Design Shifting

Hey guys! I’ve got a question. After I get a design on anything I’m working on and I hit print, the design shifts. How can I prevent that from happening?

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Welcome to the forum.

You can avoid this by using the set focus tool prior to placing your design. Select the three dots in the interface, choose set focus from the drop down menu, place your cursor where you want your design and click. Watch to make sure the red beam lands squarely on the material.


TL;DR: Do what @dklgood said.

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 if it’s closer to the camera, and smaller if it’s further away from the camera, when it’s always really 4 inches. 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.


Very well explained for folks!

Hi @rusticelegancejewelr. I’m sorry to hear that you ran into some trouble with designs shifting as you try to print. @dklgood and @dan84 gave some great information and suggestions to help with this. Can you let me know if their suggestions were able to help resolve this? Let me know and I’ll be happy to help with any follow up troubleshooting needed. Thank you!

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