Centering by camera

So I have a round piece of bamboo board that I want to etch something into (About 8" diameter). It happens that the design I want to use also has a round border…so if it isn’t centered correctly it will be more apparent. I have noticed that using the camera on the GF isn’t necessarily accurate when placing designs using the app.

So what I want to know is, is there any way to make sure that I can start my cut exactly where I want it?

Have you run the camera calibration process?

The alignment between the UI and material should be within a fraction of an inch when completed. Mine is less than 1mm at the center.

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I guess since I don’t know, I can probably say no. Are there instructions online?

I added a link to them to my post.

Got it! Thanks, I am going to go ahead and get it done now!

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For sure run calibration and that should get things pretty close, if not exact. If placement is critical though, I’d still test before running your file just to make sure. One easy way is to add a round vector to your file. Get your file and the round line all lined up and then upload it all together. (Make sure the round line is a different color so you can adjust the setting independently of the other file parts.) Mask your board and then turn off everything in the file but the round line and run that with a power of 3 or so. (Just enough power to mark the masking, but not burn through it to your material.) That will show you exactly where the file will engrave. Once you have everything where you want it, turn off the round test vector and run your engraving.

There are several similar ways to go about this and this is just one example. Another version is to upload the file and round vector test line, secure tape or a piece of paper to the tray and run the round line. That will give you a target to lay your material on.


An option is to put in a template–like build up layers of cardboard to get the thickness and cut to be the same diameter of your cutting board and test (with low power) and use tape or magnets or pins to mark the position around the outer diameter, so once you get the centering/position you want of the artwork vs. material, remove the test material and put in your real cutting board in the same position (I like using the pins to mark edges as easier to keep the location markers from shifting/being shifted when changing the materials to be etched).

Having the same thickness is key so the camera focal length doesn’t cause a shift in the artwork position relative to the material…

It looks like you’ve already gotten some wonderful advice from the community! To add to this, 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.

Let us know if this helps your prints turn out the way you want them to!

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Thanks everyone! I did the alignment and seems to be much better now.

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I’m glad your issue has been resolved! I’m going to close this thread. If you run into any other trouble, please start a new topic, or email us at We’re here to help!

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