe?) that could cause the error I think. You might try masking the material to see if Set Focus works better.

Can’t wait to see the results of your experiments!

1 Like

This is a handy tool to ensure your work is within the focus parameters when the tray is removed.


If you made an array of tiny squares and set each to a different setting near the settings that thick paper uses, you can find the best settings for your matrial and save them in you custom settings list.

1 Like

That grid is still a good guide but I have taken the coordinate system to a whole different level :slight_smile:

I am working on a new guide on it. For example…

^^^^ What my app says something is going to come out looking like

^^^^ What it actually comes out like :slight_smile:


Welcome to the community and congrats on your new GF! I can tell you’re going to be a greet addition here and make cool things.

I know it’s SOOO flippin’ hard not to run before you walk, but I’d hoard that precious birch until I the very basics down and understood how focusing works and what each setting does and how they impact your engravings. So to further help ya down that path, here’s my favorite info link.

And I think this gives a good visual about where the material needs to be.


Or, get this and flatten it out. All you need are some flat boards, wax paper and weight.

1 Like

@miss_kristin Seriously, this is what you need to make & use right after the camera calibration. You may need to make risers to bring the top surface into the zone. There are several designs posted in the forum.

1 Like

And a Happy Birthday to you as well! :tada: :partying_face: :pie: :champagne:


“Sacrificial draftboard”- killed! :rofl: ILY already! hahaha
I was indeed a bit miffed by that, WHICH btw, is why I haven’t done my “Your first four prints! :smiley: :+1:”; didn’t want to use precious materials for things I won’t use/don’t like (is that awful??).
I used two levels to set my machine up, bcz I’m OCD like that; and yes I did run the recalibration!

That said, I did put the birch bark aside …and decided to use my sacrificial board to try the coasters (which won’t BE coasters when I’m done)-
and I’m so proud of myself!!

Look what I can do! :grin:

I’d say my placement (by eye) is damn near perfect. Altho removing the masking is maddening LOL I’m so excited!!

Thank you ALL so much for the advice, and for being so supportive.
I feel so lucky and so welcome {hugs you all}

@cynd11 I never thought about the pattern! I’m afraid to mask the birch, but will play around when it arrives. TY!

@PrintToLaser and @kelley1 - THAT is brilliant, and will be my next print! TY so much!

:rofl: suddenly I’m Smeagol “my PRE-shuss!!!” omg Thank you so much for the links and the diagram!!

I HAVE read the manual (like 8 times lol), and been pouring over threads, I swear it. Partly, my head gets so stuffed with info, I get overwhelmed. So I’m taking it one step at a time <3

And speaking of pouring over threads…and generous replies ;)…
I can’t find who mentioned inlays, but that’s one of my goals with this bark, and other gorgeous woods.

My masking just arrived, and I am off to play around!
Wishing you all a wonderful and productive day! :green_heart:


THANK YOU!! :green_heart: :green_heart: :green_heart:

Cake for everybody! LOL

1 Like

Your 4-leaf coaster is wonderful! thanks for showing us your designs. We are all looking forward to seeing what you do next.

I sometimes read a book from the middle to end, then from the beginning. I still get the message, just in a different sequence with different insights into the story. I think that’s what you are doing with your GF, and it’s so exciting to see your progress.

1 Like