Glowforge cutting very inaccurate lines

Hi there, we’ve been using our Glowforge for a while and it’s always had very reliable results. Recently, we fired it up to cut some small badges and it’s been unable to cut out shapes. When it runs by on the second pass, it’s very much so not in line and overlaps and often doesn’t even cut the shape out.

When engraving, the text is smushed and not appearing as it should.

So far, I’ve squared the rails, I’ve cleaned all the lenses (except the main lens, as we don’t have the tool and the tool is sold out ), I’ve tightened the belts, and I’ve tried different materials and designs.

Here are some images of what these cuts have looked like:

These are trying the shapes, as well as engraving. I even attempted just a circle shape cut and it wasn’t able to do this. Squares and other non-curved shapes also do not cut properly.

A bit at a loss of what else to try.


Check that the wheels on your carriage plate aren’t cracked/broken?


You can remove the top of the laser head (it’s magnets) and push the lens out with a q-tip or equivalent - make sure to have your hand, or a towel underneath to catch the lens!

It’s very important to keep that clean, but that has nothing to do with your distortion, the other responses cover that!


Alright, went through the whole list and cleaned and tightened everything and did every step as needed. It’s still doing inaccurate prints. One thing I’ve noticed, is that it seems the right side of the laser arms moves before the left side does. I even have a video of the phenomenon.

When moving the arm manually with the Glowforge powered off, I swear there is just a tiny bit of resistance in a few places like bumps, but this could just be the standard resistance from the stepper motor.

You’ve definitely got something catching on the left or slipping on the right. The resistance should be even.

Have you taken all the belts off and checked for debris/damage?
Checked all 8 wheels (4 per belt)?

Hi @registration I’m sorry to see that you’ve been running into some unexpected print results, and noticed that one side of the laser arm is not moving consistent with the right side. I’ll be happy to work with you to get this sorted out.

I reviewed the attached videos of the laser arm movement, and would like to check the laser arm wheels and side belts that move that part during prints. With your Glowforge turned off, can you remove the crumb tray, push the laser arm back and take photos of the wheels on both sides using the image below as reference.

Also, it can help to adjust the tension of the side belt as an added check. If you notice any loose tension, feel free to include any photos of that as well.

I’ll look forward to your response. Thank you!

Hi there, thanks for the response. Wasn’t able to get into the shop at work all weekend, but here are the images:

I’ve also adjusted the side belt tension a few times and have it dialed where I believe it should be. It’s tight, while still allowing movement:

I’ve checked the entirety of the rails as well, and can see no debris or anything blocking them. I noticed they were a little low on any kind of lubrication, but with the silicon wheels, is it even required?

Thank you for the detailed photos. I’m so sorry for our team’s delayed response. It looks like your belts are in great condition and well tensioned. This leaves us with a bit more that we’ll need to look into to see if there is any other troubleshooting we can guide you through remotely to narrow down a possible cause.

I wanted to let you know for now that we’ve received the images and I’ll be reviewing them with one of my colleagues who is our mechanical expert to determine the best next steps.

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