Glowforge Never Aligns Completely

I’ve never gotten to use it much despite being a preorder model, but I always seem to run into this problem. Doesn’t matter if I use autofocus or if I use calipers and set it manually, the GF never lines up to how it looks in the camera bed view.

At the moment its fairly close horizontally, but keeps engraving slightly above wherever it shows its going to. Additionally there are no second chances, everything needs to be done in the first try, because once it finishes the bed view adjusts and the recent engrave will not be remotely aligned to the graphic anymore.

I hope its not some sort of defect in early models, but I have never been able to have it align. I can get a good cut and engrave, I just have to be ready to waste a ton of material to do it because it will never hit where I think.

Its not proofgrade as I’m not too into ordering more of that unless I can see some function from the GF and the only things I’ve found its minimal power can handle is some thin balsa craft wood type stuff. I don’t think its a material issue though. If anyone could shed light on what may be going wrong I would be very thankful.

What were the results of the camera recalibration process?

The machine is rated for ~1/4", although many get better than that.

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Are you using the set focus tool prior to placing your artwork?


Try using jigs? Takes the guesswork out of things.
I also hear good things about this grid method.


I’m not sure, its been a long time. By the time the machine arrived I was busy so I set it up, played around with the materials it came with, and its been sitting in a corner since. I was one of those original preoders, come to think of it I never got the airfilter. Maybe that would cure the problem, I can try it if I hopefully still have any draft board left. I’ve gotten plaques and some things to engrave, but hobby craft wood is made of butter, anything from a hardware store went terribly even when I could find it in 1/4". But I’m always compensating for it being off from where it shows and never being able to replicate the same cut location twice. Maybe that is it, I’ll try it tonight report back in case someone has a similar issue.

@dklgood and @ekla
I left the bed empty for start up, set the piece squared to the side using another of the same wood as a jig, set autofocus to the center of the work, and printed. I also jigged it to the middle and set focus manually after measuring it with calipers to include the fraction of mm added by masking tape and it was still a good 1/4in or more off vertically where it was aimed.

The camera calibration was only introduced a few years later.

It made a huge difference for me.

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Perhaps run the lid camera calibration.


A) set focus manually with measured dimensions is different than using the set focus feature under the 3 dots menu - have you tried that? It’s used to both help the camera deliver an accurate view and tell the machine where to focus the laser. You don’t enter dimensions, they’re measured by the head.

B) by jig I meant cutting a sheet of material with exact fit holes to fit your final material, then replacing the hole with your final material. As long as you do not move the sheet with the hole or the artwork on your screen the alignment will be perfect - this ignores the camera entirely. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “jigged to the middle”. There’s a lot of discussion about using jigs in the forum - just use the search and see if one of the methods mentioned appeals to you.


The function of autofocus is to have the app best try and display the bed for a small segment of where the focused pint was. What is the intent for using calipers? To best view the bed and align the print of to best bing the material height for settings?

Yup, that will happen. The grid option is a good alternative if you do not want to depend on the GF trying to portray a view but instead bypass it any use the machines true coordinates.

Is this a self driven requirement? It is recommended for any machine to not hold fault with the machine if a test run of the print was not conducted.

You do not have to waste material. I am confident your issue would be from how you view the machine should operate as opposed to how it is intending.

Most users see the concept of it being user error as a simple sport to derail from the issue. However, if you are open to better understandi the machine and get on its level, then:

  1. Find large sheet of material and place it in the bed at the needed height
  2. Set focus in the lower left corner
  3. Engrave a small square on the lower left corner of the bed
  4. Do not open the lid or change the placement of the small square after the print completed
  5. Set focus in the top right
  6. keep in mind how the lower left design does not look like it would line up to the original printed square but print it anyways
  7. notice how the machine printed in the exact same spot but never showed a lining up that would support that

Camera calibration really helps if you are wanting to use the function of the GF app displaying designs to line up. However, as mentioned, you can bypass that with a grid.

Hopefully this helps!

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