How do you reopen the app window?

I can’t find any way to reopen the app window. If I accidentally close it and go back to, I see the list of projects (which I basically never use*). I want to reopen the view of the Glowforge with the current cutting file(s) and progress. There are several reasons that I want to do this:

  1. I’m cutting a series with the exact same settings and alignment. I don’t want to have to start over each time.

  2. I have a two-phase design. For example, I cut a piece of acrylic out of a larger piece, paint the cut piece (with acrylic paint, of course), allow it to dry, then cut it again. I am currently doing that and, if I don’t leave the browser window open while the paint is drying, I can’t get the phase 1 and phase 2 cuts aligned. I have a bunch of projects like this.

Related points

  1. Why can’t I position things numerically? If I could do that, I could recreate the state by jotting down the numeric position, then realign the design later to the same numeric position. And that would let me mix projects instead of having to let my GF sit (turned on) while paint is drying. You know what they say about watching paint dry :slight_smile:

  2. Why doesn’t the crumb tray have a grid painted on it? Boy, that would make alignment a lot easier.

[* You might ask why I don’t use the list of projects. Well, almost every time, I am customizing settings. Since I can’t tell what settings have been customized until I open a project, I find it easier to just start from scratch every time. Then I don’t accidentally cut something wrong.]

It only opens from the project files. If you aren’t interested in storing them, you can just use the same one each time. :slight_smile:

There was a time where they were saving the last set up, so it showed up every time you reopened the app. But that seems to have disappeared… not sure if intentional change on that.

To your related point 1: it’s an optical system, based on a camera–if you wanted a numerical system, loads of others on the market are based on x/y.
2. As for a grid, it’s an optical device, and grid lines may confuse things for folks trying to scan an image to print. But no reason you can’t add some for yourself. (or set up a jig or magnets/pins for key alignment points)…

This isn’t true. I drag in an svg file any time I want to do something and it opens immediately. I do not need to open any existing project file. I have gotten inconsistent results when deleting everything shown and dragging a new svg file into the Glowforge window, so I no longer do that (I believe they had bugs that got fixed but apparently there is a new “block object” bug, so I’m sticking with the way I do it).

Intentional or not, I can’t find a way to do it. Hoping @glowforge will show up and answer the question.

It’s not an optical system. It’s a digital system with a camera. It can’t be an optical system — the stepper motors know nothing about the camera, they use digital coordinates. When you drag something in or move it around, it positions it at an (x, y) position. They’re just not telling us the (x, y) position or giving us a way to enter it. They could add that capability without getting rid of the camera. Right now, because I can’t go back to the set up I had, and I can’t enter an (x, y) position, I have to leave my Glowforge turned on overnight and I have to leave my browser tab open too. I would like it to be better than this. Just because I like my Glowforge doesn’t mean that I can’t want it to be better.

There are actually a ton of lines inside the crumb tray already — they make all those diamonds. They don’t interfere with the scanning at all. Making some of the lines in the crumb tray make up a grid, or adding colored lines would be really helpful. While I can add lines myself, I can’t be as accurate as they could be in the factory.

I’m not sure I understand …if you drag a completely new file onto an opened file in the interface (and I do that quite a bit), and then exit out of the interface page, the last configuration of the file is saved under the name of whatever file was opened when you did the dragging.

So I’ll frequently start out with one part of a more complex file opened…like the one that says Box Lid…but when I’m done with the session it might have been deleted and replaced with the Box Side or Front. (Or both, or they might all still be in there. I like to drag and drop the parts into the open file.)

I keep all parts files separate on my computer so if I wish to start over, I have to drag the original back onto the Dashboard and let it open fresh.

But if I need to go back to the Box Side and Front that I saved under the Box Lid title when it was opened, it’s still there…only now it’s called Box Lid.

If you want to keep a separate clean copy of the original resident on the Dashboard, you can right click on the carat in the corner before opening from the Dashboard and choose “Make a Copy”. That gives you a copy to play with, and a copy that won’t be touched. And they display the most recent file you were working on in the first position, so it’s easy to find, no matter what it wound up being called.

If you don’t move the backing material on the bed (just leave it in there, preferably pinned into place so it doesn’t shift since you’re using it as a jig), then the reopened file should still align for your next process. As long as you do not shift either the material on the bed or the image on the screen. (Do not try to realign it against the cutouts…it won’t work.)

You will want to put the Phase One and Phase Two cuts into the same file, just make them different color strokes. Then set one to Ignore and one to Cut. Switch them out for the next phase of the project, but only change the status in the thumbnail column.

Did that help?


Which creates and opens a project file. So technically, it IS true. :slight_smile:

I understand it completely. I’m an experienced software developer and occasional user experience consultant. I’m not new to lasers either. I’m not asking for help understanding how it works. Your description is exactly the problem with the project system. You import a file, then do some things, then exit, and the “project” contains some (but not all) of the changes you made. This is not a good thing. Having a “project” named Box Lid that doesn’t contain your box lid is weird. Your workaround for poor design is that I should clutter up the project space even more with similarly named items. Nope. My workaround is to ignore it completely (and I doubt that will change unless they radically overhaul how projects work). I wish there was a way to autodelete items after I’ve used them, just to reduce clutter.

Yes, I know this. Of course, I have pinned my material in place with strong magnets.

But the reopened file is never in the right place. What you’re saying is that I can enter an (x, y) position provided it is for my entire svg file, not my artwork, and it is (0, 0). Like any color as long as it’s black. The reopened file is never in the right place because I have always had to position it on the bed to match my material. I can’t tell where (0, 0) is on the crumb tray, so I always have to position the artwork to match the actual material, which I center under the camera so that I can get the best view and alignment.

How did you think I was doing this? It’s the only way to do it. But it currently means leaving my Glowforge turned on, sometimes overnight, and leaving my browser window open. I’d like to reopen the session later instead and there doesn’t appear to be a way to do that. Does anybody actually know the answer to that question? (I’m serious about this, I’m responding mainly so that if/when the Glowforge folks show up, they won’t think that my actual question has been answered.)

Nope. What am I missing in this forum? I posted a pretty clear question. Nobody has provided an answer. One person postulated that it used to be a feature that they took away. I don’t think it was ever a feature. People have told me things I already know and given me advice on how to do things that I don’t want to do. Should I have posted just the question with no additional information so people wouldn’t get distracted?

I don’t think the problem is that we’re not answering your question. The problem is that it doesn’t work the way you want it to. We’re telling you the way it works.

If you close the window and reopen it, whatever you were last working on is going to show up as the most recent project. Open that, and you’ll be back where you left off. The screen will show whatever files you last loaded, and will update to show the current bed view.

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Hi Roy,

Yes, the stepper motors function by x & y, but the user interface is based on the camera (“drag and drop live camera preview” per the advertising text), not on coordinate system where you do have to enter x & y start/stop points. Try fiddling with your lid, and you’ll find out it affects where the laser actually cuts/etches vs. the artwork in the GFUI (loads of issues w/ misalignment of artwork vs. actual laser work, in part due to lid position). And yes, likely they could add true coordinate positioning, but that wasn’t the point of the GF system. Like HTML programming vs. WYSISWYG website editing. Both approaches have pro/cons, latter is so you don’t need to know programming to use it.
(I’m sure one of the GF programmers can better explain it–this is just my understanding of how the system is described and my 8 mnths experience with mine).

The honeycomb is all black–not colored lines, so basically invisible to the camera so your material shows up in contrast (as well as a matte/non reflective finish to prevent any beam issues). Even if white or colored grid wasn’t an issue, the "factory set"method is useless since the crumb tray is shipped separately from the unit & is removable, and accuracy of position cannot be controlled in user setting.

So we all have to rig something the works for us when we’re doing repeat positioning jobs…

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If there is a way to reopen the app window, the one showing the Glowforge bed and any design in progress, I can’t find it. The last time I did what you are suggesting (reopen the last “project”), all the settings and alignment were lost, so it did not restore the state. Perhaps they have fixed that, but I don’t really want to test it while my paint is drying and then be royally screwed. And there are current reports about “black objects” appearing, too. I would like not to run into them.

(sigh) Yup, I know they don’t have (x,y) positioning. You’re saying that adding it would defeat the point of the GF system. That doesn’t make sense. Adding advanced functionality doesn’t have to mean you lose other functionality.

And, yup, the honeycomb looks like it is designed to look like a single color to the camera, but it’s not actually invisible — you can see it clearly in the camera view. But, more importantly, it’s not invisible to me! If there was a grid (more importantly, a grid the laser can see or verify) then positioning could be guaranteed. Imagine there’s a function in which the laser scans the bed to determine where (0, 0) should be, and that spot is marked in a way that is visible to both us and to the laser. That’s an example of the sort of smarts that nobody is doing and that I expect GlowForge to do eventually (but I want them to do it sooner).

What you are calling the “app window” is actually the window you see when you open a project – the one that shows the bed inside your Glowforge, and whatever files you’ve opened, like this:

But that’s actually a project window. This is the app window, the one you get when you go to

If you close your browser, you can get back to the last SVG you dragged into the window by opening the top left-most project in that window, and any changes you had made up to the time you closed the browser will still be there.

The “black objects” bug isn’t scary at all; you can just reload the window or drag in another file (which you can then delete) and the black objects go away.

It wouldn’t defeat the point of the GF system, it would just be an entirely different system. GF is a camera-based system, not a coordinate-based system. You’re asking for it to be a different machine. :wink:

I think it used to open in your most recent project. That was really confusing to new users (I was one of them) who therefore assumed that was the home screen and didn’t realize that when you opened a design from the catalog it was actually opening in a different project than when you uploaded your own files. So then we’d delete the catalog files to load the next files we wanted to work with, and later when we wanted to use the catalog file again, we’d open it up only to find our old files there and not the catalog files, and we clogged support with endless complaints about how our catalog files were disappearing, when the problem really was that we weren’t using the interface correctly.

So it wasn’t actually a “feature;” it was a badly designed user flow that they corrected, thereby making it less confusing for users and freeing up support to help people with actual problems.

Technically, it’s all the app window (they’re all at I should have been more precise in my question but I would have called the directory/project page either the “home page” or the “project directory” and I would have called the page with the camera view to be the “app window” or the “Glowforge view” or something like that.

Including alignment and changes to individual item settings? That didn’t used to be the case. When I’m not in the middle of a project (I literally have painted objects drying in my garage), I can check on that. Too skeptical right now, but I hope you’re right.

If it did that, it must have been before I got my unit. I don’t think that is fundamentally confusing, but I agree it would be confusing given current implementation. When I’m in the middle of a job (whatever that window is called), there is no indication of context, name of file that I opened or project, or whatever. When Microsoft Word reopens the document you were working on, it’s not confusing because you have context.

I’m asking for a better machine. The camera is great, though the GF is not the only laser with a camera. I’m asking for it to be both easy to use and powerful. As it is, they are sacrificing power in favor of ease of use. As someone who has done lots of UX work over the years, I know that is a tradeoff that is not necessary.

I predict that they will provide this at some point and they will also clean up the clunky UI for manual overrides. I think they will do these things because this isn’t a $1000 hobbyist machine. It’s a $2500-7000 machine, and many people who can pay that much want more control. Cutting from a hand drawing is an awesome demo but people who are using it for hours a day want precision, repeatability, and control.

To be clear, I am really happy with my Glowforge. Great investment. I’ve recommended it to others. But it could be better.

For some reason, this is probably one of the most confusing threads I’ve seen here.

Whatever you want to call things, tomato / tomahto. You have a home screen which is directory of designs. Then you have a UI/job screen.

The home screen contains all of the designs you’ve uploaded. It creates a file. Think of it like a word document. That file opens into the UI, where you can drag and move, assign cut settings etc. Every single step/change you make is recorded to that file and it’s nearly instantly updated (the auto save function). You can watch from the developer function of chrome and see it constantly saving the design settings.

If you exit out of that screen - close the window, go back to the home screen, etc. all of that job info is saved. If it’s not, it’s likely you have some kind of plugin or network configuration, something blocking it from saving the settings.

From the home screen, if you open back up the design that you exited out of, it will be saved in the exact state that you left it.

If you want a grid system, I would print off a set of the crumbtray rulers and you can coordinate off of those very easily.

For some reason, a lot of people have a workflow where they upload a design, that opens in the UI, they delete components out, then use add artwork to add new stuff. And then are confused that things are missing from their original design. Or they open a random design, delete it all and use Add artwork to upload what they want to work on. The files are in a persistent state of auto save - so it will overwrite the original file that you opened. You can see how often this happens by the number of people asking for catalog files to be restored to original.

Unless you have something in your browser or network config blocking the auto save from functioning properly, you can exit as often as you want, turn the machine off and on, whatever… and the file will be saved in the state it was at.

I do this all the time, I work on 4-5 different files that are in various stages of done. I’ll cut 4-5 puzzle backings, glue them up, wait for drying, open the files back, stick them back in the machine, open the correct file, and finish the cutting process.


Ahhhhh…that might be why you’re unaware of the slew of Upgrades that have happened. They announce the Improvements in the Announcement panel to the right on the Dashboard (Home Screen/Directory) page. The Autosave was implemented roughly back in late December or early January. (IIRC).

If you want to read about all of the changes that you might have missed, you can catch up on them here: Glowforge Latest Improvements

So you shouldn’t have to leave the machine on overnight anymore. It might have been necessary when you first received your production unit, but it hasn’t been necessary for months.

You can test it without wasting any material, just open a file - make a visible change to it like duplicating a part or shifting something on the screen so that it is very noticeable…then click on the Glowforge bug to go back to the Dashboard. Reopen that file from the Dashboard and your changes should be there.

We’re trying to post a solution to your issues, although it may not be the particular solution you
want. The request for numeric positioning has been in the hopper for a couple of years, it was hashed out very thoroughly while the machine was being built. They chose to go a different route with it initially, and use the camera that was part of the original specifications. (They may decide to add it later, or they may not, but we don’t know…they don’t tell us ahead of time. :smile:)

But in the interim, there are a lot easier ways to do things. And they will no doubt add your requests to the hopper for future ideas. :wink:

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Maybe just me and my workflow… but numeric positioning doesn’t seem like it would do a lot. XY coordinates relate to a plane just above the crumbtray - not the crumbtray itself. It is fairly consistent with the crumbtray but if you remove it and put it back in, it’s subject to change.


Since they opted to not use it up front, I try to avoid the topic now. There are a lot of people coming over from the CNC side of things that are used to it, and not comfortable with anything else yet, and it tends to spark very heated arguments.

(Which does absolutely no good, since they opted not to use it.) It’s a very circular thing really. :wink: