Focus/Printing is WAY Off

Hi GF community!

This is my first ever post, and you all seem so friendly and knowledgeable, so I’m hoping you can help a newbie out. I did review multiple threads first before posting, because I know I’m probably beating a dead horse with my question, but I’ve had no luck in resolving my issue.

I’ve had my GF pro for about a week now just playing around with it, but the focus is always off by at least 1/2 inch from where I want my design to start/to be.

What’s super easy about this, is that I will be printing on the same material, dimensions, and thickness every time, so nothing will change. I will be printing on anodized aluminum business cards for our members and staff.

I was thinking about purchasing some (thin) magnetic strips to place on the honeycomb across 3 sides so every time I insert a card to be etched, it will always be in the same spot, and be straight/level. Would this work? How do I fix the focusing issue? I’ve tried setting the focus before printing, but it’s still off…

Thank you in advance to everyone who comments!


Couple of things. First, have you tried calibrating with the draftboard that came with your machine? A search for that should get you headed the right direction.

Second, be careful with magnets as they can cause the fan to throw errors and stop your print. A forum search for magnets should yield plenty of discussion of that as well.

If there is indeed a problem with your machine this post has opened a ticket with GF and they will be along shortly to help.

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It sounds like you are confusing focus and alignment.

Focus sets the focus point of the beam.
Alignment dictates where your design will print relative to the screen image captured by the lid camera.
“Set Focus” also adjusts the view on the display to better match the view of the material across the bed, it doesn’t move the design.

The machine will print exactly where the design lies on the grid in the workspace. Every time, to within 1/1000".

If you set up a jig and don’t move the crumb tray, it will print in exactly the same place every time. It’s the easiest and most reliable way to position repeated prints.

The only reason the screen image appears to change the location of a print is that after you focus on your material, the UI adjusts the view to compensate for parallax error with different thickness material from the view of the lid camera. When it determines material thickness for automatic focus height, it now knows how to correct the view. It’s not moving the design.

You probably should, however, perform a camera calibration just for convenience of placing materials, that is documented in the support section above.


Couple of things to add to what the gang has said here… :slightly_smiling_face:

First here’s the link to the Set Focus tool and Calibration Program. (You should probably run it first, it does help with placement.)

Second, the way that the focusing mechanism works for the laser is that a tiny red dot will be shot out from the head, and it has to land on the object to be engraved for a calculation to determine thickness. If it lands off to the side, (which is easy with something small like a credit card sized object), then it can give an incorrect thickness measurement, and that makes the placement appear wrong on the screen view. (Lousy explanation, but short of a very long technical description that will put you to sleep, it will do.)

What you should do with something that you are engraving like an aluminum card, is just tape it onto a very flat sheet of plywood. (Or stick it down with double sided tape.) That way, if the beam falls off of the card, it is still going to land on material that is approximately the same height, and not fall off into the grid holes. You’ll get a better thickness measurement.

You can do this for engraving without any issues. (It’s not a good idea to stack materials for cutting, that isn’t safe.)

I’d also recommend against using magnets in this instance…strong magnets can cause problems when the head gets too close to them.

But you could, if you have a lot of cards to do, create a “jig” by lasering the outlines of the cards into the board, then just stick the cards right onto the board where the outlines are. If you create the outlines with the aligned artwork in the same file, the alignment will be perfect as long as you do not shift the board. (Once you move it, you will need to re-align, or place the board in exactly the same place in the bed, so make sure to anchor it against the side of the tray and the front door if you want to reuse the jig.)

Using a jig is by far the quickest way to work with batches of small items if you need to get the alignment spot-on.


Not mentioned is Bed Pins that are a practical necessity and work very well to provide a repeatable location for the cards.


Great information from everybody.

The only detail I will add (and excuse me if it was mentioned already and I missed it) is that you will get better camera alignment if you position the card in your jig underneath the camera in the lid, as there will be less need for fisheye adjustments near the center of the visual field.


Thank you, everyone! Your comments have definitely given me clarity on how to fix this issue. I did confuse focus and alignment, and have since recalibrated the camera, and made a couple of jigs. You are all awesome, thank you again!