Can I align to pre-printed materials?

To accurately align a cut to a printed image this would be nice:

Let the machine calculate the alignment, rotation… no manual zoom-in and arrow-keying…

Maybe one day this will be available in the cloud for a premium…


it won’t be the first thing over-promised.

I don’t see flipping non-symetric pieces and having the GFUI figure that out, but I can see it picking up on symmetric parts that are jigged into position, maybe.

Reading PG labels is still hit or miss on my machine. That should be easy compared to things that designs could throw at that GF that include shades of gray, colors, etc.


@sneggi Thats the ideal.

Actually, ive got phone apps that pretty much do that already… There are lots of apps that scan papers that wil auto-rotate and auto-crop to the photo of a paper on a desk for example, including doing perspective correction.


What worries me is now they are shipping the hardware is pretty fixed - so what happens if this is never fixable in software?

If you have already accepted your GF what happens if they never meet the promises?? Can you return it? Get a refund? I doubt it, but on the other hand how do you accept it unless the actual functionality at time of delivery is clear. Bit of a legal nightmare I should think.


I think when they ask you if you are ready to receive your unit, they include a long list of limitations on what it can do. While I haven’t seen this list (apparently it disappears forever if you click to the next page), I don’t think they guarantee that the limitations will ever be fully implemented.

If you can live with the limitations, go for it. Otherwise defer shipment or cancel.

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i can tell you that there are very few digital printers that will register perfectly. most higher end color copiers do ok when calibrated regularly, but few are calibrated that regularly (registration would be a service call) and i almost always have to make adjustments in the RIP to get close to exact if i’m trying to duplex prints, as the crop/registration marks will not align on both sides.

really high end digital printers, like an indigo, can do much tighter registration. but we’re talking well into six figures to buy one.

the point i’m making is that if you print on something with a less exact registration, i.e., most copiers and home color printers (inkjet or toner), that image could be in a slightly different place on the page. when you run a duplex job on the higher end xerox color copiers (we just replaced ours in January, so it’s pretty new), you can still have the two sides off by 1/8" when you hold them up to the light and look at crop/registration marks.

so if your source material is not necessarily exactly where you expect it to be, maybe 1/8" to the right of dead center of the sheet, then you can’t tell GF it’s dead center and expect GF to cut where you want it to. it will be 1/8" off.

that’s why preprinted pieces will need the GF to be able to either start from a 0/0 that you can pinpoint and make sure you have a registration mark on your printed mateiral will hit 0/0 or, as we were expecting from the original video and promises, for the camera to be able to read where the object is in the bed accurately so you can scan w/the camera and adjust the cut to the preprinted material.


My placement is extremely good. I suspect they have to do a software tweak on the units, and they might have to do them individually for now, but that they intend to batch process them later, once they start shipping in bulk.

They’re hard to see so I highlighted one of the circles by selecting it, but there are four red circles placed at the limits of the ply:


Anyway - this is what it looks like at the far reaches of the bed. The red circles are exactly where I placed them, the cuts are exactly underneath. The slight variance in the dark lines is shadow from where the cuts fell down - the quarter inch ply was a little warped.

That was just from visual placement. The vector cuts using jigs are a lot more accurate.


That’s reassuring @Jules, not sure why your experience is so different than others. But still, if I can do that then that is probably good enough.

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You’re lucky to have a well calibrated machine!

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Or does it perhaps depend on how flat the surface that the machine sits on is? I.e. it is not infinitely stiff, so I would expect it to twist slightly to match any twist in the surface it stands on rather than rock. Maybe that could alter the angle of the camera relative to the bed slightly. The distance from the camera to a corner of the bed is large, so a slight change in angle would be a big distance.


Might be an interesting experiment to put a coin or two under one corner and see if it affects alignment.

The problem with alignment in the Forge is that with such extreme viewing angles that the wide angle lens uses, any slight variation in manufacturing will be magnified immensely as errors in camera alignment. It’s just not reasonable for GF to expect lab-quality results in a mass-produced product.

What’s the solution? Roll the dice and hope you get a reasonably aligned machine, then cross your fingers for a head camera solution down the road to fix them all.

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I would expect each machine to be calibrated with a test pattern. And as I said before it should be straight forward for it to engrave a test pattern on a flat sheet and calibrate itself on site. The only issue I see is the repeatability of the lid hinge.


Not sure that it has ever been mentioned but folks might want to refrain from turning the overhead camera lens ring. Yes, it adjusts focus but it also really screws up the image placement accuracy. Moving it as little as an 1/16th of a turn will distort it. And the movement/placement relationship is not at all obvious. I put a very small white dot on the ring edge, should it ever be turned. (Since this is not my unit, I used a non permanent marking)


yes, dan has mentioned (i think) that they’re supposed to be glued on new machines and you can damage it by trying to turn it now?

Unsure. My pre-release came along long after his post and was not glued. The only way anyone would know is by turning something they are not supposed to turn.


yeah, i mostly meant agree, don’t touch it unless told.

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At makerfaire I had a piece of thin paperboard under one corner. They were very adamant about having it equally under each corner.


Excellent point! (I don’t think they mention it anywhere in the write-ups yet.)

The early pre-release lenses weren’t glued, I think this one was. (Or it’s was just screwed on really tightly.) I’ve never had the camera shift that I know of, and I’m REALLY careful when I’m wiping it.

But most of the “getting off by 1/4 inch” that everyone is seeing now seems to be related to something software related because this one got extremely out of whack right after the last update on July 27th. Rita told me to reboot the machine, and immediately after the reboot, the nice tight configuration you see happened. And it was about the same as the Pre-Update alignment.

What I don’t know for sure is whether they tweaked something individually for the machine remotely before she had me reboot. It might just come down to having written instructions for us to reboot after any firmware updates get pushed.

Coding is quite Greek to me, I’m not sure how long it takes to track something like that down…but when she says they’re working on it, they’ll eventually find it. They have before.

It’s an intriguing idea that it might have to do with the level of the machine. The table we have this on is sturdy and flat as a pancake. (And much as I love you guys, I am not going to test it by deliberately making this thing un-level. ROFL!) :smile:


Possibly going 1/4" out and then recovering when rebooted is due to pushing a cloud update that includes new firmware. Until you reboot you will have the new GFUI running with the old firmware. I am surprised they don’t have a better way of dealing with updates if that is the case.

Still pretty new at this…I imagine they will fine tune their processes down the road. :slightly_smiling_face:

In the meantime, the results we see here from individual users can’t always be used as a yardstick of future performance, since that user may or may not have done the required reboot.

And they haven’t sent notifications when they push something up until very recently either. It hasn’t been necessary for the PRU users, because we were warned up front to expect it, but they are going to have to figure out a way to start notifying the Production unit users beforehand to expect to have to reboot after the push. Or they are going to be overloaded on the support side dealing with it individually.

And it’s going to need to be very non-technical. Maybe a large colored flag in the UI letting people know that a migration happened and they need to reboot, with instructions to remind them how, the first time they fire it up for a job after a push.