Feature suggestion: Manual camera calibration

Yeah, the horse isn’t getting any less dead, but I had an idea I wanted to share anyway.

We’ve all seen each other’s test targets showing various degrees of drift, which varies across the work area. It would be nice if, for a given material thickness, we could run through a manual calibration process, aligning expected and actual results for multiple operations.

It could work a lot of ways, but imagine something like this…

  • Put in a piece of Proofgrade, or your own material with a height measurement.
  • Start calibration mode.
  • The Glowforge does a low-power cut, marking a crosshair in the upper left corner of your material.
  • The app shows you a zoomed in image of that area with draggable artwork in the cut position–just like we can see right now.
  • The user drags/rotates/nudges the artwork onto the actual cut mark and clicks NEXT PLEASE!
  • The process is repeated at several other places on the material–as many as it takes to get the data needed.
    • (You could cover the item with copier paper so you didn’t consume it in calibration.)
  • Math happens, and a custom de-warp map for this material thickness is recorded in The Cloud.
  • Future camera placement for this material thickness then automagically works better.
    • (Seems like having one really good de-warp map may be able to improve results for other material thicknesses too, but I dunno.)

I realize this is a very un-Apple-like process, and also possibly very un Glowforge-like. But this is a professional-grade tool, and I think it is reasonable to at least offer the option of advanced procedures which can improve results.

Ever used a Wacom Cintiq digitizer? They have a similar multi-point calibration procedure built into the drivers. You can do just a few points, or you can dive in and do 100 points if it matters to you. That’s a multi-thousand-dollar professional creative tool, too.

Right now we do often have to take extra steps to get our placement right. Optionally front-loading some of that work, to reduce the ongoing need for extra work, sounds like a win to me.

Maybe the above concept is unworkable for some reason I don’t yet understand; hopefully, there are still improvements to be made, though.

Just my two cents!

OK, now back to my project…


I like this suggestion and I support it being added to the hopper if possible. While I know that the software is still being developed, the lack of consistency in cut location is a little hard to deal with when I am trying to optimize material use.
I have a feeling it is less workability and more that they are spending time going down the path they feel will work best for the hardware and their roadmap and they don’t see a reason to move or split attention just yet. As users, we see only one side of things, and they can tell us another, but there are other views that just don’t translate because we don’t have the experience to be able to properly put all the pieces together.

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Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll make sure the team gets them.