Design moves after hitting ready

When I place my product piece and place my design, I get everything lined up and ready to print I hit the ready button and my design moves. I have to cancel the print and go back and re-align, sometimes several times before it does not move when I hit ready. Even when I do this my print will be out of alignment

I did all of these at the same time. My placement was perfect and they were held down so they did not move and the flower printed off to the side. Why does the design move after I hit ready?

Welcome to the forum.

It is important to use the set focus tool before placing your artwork. Make sure that the red beam lands squarely on the material where you want your design. For precise placement on irregularly shaped objects, it is best to make a jig.




It’s not your design that’s moving, it’s the camera image behind it that’s “moving” by being scaled smaller or larger. Your design only moves when you move it.

Warning: long explanation incoming.

There’s a camera on the lid of the machine pointing at the crumb tray. It takes a picture of your material, which shows up on the GF application, bordered by some rulers, and you line up artwork with your material that way.

But how does the Glowforge know how big or small to make the camera picture so the rulers are accurate and you’re lining up your artwork with a life-sized image? After all, a 4 inch square of wood will look larger than 4 inches if it’s closer to the camera, and smaller than 4 inches if it’s further away from the camera. That’s just how vision works, right? It can only scale it to show up as 4 inches on your screen if it knows EXACTLY how far away that wood is from the camera.

Since the distance from the camera to the crumb tray is a known number, the only unknown is how thick your material is. If you use Proofgrade materials, the thickness is programmed in. It’s still an approximation, since every piece of wood or plastic varies a little from the next, but it should be pretty close. That means the camera picture will be scaled pretty close to “true to real size”.

But if you put anything else in the machine, it won’t know, and the picture won’t be the right size. If you line up your artwork with that picture, it will print somewhere other than where it shows on your screen… unless you provide the material’s thickness.

And you can do that by measuring it, or asking the Glowforge to measure it. The “Set Focus” button tells the Glowforge to go measure the material height using its laser range finder on the bottom of the print head. If you don’t use the “Set Focus” button before hitting the “Print” button, the first thing it does is go and measure the material height on its own, picking a point near the middle of your design as the place to measure it from. That’s what it means when it says “autofocusing on your material”, the first part of the “preparing” stage before the time for your print pops up.

If the measurement it comes up with is different from the height of the material you had selected, you’ll see everything “shift” on your screen as the camera image is scaled to true size. But if you had already used the “set focus” button before lining up your design with the picture, the image is already scaled, this step of “preparing your print” is skipped, and there will be no shift.

ALL THAT SAID, since the items you’re engraving on are not a flat surface with equal distance from the camera at all points, you probably want to make a jig to get perfect alignment instead of using the camera at all. Search “jig” in the forum to start learning about that…


This ^^^^ It very well could be an issue of where set-focus is hitting on the concave surface, and some kind of jig or running a test on a masked spoon at very low power is a great solution.


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