How do pass-through and flip-over registration on the pro interact?

I’m considering upgrading to the pro. Does anyone know how pass-through and flip-over registration interact? Let’s say I want to feed a 3/8" thick piece of wood measuring 18" x 60", cutting a continuous design all the way through the thickness of the piece?

There can only be speculation from the community on this one. I would bet that the ability to cut from one side then flip and continue the cut from the other side would not work with any material that you also wanted to use the continuous engrave (pass thru engrave) capability. However we do know that the slot is officially intended to only handle 1/4" material even though it is 3/8" high. You would need some wiggle room to actually feed the material smoothly.

edit: I should also state that the Glowforge is advertised as being able to handle 1/4" material of various types. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t cut through 3/8" of some materials and only 1/8" of others.


There would need to be software consideration to make both features work together. And as @rpegg points out, the passthrough is limited to 1/4" material.

I cannot think of any material which is 1/4" thick that would require cutting from both sides to penetrate. So you would need to pitch your reasons for needing the Flip&Feed to the software team at Glowforge in order to have them consider it worth development time to integrate the functions.

At the full “possible” 3/8" thickness of the passthrough, I am still uncertain that you would absolutely require a double sided cut for anything. Though I imagine there may be edge finishing reasons why someone may want the feature anyway.


Ah yes. I keep forgetting that 1/4" is the official pass-through limit. But you’re right, the question may still be relevant if the particular material involved would require a flip for a full cut. I could also envision projects where back-to-front alignment would be required for non-through engraving. Not that I’m going to make an 18x60 PCB, but that same kind of idea, where traces/marks may be different on both sides but still require alignment relative to each other.

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What I’m wondering is if you dropped registration points on the piece if it would be able to reference using those. If it can ‘recognize’ visual features or cues to determine what shape/position the piece to cut is, it could potentially take into account those registration points as well. If that’s the case, it makes dealing with these situations a lot easier.

If I wanted to vector cut 3/8 in wood, is it possible that by using full power and slower cut I could avoid having to turn it over and reregister?

I’m thinking that besides power, focus is the limiting issue.
make an "X with your fingers, the point where they cross is the focus. The beam converges to a focus and then diverges.
If you could lower the focus enough, it should be able to cut further.
That’s just my understanding.

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That’s what I am thinking, too…and I’m guessing that there are at least 2 possible limitations:

  1. The physical focal depth limit; the distance at which the laser beam can physically be focused to on any particular model

  2. The kerf width from the previous cut(s) may be too narrow at some point to permit the laser from focusing at the lower depth for the next cut? I.E. the outside of the laser beam will be blocked by the insides of the kerf and not be able to focus low enough any more…

I am a total newb, though, and these are just guesses…I could be 100% wrong on both counts…


The focus issue is also a power issue.

The more focused the beam is, the more power at that point. So the more spread it is, the less power at any point.

If the beam diverges enough that even at 100% power you cannot vaporize the material in question, then you cannot cut any further without being able to move the focus.

There are finish reasons to want to have certain lower than 100% power levels used. And the angle on the side of the material or larger kerf and material loss may be factors as well. But for specification of cut depth limits, I believe it is typically an issue of beam divergence and resulting loss of power concentration.


I think I will soon get an education regarding “finish reasons” you mention.:no_mouth:

I’m old school, used to transferring my artwork to the material’s surface by varied means, so even if the cut wasn’t through, it would give me an easy guide for the scroll saw perfectly printed on the surface.
Thinking I’m going to find this tool much more versatile than I expected.


@takitus, I’m wondering about this too! I bought the pro and am wondering how well things will line up when I move things through. I’m hoping I can put three or four registration dots on my workpiece (in the scrap area) and use the camera to select them as I pass the material through (or select the straight edge of my material and a known point on something that has been engraved our printed already). I wouldn’t need this to be exact right away (I could even live with doing it manually by rotating the image so long as I could see the image, workpiece, and a portion of the image that has been engraved). Any updates on this @dan? Or did I miss them somewhere? I searched the topics and couldn’t find anything. I now the Pro and pass-through are kind of back burner things but wondering if there was any information that I may have missed!

No updates yet; we’ll post them here when that changes!