Can't print - fails on preparing design


My second day with the glowforge and it’s completely stopped working…this is so frustrating.

I get this generic and unhelpful message when I push the print button in the app.

We’re sorry, an error occurred while preparing this print.
If the issue persists, please contact us at with details about what’s causing this error to occur.

I’m trying to cut a very simple file:

But the issue happens on other files as well. I’m cutting on .5" material, so focal point is set to .433, 160 speed, full power. I’ve rebooted the machine several times, moved the head with teh machine off to force a recalibration, but the problem still occurs. It gets past the scanning material step and then quickly fails on preparing design.

:frowning: I’m very very sad to not be able to use my toy on its first weekend. Any help would be appreciated.

edit: solution was as Jules and Mark suggested. Half inch materials are not supported with the crumb tray in place. Removing the crumb tray and propping the material up to be a quarter inch tall (a quarter inch above the original crumb tray height).


Are you trying to cut 0.5" material on top of the tray? The maximum focal thickness of the material that you can cut on top of the tray is 0.433 inches.

If you want to cut thicker material, it helps to remove the tray and prop the material up into a half inch range that falls into the correct place, using this tutorial.

Hope that helps.


There it is, drop back and get to know your machine some with some 1/8" then poke around here there is lots of stuff on doing thicker items but you will have to take the tray out and then prop it up to put it inside the focal range. There is even an Excell calculator to help.


Thanks, trying this now.

Suggestion to the glowforge folks: The manual states that with the crumb tray materials must be “less than half an inch”. I foolishly misread that as less than or equal to. But it seems to be misleading still if the max height is actually .433.


This was the problem. Guess I shoulda searched a little better on the forums. Thanks yall, and sorry for my stupidity.


Agreed. It should be clarified that up to 0.5" will fit/clear, and also emphasize that the laser workspace must be equal to or less than 0.433" to achieve a focus/calibration/cut.


You can cut thicker materials. It’s only the focus that can’t adjust to higher than .433", at this time. They have said that it will change in the future, and be able to make it to .500" (as stated in the specifications).

I cut through 1/2" acrylic without a problem:

EDIT TO CLARIFY: The 1/2" acrylic cuts I did were done with the material sitting on the crumbtray. I did not need to remove the crumbtray to get it to fit/cut.


I’m aware you can cut thicker materials. I wasn’t aware that despite 0.5" clearing that it won’t currently focus above 0.433".


True, but you can still cut 1/2" just fine with the .433" focus. And in the case of engraving acrylic, the lower focal point will give you a nicer looking result…


Help me make sure I am tracking please. you put 1/2" acrylic on the tray but spoofed they system by telling it it was .433"?


Glad you’re in good shape!


Yah. How bout an “Object too tall”
Error message?


I didn’t spoof it on purpose. When you enter .500" in the box in the GFUI, it automagically drops it to .433". But it works.


If you try to type in .5" for material thickness, it resets it to .433". I had assumed that it was setting the focal point to be slightly inside the material to help compensate for cutting a thicker piece. I have a feeling Scott did something similar, but his worked for some reason while mine failed. I was cutting wood, so mine was probably just a fraction thicker than Scott’s acrylic, which is probably more true to it’s half inch thickness.

On the plus side, after following the recommendations here, I managed to cut a (slightly taller apparently) half inch cedar fence slat using 140 speed at full power and 3 passes.


It actually mic’s at .470" with the paper on it. I’m guessing it is 12mm, and sold as 1/2".


Just pointing this out for the benefit of passers-by:

When referring to entering in the material thickness, there are two places where this comes in to play. Each is a separate domain and has it’s own issues and might be clarified in discussions.

  1. Thickness of material entered into the materials search/menu to give a parameter for image processing software to do its work on the lid camera picture.

  2. Focal point entered into each distinct operation/step, either populated automatically from the material thickness entry or individually entered to change the focus plane of the laser beam as it exits the lens.

I know we know these distinctions, just saying I get confused sometimes and have to go through the post trying to figure out what they are referring to. I know most of the time the number in the material thickness is the same number in the focus height. But in this case, the added complexity of a material the surface of which is above the possible focal plane of the lid camera, and also of the head lens.

I’m puzzling over the limitation of the two foci and their coherency: is the .433" a hard limit of the lens focus in the head or is it a hard limit established in the lid camera image processing, or both?


Nothing stupid man, failure gives us lessons. It is our teacher.
Here on Earth, that’s why we put that little piece of rubber on the end of a pencil. :grin:
All the people here helped me get a handle on this technology that I was clueless about. This place is your number one resource for help!

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