Engraving not in position

I hope I’m not the only one with this problem. I have engraved many pieces, including 1/2 inch pine, oak and maple. Today I was trying to engrave on a piece of pine and the engraving it was about an inch from where I placed it. I’m trying to do logos on the right hand corner and it wasn’t even on the wood. I shut it all down moved the laser arm all the way back as someone had suggested. It re calibrated and has done it over and over again. Yet I put other things in there to engrave and cut on 1/8 birch and it comes out just fine. I even tried removing the crumb tray which I’ve never had to do before and the same thing. I have a big order to fill by this Tuesday and I need to get it correct. Thanks in advance for any help.

Did you input an accurate material thickness in the uncertified materials box?


Because of the fish eye lens for the camera, the further your placement is from the center line, the more out of position it is.

This is the very problem I had with engraving things. I usually am working with a rather broad canvas (so to speak), and want the image a certain distance from the edge. But I can’t position the canvas identically each time. The solution I found that works for me is to create alignment marks: small box corners around the image. After I get the image itself to my liking, I create another layer, and create a small corner bracket in each corner of the image. When I have the material ready, I put a wide piece of 2-3" painters tape across the top and bottom of where I want the image. When I have the image imported to the app and displayed on screen, I ignore the image, and etch just the alignment marks. If they’re out of place, I use a pen to mark the lines that were just etched, go back to the screen, and use the arrow keys to nudge the image over to where I want it. Then rinse and repeat until I’m sure it’s aligned where I want it. Gently remove the tape, ignore the alignment marks, and etch the image.

Have you tried it on the left side instead of the right? Mine started losing calibration on the right side, so I’m waiting for a replacement. It still does okay on the left, though.

Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry you’re having trouble with your engraving alignment.

The software on your Glowforge is responsible for ensuring that the print lands on the material in the same place as the preview. When you’re done with a print, let a new image load. If the print appears on screen far from where it was supposed to go, you may have an alignment problem.

Most alignment problems come from the material being closer or farther from the camera than expected. While the software is still improving, you can take these steps for the most accurate alignment results:

  • If you don’t use Proofgrade materials, use a precision set of calipers to measure your material, and enter the thickness in the “uncertified materials” dialog.
  • Use material that is not warped or tilted.
  • Place your design near the center of the bed.
  • Clean the area underneath your crumb tray, particularly the four indentations on the floor.
  • Reboot the machine. Alignment can drift over time, particularly if you bump the head of your Glowforge while removing material.

Should you finish all of these steps, and find that you have an alignment error of more than 1/4", please contact us so we can investigate.

It sounds like the most likely issue is the one @jbmanning5 mentioned.

Have you entered a new material thickness for the 1/2" pine?

If not, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Click on the box that says “Unknown” in the upper left corner
  2. Click the “use uncertified material” button
  3. Enter in your material thickness (in inches)
  4. Click submit

Let me know if this helps!

“place your design near the center of the bed” - What now? How much waste do you want us all to generate…

I find that the GF is about 1/8-1/4" off most of the time - especially at the bottom. The software still can’t use the full bed area… Just a couple of ‘rants’… I know you’re working on the software… but dang.

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You can also generate your own personal custom calibration. Place some crosshairs on a piece of material on the bed in the different quadrants + the center. Then drop a crosshair score on each one. Score lightly. Check to see how much each one is off. Move them using the arrow keys keeping track of how many key clicks you need for each one. Score again. Repeat until you’ve got the crosshairs dead on. It only takes a few repetitions to get it down.

Mark your sample with the clicks needed to adjust and now regardless of where you want to drop something on the bed you know what you have to adjust from where it looks good on the screen.

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email support@glowforge.com.