Glowforge Engrave Direction

Ever since I received my GF, I’ve always wondered why it engraves from the front of the machine to the back when the exhaust pulls the flame/smoke to the front… It seems like going the other way would be less messy as you would cut the dirty/smoky part …

Am I missing something?


But the timelapses on social media are prettier from front to back. Less useful, but more marketable perhaps. Or perhaps less cynically, it’s more fun and useful to watch your design appear as the laser moves from front to back, since then you can interrupt it if it isn’t going well by lifting the lid. Other way around and the tube, etc. obscures the design.

Some have asked for the option, but more options make more complicated software and they’re aiming for very approachable.


This was a much discussed feature when the first pre-releases came out and even before when the first demos at Maker Faire NY showed engrave from bottom to top.

There are use cases where changing the direction might be helpful. My take on it is that the exhaust system and air assist are tied into this, as is the design of the case. The head camera and smoke might enter into it. Lots of pros and cons.

As it is now, you are not missing a hidden feature. It seems that the current functionality is what is to be expected, until something different is announced.

Here is an old topic that has lots of things to consider:


I’ve wondered if the buildup of gunk that would probably occur would negatively affect engrave quality. This way, the laser is always hitting “pristine” material… I don’t know how much the gunk would affect engrave quality [*], but I bet it’s non-zero.

[*} it would vary heavily on material and engrave settings. Some materials are “gunkier” than others.


one of the things i learned about the universal pls6 we have is that there is a different kind of air assist nozzle that goes over the lens that you can change directions on. right now, the one we have is the one that focuses the air straight down on the material (a cone). but the other one literally swivels. so you could literally pause an engrave, change the direction of the air assist, and continue. essentially changing the direction of the air flow based on where you want it on the fly.

not sure i can justify the cost to the bossman, but its a cool thought.