Glowforge won't focus on right side of machine

The other night I started getting a yellow light when I sent files to the machine. The print head would get stuck trying to focus, the light would turn yellow, and I’d have to shut down my machine and try again. After a ton of trial and error, I realized that the error is only happening when I send the head to focus on the right half of the machine.

I put in a ticket with support and they said my logs are showing that my printer head is not consistently communicating with the Glowforge. After going through their troubleshooting steps, their solution was to offer a refurbished machine, but that still shuts me down for the holiday rush which is distressing.

Just here to ask you all if you can think of anything to try in an effort to patch this for the next few weeks. Is there a way to bypass the ‘focus’ step when I hit print? I don’t even use the autofocus, I put in the material thickness manually, but it still always sends the print head to focus/center regardless.

You have had your machine a while, so this is new behavior, right?
Strange, Support has probably had you do it, but I would try thoroughly cleaning the contacts the head communicates with, the spring pins on the carriage, and the associated pads on the head.

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You can’t bypass the focus step unfortunately. Could you possibly avoid the right half the bed for now?

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Yeah I’ve been running it pretty hard for more than 2 years now so I’m not surprised something is breaking down. Just distressing this close to Christmas. Support had me take pictures of the pins, the belts, the printer head, all that stuff. The only troubleshooting thing they offered me after the pictures was unclipping and reseating the ribbon cable that attaches to the chip inside the leftside panel. I did that and it started causing the machine to have intermittent issues on the initial centering calibration when I power up. When I reported that result I got hit with:

“Unfortunately, after reviewing all of the information and logs, your Glowforge has an issue that we won’t be able to resolve remotely and will require the replacement of your printer. What I’d like to do is send you a refurbished replacement discounted to what the repair to your printer would cost. The replacement will come with a 90-day worry free guarantee.”

I did do a deep cleaning before contacting support, including the spring pins. I suspect an internal failure I can’t see.

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Yeah that’s been my current workaround to get out the outstanding orders I have pending, obviously not sustainable but it’ll get the job done. Was just hoping there was something I could do to skip paying for the refurb but it is looking like that’s the best course at this point.

I’m guessing that somewhere along that cable there’s a failure - you can scan for a break or a worn hole and then patch it with tape for the short term. That “inconsistent communication” is more than just the focusing - all the instructions on how to run a job are run through that same cable.

If avoiding the right won’t last, you could see if there are other users or a maker space you could borrow laser time from…

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