Glowfore UGH

Yesterday I noted that it had become impossible to Cut 0.4 and .05 material because of Focus Error.
I was told that the material i had been cutting for the last 2 years on the same tray was to high .

So we started to redesign a whole new platform to cut with.

But Today its like overnight we have a brand new machine and everything is cutting and no focus error so far today.

Unfortunately there must me some GAP between the Glowforge Team and Tech support.

Yesterday over 50 focus errors telling me my material was to thick , Now today we get ZERO issues and the old setup is back up and running.

None of it makes any sense to me. but its frustrating I will tell you that much.

With 0.5" material you’re actually lucky you’ve gotten it to work at all, since you’re right at the maximum height the GF can accommodate. On my machine it’s actually a little less than that. Any little variation in the thickness over that surface is going to be enough to make it too tall, and result in an error. Wood is a naturally variable material – you can’t expect it to be perfectly flat, and it’s going to respond to fluctuations in weather / humidity as well. It’s weird that you want to blame the company for your not being able to work outside the documented operating parameters.


There’s a workaround, it’s really easy.

So, .4 material should work just fine on the crumb tray. Have you checked its exact thickness for yourself or are you taking the word of the manufacturer?
The other thickness you mentioned (.05) is what? Paper?
If you meant .5 then again did you check it with calipers? Did you try taking out the crumb tray and propping it up within 1/2 inch of the laser? Those are things I would try.

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Im not blaming , i am merely pointing out that some things dont make sense .

We dont cut wood or any other material that would be effected by Weather .

We have been cutting the same material in the same spot with the same settings for the last 2 years .

Its frustrating when Glowforge Tech tells you that you need to change everything , keep in mind i have two machines to cut a material that has been flawless for us.

Than you change over the setting make a new jig a little smaller, create a new platform , figure out the new cut settings since you have changed the height.

Than wake up start the machine and its back to being a flawless no more focus issues , its crazy and it makes me wonder how and why this happens. ???

I think Frustrating is the right word.

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I’m sorry for the ongoing trouble and frustration when trying to use Set Focus with a material that has worked well for you in the past. Did you happen to have a chance to take the photos I mentioned in a reply to the original thread you created for this issue?

I’m sorry to hear that the issue is occurring with more than one unit. We haven’t released a recent software update which would impact how material is measured.

I’d like to check the logs from your other unit as well. Unfortunately, when I look at the user account for the email address that you use to log into the forum, I only see one Glowforge that has been active recently. So that I can locate the logs for your 2nd unit from today, would you please send me the serial numbers for both of your units that is located on a label on the back of the machines?

You can email the serial numbers to our team at and let them know that the email should be forwarded on to me.

Also, any photos you can share showing how your material is currently set up on the bed of your units would be very helpful as I investigate this issue further.

Once I have both your unit’s serial numbers along with photos of the material and how its set up, I’ll review everything carefully and then provide advice and next steps. While taking the photos, if you can also take a photo of the bottom of the print head I can take a look at that as well to check for anything unusual.

It’s possible that the material has a textured surface which could contribute to intermittent trouble with height measurement, and photos of the material and setup can help me to either verify or rule this out.

If you would prefer to share the photos privately, you can send them to my attention at

IVAN buddy: Lol Did you read the thread ?

The machine has been flawless all day today , No focus Errors No issues cutting the Material.

So thats great but Why is perfect today , Why is is working so well Why a 100% Turn Around ???

What is new on my machine today ?
Was there an update on the back end ?
Are the updates that we do not know about
Do servers have anything to do with the Focus.

Why is what i am looking for ?

We dont use a Crumb tray when cutting the 0.5 material , we made one that in place without the tray .

They still can look for reasons for your previous failures, IF you send them the information they requested. Do you want your issue fixed or did you just come here to complain?


Here’s the simplest solution. Bypass the autofocus. With a material like what you’re cutting, and a 2” lens, you’ll likely be better off focusing down into the material - better results, no auto focus errors, etc.

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Not sure what you mean by Focusing down with a 2 inch lens ?
Do you mean leave 2 inches from the top of the laser to the material, that would be to much.

Auto focus is setting the focus at the surface of the material. Manually set the focal point into the material - ex. 0.375”. The beam will be in focus for a greater area than if you’re focusing at the surface. Focusing at the surface on that type of material means that it’s going out of focus not long after piercing the material.

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Understood, Thank you

Normally that is how we roll, I set it at 0.5 material and never had any issues.
Yesterday we got the Focus error , so than I started using the Manual Focus and sometimes that would go thru allowing me to hit the Print button but than the Print would Fail do to the Focus.

Today were back to setting the Manaul Focus and everything is working again.

Its funny we have two machines and sometimes when sitting idle they will both go off into centering mode and I will know that Glowforge is doing some trickery server , but when you ask glowforge about it , they will tell you there was no update.

I am going to record it next time,
Thank you.

Then do you have it propped up high enough to put the surface within range of the laser?

Material height and focal aren’t the same.

To override auto focus, set the material height to actual and the focal height to a different value.

Such as:

Material height: 0.500”
Focus height: 0.375”

That will override the auto focus.


Or your Internet just blinked out for a second.

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How do it get the design to change the Material height after I have already programed that in at the beginning of the Print. ?

So my Material Height is 0.5
but my Focus height also says 0.5

So your saying if i change that to 0.375 something special will happen , why is that. ?

In the scenario @jbmanning5 mentioned:

The Glowforge would focus to 0.375, and the 0.5 material height would be ignored. You can change it anytime up until you press the print button.

However, if the autofocuser fails because the material is too high, unfortunately the print will still be blocked from starting.

If you’re interested, there are more details on this old post from 2018.

I’m glad you resolved it! I’m going to close this thread. If you run into any other trouble, please start a new topic, or email us at We’re here to help!

If you’d like us to look into this more, please send us the details Ivan requested, and we’d be happy to investigate further.