How We Troubleshoot


How We Troubleshoot

Using your Glowforge should be a delightful experience. You should be able to drag your design into place, add material, and click print for beautiful results every time. You should never hit a snag. But if you do, we’ll get you back to creating amazing things as quickly as possible.

Some of you have asked to learn more about how we solve problems for customers. Here’s some of what we do to research and solve problems as quickly and efficiently as we can, as well as some small things you can do that will get you back to printing even faster.

We look in lots of places to see what might have gone awry

Our first step is to gather information about your Glowforge and, if relevant, the print that gave you trouble. Information that we gather about your Glowforge and any designs that you have uploaded is treated as confidential and used only for diagnostic and troubleshooting purposes. Complete information about how we use and protect your data can be found in our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Machine information

Your Glowforge gathers information about what it’s doing when it encounters a problem and sends it to us so we can help you. For example, we can tell if your unit has ever connected successfully to Wi-Fi. If your unit has a temperature error, we can tell that too. We can also examine engineering details about the details of how an issue occurred – and that’s often the ticket to understanding whether your unit has a hardware issue that we have to repair, a problem that a stronger Wi-Fi connection will solve, or something else entirely.

How you can help

  • Let us know what happened and what you expected to have happen
  • If you saw an error message or your machine behaved in a way that’s unexpected, describe what you saw
  • If there is something unusual on screen, like an error, send us a screenshot or email us a photo of it
  • If there’s something unusual on your machine, send us a photo or a video of it

Design Files

If you were able to upload your file, we can do some research to extract it and examine it for problems. Once it’s been printed, we can also examine the actual data sent to your Glowforge.

How you can help

  • Let us know the date and time of your file upload or your print so that we can identify the specific file extract and examine it for potential problems.
  • If your file didn’t upload, email or post your file so that we can examine it.

Print Data

Our troubleshooting tools let us know whether your print finished as expected, or whether it was cancelled. If it was cancelled, we might see an error message, like an indication that your fan isn’t working properly. We can also research our logs of what actions you took before the print, such as resizing or copying designs, to help us see where things may have gone awry.

Also, your lid camera takes two pictures as part of every print job, both a ‘before’ picture before the print starts, and an ‘after’ picture when the cooldown process completes after your print.’

These images are normally transformed and used in the interface to help you see your design. When you contact us for help, though, we may extract the raw, wide-angle images to assist in diagnosing your problem. Images like this help us understand the state of your unit and the material before and after the print. This lets us explore whether the material is too far to one side, for example, or if it shifted during a print.

These pictures, obviously, don’t tell us a complete story. We can’t see if cuts went all the way through, and we can’t tell what engraves look like once the masking is pulled away.

How you can help

  • Let your Glowforge finish the cooldown cycle before you open the lid; otherwise we will not get the post-print photo. The cooldown cycle should typically take less than a minute or two.
  • A wide variety of problems can crop up from material that doesn’t work well with your Glowforge. If your problem occurred on non-Proofgrade material, try re-printing it on the extra piece of Draftboard we sent (or any other Proofgrade material) to see if it still happens.
  • Photos of your print are very helpful. For example, photos of the top and underside of a print that didn’t cut well, or a photo with the masking removed if your engrave wasn’t satisfying.
  • If your print turned out differently than it appeared on the preview before you started, for example if the cut was more than ¼” offset from the preview, a screenshot of the Glowforge app showing your completed project is very useful. To take a screenshot:
    ** Mac: Press Shift-Command-4 and click and drag a box around your image. You’ll find the screenshot file saved on your desktop.
  • Windows: Click on the Start Menu and search for the Snipping Tool. Open the Snipping Tool > New then click and drag a box around your image.
  • Make sure to include the rulers in your screenshot and show as much of the bed as possible.
  • Try printing something small with a variety of straight and curved lines, engravings, and other features on a piece of Proofgrade material. We recommend the Gift of Good Measure keyring, which you’ll find free on your dashboard. Tell us if you see the problem with that print.

Trying it ourselves

For some problems, the customer success team may need to reproduce your machine’s actions in-house. In this case, we extract the data from the print and repeat the printing process confidentially in our office. When we’re done, we destroy the results, since we have a confidential obligation to you regarding the information you send to us. This is very time consuming and requires us to take special confidentiality precautions, so we don’t do it often, but it is useful in some troubleshooting cases.

The Bottom Line
Our full-time job is making sure you’re delighted with every print you make. We’ll scour every nook and cranny to figure out the problem, and do whatever we can to make it right. We want you to know about our tools and how we work to serve you better.

We hope you never have to call us, but if you do, we hope this helps you understand more about what we do to help!

Starting point for my cut is WAY OFF
Camera doesn't see entire bed
Maybe I'm being obtuse, but something seems off here
Prints are starting 1/2" offset
Is it a feature or a pain
Discussion of August 2018 Update
Chess set squares do not fit in the board

Great write up!

Crap. I am so guilty. :grimacing:


Pin? :slightly_smiling_face:


At some point I expect we’ll move that forward to the start of the cooldown cycle, but for the time being, it’s an extra good reason to not interrupt it.


I don’t follow?


Sorry, should have checked first…it is pinned. :slightly_smiling_face:


Ditto! Never occurred there was a diagnostic reason to be patient at that point. :flushed:


Me 3. :flushed:


Note to self… Wear pants while opening the GF. :dizzy_face:

Camera Musings

:slight_smile: It doesn’t take pictures when the lid’s open. (And when it takes pictures, the lights on the lid flash, so you’d know!)

Escutcheon ME
Camera Musings

I knew I had an amazing machine - but just WOW!


Thanks for the peek behind the curtain! It’s helpful to know what info you need to troubleshoot and why! We certainly appreciate all your hard work behind the scenes!!


Wear clothes when Glowforge is Hot…
[/] Check !

I don’t use our tablet much, but the wife is always grumbling at it because of the problems trying to do stuff she knows it should be able to.

Life should be one size fits all, but the reality is tablets, phones, laptops, and computers are all in their own niche regarding how things work and viewing ease.

This is not to say any device used is right or wrong, so put away the pitchfork, but it does give anyone looking at a reported problem a better chance of seeing it (which is the first step to fixing it).

TL DR: Just my opinion, but if not using a tower computer for the UI, it may speed things up if this is noted in the complaint.


That’s not a thing. There’s a word for that. Check the forums for posts by @ju… oh. oops. :wink:


Whew! :flushed:


I wouldn’t relax too much just yet…I’ve had camera flashes a couple of times when I opened too soon.
(I do hope they’re enjoying those shots. Talk about skewing the data!) :joy:


Thank you so much! This was incredibly informative, well written, and all-inclusive of questions that we might have. There is much more going on there than I might have thought.


Me too. Not all the time…but many.


But (hypothetically of course) if one were to find some way of running the GF with the door open (or maybe they have a PRO with a pass through, one could slide a note to the staff under the camera just before the picture is snapped eh? :smile:

Most all Windows machines have a keyboard with a PrtScn key that will allow one-button screen captures :slight_smile: (Which actually had its roots in the PrtScn key on the old IBM 3270 green screen terminals…for a bit of ancient computing trivia. Similar to the goofy Function Keys that still populate keyboards despite the migration of software to soft buttons vs configured keyboard physical keys…back in the 90s for goodness sakes.)


Good post, if for no other reason than to feel like the GF team is present and to help us know what you are doing on your end. The gaps in interaction have made it hard to feel like you guys are true partners in making this work. Please keep it up! :+1: