First Cut - Not following exact shape

I just set up my Glowforge and attempted my first cut. Using Proof Grade Medium Draftboard, I am doing test cuts before cutting on nicer material. I am making coasters that require full cuts through the material and then etching of designs.

The coasters are squares with rounded edges. 3 out of the 4 rounded edges are shaped correctly, but the bottom left corner for all of the coasters I am trying to cut out are coming out in an irregular shape not like what is shown on my screen. What is the issue? Could the problem be with alignment? Do I need to clean a lense somewhere? I literally just opened the Glowforge today and this was my first cut attempt.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Did another test cut, same problems showed up. I also just tried to do some etchings of a quote. The quote has three rows of words that should all be the same size. Each row of letters came out different heights. Bottom row was most compressed, middle row was slightly less compressed and top row looked to be proper proportions.

Welcome to the forum.
A photo would be helpful to show what you are seeing with regard to the irregular shape. Also, it is recommended that you print a catalog design for your first print. Are your coasters your design or from the catalog?

Thanks for the response. It was my own design. I can try something from the catalog. Here are pictures of what is happening.

None of the corners seem to be matching perfectly, but the buttom left is especially bad. Then the letters are distorted at each row.

Here’s a blank pendant I got from the catalogue. It should have been a true circle and multiple lines aren’t properly meeting up.

Looks your lens popped out – pull the laser off (do you know how?) plenty of links / videos available… take the lens out (with the lens tool) give it a cleaning, put it back in (make sure the extended ridge is facing IN) and try it again


Support will be able to check your logs, but it appears to me that you have an issue with belt tension or cracked wheels. Something is causing incorrect movement of the printhead which results in non round circles and edges not meeting.


Definitely a tension/belt issue. First, with the machine off, roll the head back and forth along its belt - you’re feeling for a bump or a catch. There may be a piece of debris in the belt (easy), or a broken tooth (more complicated). There’s also a chance that one or more of your wheels got cracked.

Follow the instructions here, but instead of cleaning the fan - inspect the belt and wheels:

If you see anything questionable, take a picture and post it here so when a staff member arrives they can see what you’ve already done.


First, with the machine off move the head all the way to the left then the right and feel for any change in resistance along the way. Move the gantry all the way to the rear then pull forward to the front feeling for any resistance. Verify that your white cable to the head is looped correctly (lots of people plug this in wrong the first time). Then print the file called “the gift of good measure”. This file is used by Glowforge to troubleshoot machines. Note the date and time including time zone that you ran the file and Glowforge can pull the logs off of your machine to see what is going on. It is very important to run this gift of good measure file and not some other file because they know what is supposed to happen and when it is supposed to happen. Take a picture of the print both sides when completed and post in this thread.

I’m not noticing any issues when moving the laser head or bar.

I ran the gift of good measure cut at 12:22 PM central on 8/3/21 and this is the result.

Definitely look at your wheels and check the tension of your belts.

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This one looks like the problems are front to back more than side to side…but definitely a physical issue :-/

A staff member will get here shortly to help out, but if you didn’t before go through and check those belts and wheels to see if you see anything dirty/broken/cracked.

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yes as has been suggested this sure seems like there is something on a belt or wheel.

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I see you already emailed us about this and we’re working on it there, so I’m going to go ahead and close this topic.