Calibrating.. how often?

I find myself needing to calibrate often.

I’m wondering why? It is because every time I take out the crumb tray I move the head?

It’s wasting material to do this calibration. Or can I simply reuse the same board every time?

Thanks everyone who replied! I can’t reply back because the post is closed… but I learned so much from your replies, I am really grateful for you taking the time to reply!

Are you moving the head while the GF is on?
If so, that throws off the calibration. But it doesn’t mean that you have to calibrate every time you do that. Just turn your Glowforge off and then back on again.
In general you should only manually move the head when the Glowforge is OFF.


Once is all that is needed. It’s simply to align the camera to the head location, which is “reset” (directly under the camera) at the start of the process, and then at every power on cycle.

Mine is as accurate today as it was the day I ran it.

If you are saying your calibration is not “sticking”, then support will need to look into it.


I calibrated way back when it came out and haven’t done it since. It’s spot on. I agree with @eflyguy on this that the normal course is to run the lid camera calibration the one time and it’s good to go.

Perhaps there is something else throwing off the alignment. Something in the workflow that isn’t right.

If you take out the crumb tray, the laser head should be all the way back out of the way. Open the front garage door and slide the tray out. Shouldn’t interfere with the head.

Bumping the head or gantry can throw things off though, especially when the machine is on. How about your cleaning routine? Are you careful when you clean the lid camera so as not to dislodge it or move it? There have been instances where the lid camera is mechanically set as it should.

I take my tray out all the time and use set focus and it’s just fine with or without.

Tell us a little more about what makes you need to calibrate. Are you saying your lid camera image and design doesn’t match up so that you can cut at the right spot you pick? It is drifting or something?


100% this is the reason. Do not move the head manually when the power is on.


I find when I engrave without the tray, alignment is off but when I put the tray back in, calibration is back to normal. What else could corrupt the calibration?

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It doesn’t know if the tray is in or out (as in, there is nothing indicating to the Glowforge, that I know of, that the tray is removed).

Is set focus the first thing that you do? It should be


When I take the tray out I manual enter the height. It’s more accurate then using auto focus. I find alignment is off so I always need to light score on cardstock on top of my project to see the true placement before doing the actual engrave.

However, when I put the tray back in, calibration is spot on as before. I know that doesnt make sense but that’s is a quirk of my machine

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Sounds like something is going wrong in the process. No reason manually entering a height should be more accurate.

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I see you’ve gotten some great guidance from the community! There are a few causes that can lead to issues with alignment, and bumping or moving the head of your Glowforge when removing the crumb tray is one of them.

As mentioned previously, you can take these steps for the most accurate alignment results:

  • Use Set Focus before your print to make sure the software knows just how far the material is from the camera.
  • Use material that is not warped or tilted.
  • Remove particles from the surface of the crumb tray and the area underneath it. Check the four indentations under the crumb tray and the area underneath the front door of your Glowforge. Check to make sure that, when closed, the front door is not pressing down on the lip of the crumb tray.
  • Turn your Glowforge off and on again. Alignment can drift over time, particularly if you bump the head of your Glowforge while removing material.

After trying these steps, could you please let me know if your alignment improves?

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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