Glowforge 'Focus Height' Calculator

Howdy folks,

I was intending to create this topic in the “Tips and Trick” category… but that was not available in the drop-down list.

I’ve seen a number of exchanges where a question was asked about calculating the ‘Focus Height’ value when you’re not using the crumb tray.

Admittedly the steps can appear daunting if you don’t know them… and besides… you don’t want to screw something up because you didn’t do it quite right.

Like learning to dance the Tango… that can be equally daunting… until you learn the steps… after that, you start having fun.

In order to help those that are trying to wrap their heads around this issue, I have created a video as well as a “Glowforge Focus Height Calculator”, which can do a lot of the work for you. It’s a Windows based utility which can accept the 'Material Height” from you (thickness of what you’re cutting/engraving) and it will give you the needed ‘Focal Height’ for the laser.

In order to get a basic understanding of what the calculator offers, check out the following video .

I’ve found this to be a quick and accurate way to acquire the needed ‘focal height’ value for the Glowforge setup.

If this thing sparks an interest… it can be found on Etsy at following digital download listing .



You might like these shims:


“Great minds…etc…etc…” I think your approach is very similar to what I was suggesting using the magnets… with the ‘magnet shims’ being 0.2"…they may give you a bit more flexibility as to the ultimate placement of the work item… but regardless… if it’s in the ‘sweet spot’… you’re good to go!

Nice demo! I’ll add a link to your video into the Matrix with the other Focal Point Height Calculators. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Cute but this is already here as a Excel file.
Are you saying there are people without a spreadsheet?

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No Mark… the thought that there are “people without a spreadsheet” did not enter my mind at all… just yours.

Okay then here is one that is proven to work well.

Thanx again to @newbies_234 for providing it for free.


Oh man, let me go throw mine behind a paywall!!!


The more, the merrier, I say!

I dunno. I’m really not in favor of starting down the road of for-profit Glowforge help. It detracts from what has made this such a great community, where so many people have freely given their time and expertise to help others learn and progress.

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What’s the difference between for-profit designs and for-profit software tools? Does it not take time and effort to create both?

If I went around this forum saying I’m not in favor of starting down the road of selling design files, and everyone should give away their SVGs, I’d be tarred and feathered.

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I’m with you on this. There’s room for someone to monetize very high quality instruction and tools. I can’t say if that’s what we have here, I didn’t bother to open the video. It seemed superfluous; focus height calculation is dead simple with a caliper.

This topic was covered thoroughly and simply, no video tutorial or $10 purchase required.

If the op wants to try to come here, read how to do stuff, then repackage it for sale, that’s grand. I just won’t spend my money on it and would personally prefer not to see too many advertisements along these lines — but I’m not the only user here. Maybe someone somewhere was like “yessssss” and bought ten copies, IDK.


If the argument that we shouldn’t be advertising our wares on the forum, I can get behind that 100%.

Whether it’s useful or high-quality work… I feel the same about a lot of the “look what I made” stuff that’s posted here, but rather than tell the poster they’re dragging the forum down, I just mark it as read and move on.

A photo of a nicely designed project inspires creativity. It doesn’t really seem comparable, to me.