Improper cutting

The laser is cutting a super wide kerf and not cutting through the material. I get an error message every time I try to set focus.
I have cleaned everything and all the lenses and mirrors are spotless and in correctly

Welcome to the forum.
You are experiencing focusing issues. Check to make sure that your lens is properly inserted (cup side up). It looks like you are using non Proofgrade material. What thickness is the material and are you entering a height or using auto focus?


Exactly what @dklgood said.

Additionally, are you seeing where the red light is hitting when you set focus? Is it hitting on the materials and the material is at the correct height.

When you set focus your machine goes and shines the red light and gets a reading. If the value is out of range or corrupt, you get the message you are getting. This happens a lot of the lenses are not clean and correctly in place.

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Common Pickles, fess-up.
You had the lens in upside-down… didn’t you? Just kidding. We have all made silly mistakes. Welcome to the forum! You are among many who have done the same.

Ok, ok. it’s possible you have a different problem. Hopefully not.

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I’m sorry for the trouble with your Glowforge and that the kerf is wider than expected. It looks like you’ve already received some great information from our other community member. Thanks folks!

Based on what I can see in the logs, your Glowforge may be having a hard time when measuring the material height due to the head not being completely flat on the carriage plate. On the bottom of the print head, there are 4 magnets which line up with 4 magnets on the carriage plate. Please check the bottom of the head and the plate in these areas and let us know if you find anything that could cause the head to sit at a slight angle.

In addition to doing the above, I’d like to also check your unit’s optics for anything unusual. Please send photos of all your optical components, with special attention to any damage you might find:

  • Both windows

    • The printer head window, on the left hand side of the printer head

    • The laser window on the inside left of the Glowforge

  • The printer head lens

    • Both sides of the lens, top and bottom

  • The mirror inside the printer head

  • The bottom of the printer head with the lens installed

Once we have those pictures, we’ll follow up with next steps.

It seems to be a problem with the ‘set focus’
When I use it I get an error message that the material can not be measured. However if I skip ‘set focus’ and just print things seem to be ok.
Is the lens supposed to move up and down inside the print head? Where should it correctly sit when placing it in after cleaning? It seems to move around quite a bit.
Also the camera alignment is off by a lot after the last cleaning? Is there a calibration for the overhead camera for more accurate positioning?
I remember doing something like that when I first set up. It helped a lot. It took about 30 minutes and was done on draft board and made a grid of a hundred or so glowforge logos then measured each one. Is that still a thing??


The lens does move up and down in the printhead. After you remove it for cleaning, it will click back in the proper place. Cleaning the machine should not change the camera alignment as the camera is fixed in place in the lid. Here is the program to redo the alignment should you wish.

This may or may not be the correct answer, but it makes sense.

This is very possibly a result of how the systems works: by using set focus, you’re telling the machine to go look and measure the height (or more accurately, the distance from the head to the material). It then uses that to set the lens position. If this step is failing (as support mentioned above), it’s letting you know.

If you don’t use set focus, the machine will still go out and try to read it before the job starts, but if the reading fails, it will silently default back to whatever is entered into the material height field (either a number you entered in uncertified material, or whatever is programmed if you’re picking a Proofgrade setting). The caveat to that is if you specify a separate manual focus value that differs from the material height field.

With that in mind, what material are you using, how thick is it? And, how are you setting up the cut? Using Proofgrade settings? Entering thickness into the system for uncertified material? Or… ?

Also, they mentioned it doesn’t seem the head is sitting correctly. That could definitely cause issues.

Thank you for the additional information. What you’ve described about Set Focus not working correctly matches what I’m seeing in your unit’s logs.

Regarding recalibrating your lid camera, you can use the Camera Recalibrator to try and improve the accuracy of the preview you see in the app. The process will only make changes if it can make your camera more accurate; otherwise, it will exit without any changes.

The Camera Recalibrator can only complete successfully if your Glowforge is able to accurately measure the height of the material, so I recommend troubleshooting the issue with Set Focus before trying the recalibration.

Did you happen to have a moment to check for anything that could prevent your print head from sitting flat on the carriage plate? Also, it may help for our team to inspect the bottom of your print head and the carriage plate to check for anything unusual. Please share a photo of the bottom of your print head. then, Remove your carriage plate and send us a photo of your carriage plate similar to this one:

Please let us know what you find!​


I am having these same exact issues. Since January 1, I have not been able to cut acrylic without it burning it. I have tried several settings. I have torn apart and cleaned every nook and cranny on this machine trying to fix the issue. My set focus does not work, or it works once in a blue moon. It is quite aggravating when the machine is telling you to shut it off and refresh the screen and you do it a hundred times (exaggerating) to have nothing get better. I have jobs to complete and I cannot get them accomplished. I am going to look at everything written here again.

Support no longer monitors this thread, so you will need to email Glowforge Support to get your issued properly addressed.

We’ve recently announced that we’re switching the “Problems & Support” section of our forum to “Community Support”. Since you started this thread to have a conversation with our support team, I’ll be reaching out to you very soon via email so that you can continue to work with our support team directly.