Is it a feature or a pain

A lot of my work entails several or more files to be cut one after the other. The other day I began with the first series of seven Vector files input as PDF’s.

The Flow

Placed material on to the bed and set the camera to the GF symbol. Switched on GF. Once calibration was done I got the material image and placed the artwork. Ran the cut. Opened lid and placed second material on bed. Got back to my desk and the material image is on screen. Placed second image file for cut and the original bed image vanished. It did not update until I manually did a refresh. Now my job is out of alignment. So had to realign and then press start.

Each successive job did the same thing. This is not a big deal but does slow down the workflow having to keep telling the GF to rescan then have to refit the graphic.

Another issue was the camera does not scan the whole material which caused a lot of time lost placing the my files so that the No Artwork would go away. I was loosing two inches of upper work space which I needed for file placement.

Will we ever be able to see the complete bed image??

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So, while you’re waiting for the real tech support people I’ve got a couple of questions for you.

  1. Why are you aligning the print head to the camera every time? Is it something that once worked and you’ve done it since or does your GF truly not calibrate without doing this? If the latter you might want to put a separate ticket in since that isn’t “good behavior” for your GF. It should only be an occasional fix.
  2. Do you exit to the home screen before opening the GF and placing the new material on the crumb tray? If not, why not? There is a good argument to make for not going back to home first, so that you can ensure your cuts went all the way through. You can just cut again as long as you don’t move the material or exit the GFUI (assuming you’ve moved your artwork around before hitting print).
  3. The “print job” finishing should trigger a cool-down/calibration. I generally listen for the fans to spin down and “shave and a haircut” before opening the lid: IF this is the point you’re having to realign the laser to the camera you might just be opening the GF lid too soon. There was a thread on that a few days ago.
  4. Make sure your material is selected before you waste time aligning your graphics. Selecting a material will force the GFUI to update the image of the bed/crumb tray.This leads us to:
  5. As @chris1 has shown, if you use a 19.5 x 11 inch page size/art board (anything 5:3 ratio really) your graphics will position properly on the bed per the file you load. No adjustments really necessary at that point other than getting your material in place and selecting the material type in the GFUI. Please note that the 19.5 x 11 applies only to cuts. If you have engraves you get less of the bed space to work with at least for now.

Another thing to remember is that the GFUI software is still in beta, and there have been a few times that it’s felt more like alpha testing but the GF team always seems to get the oopses resolved within a day.

The bad days are generally synced to the nights I really want to turn on the GF and do something :smiley: I still wouldn’t trade the GF back though.

Good luck.


Could you post a screen shot of the whole GFUI, that shows the effect (the part bed image) as it is at the moment on your screen?

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Thanks for the replies. I guess that I’ll just put up with all the UI and GF quirks that keep showing up and forever changing. I would have thought that after two years development this machine and SW would be further along.

At this point I’ll just keep to myself and not bother asking any more questions and hope that soon the team will get the imaging working correctly to display the entire bed and not having to do workarounds.

Its just not worth anymore of my time. I think that the HW is very nice but the UI and especially the imaging aspect needs a lot of effort to make it work per advertised.

Thanks again…

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You might want to keep letting the GF team know what kind of improvements you’d like to see, but that’s your call.

Check out the Tips and Tricks section of the forum.

I would usually agree with what your saying about keeping the GF team up to date. However, The vast majority of posters get the answer of good idea we will put it in the hopper. That’s been going on for many months with what seems to be little done that we know of. This laser is fundamentally based on vision for alignment etc. I like the concept and is what made me purchase the Pro over other good cutters on the market. Unfortunately, the vision part seems to be the weakest link.

I purchased the machine to do precise cutting of complex designs. I do not do engraving nor make trinkets and the like. So I need placement accuracy and speed of setup. So far the cuts are accurate and I’m fine with that. What concerns me is the vision side is not that great and is quite slow when doing a lot of different setups. I experimented with just doing an image scan then another couple without moving or even touching the hardware. Every scan is slightly offset from the last. Yet I can setup a digital camera and do the same with each image being identical in positioning. So why is that happening on the GF?? Why does the camera not see the entire working bed?? How the heck will they ever get pass through alignment working??

The other day I was trying to position an 11x 15" vector file on my material. It took a lot of messing using the arrow keys to finally get the GF to recognize that I had artwork. Yet my material was 11.5 x 20" This seemed to happen more after they had improved image scan updates times. I suspect that they are trying to minimize the data that gets uploaded to the cloud and hence provides a slight improvement in speed.

One day this machine may be awesome… I hope so. My take is that they should have provided both cloud and local control of the machine. Its starting to look like Apple and or MicroSoft that they are really pushing the proprietary materials from the online shop. Just think how fast the GF would update if it was directly connected on your own network. The vision side would be almost instant. Maybe they need to have a visual reference indicator permanently placed in the bed to get alignment from.

Anyhow its no point in me wanting the thing to work sooner than later when most users seem happy enough to do work arounds. I guess that I’ll just have to join the club…


I hear that your understanding of the replies on this so far were pushing back on your concerns. That is unfortunate. I think your concerns are quite valid.

I think there are a lot of folks here who are trying to clarify what is not working for you and attempting to share ways of working around the current limitations. Given that we can’t get the fixes immediately, figuring out the best workarounds helps all of us. Someday things will be better and the workarounds won’t be needed, but that day is not now.

For example, I am currently experimenting with manual indexing of long designs in the pass through slot. It it works out, I’ll be making a tutorial.

I think @hansepe’s #5 comment may help your workflow. If you can gauge where a design will be cut relative to the bed, you may be able to just place material, load design, enter settings and print, completely bypassing the vision side of things. My understanding was that it is best to use a 12x20 file for this absolute positioning, but i don’t know for sure.

Your use case is one that I’m sure Glowforge needs to support well. I think your input, both good and bad, is quite valuable for them. I hope you keep posting.


I am in the same boat but we seem to be a minority here.

That seems odd. Are you saying each time you refresh the bed image it moves? I can’t see why that would be without moving the lid or the material. The view will change if you change the material thickness or if the GFUI forgets it.

No they showed what actually gets uploaded before the conversion from fish eye to rectilinear here: How We Troubleshoot That includes all the bed so I don’t know why they crop the top off when they show it in the GFUI.

Hasn’t that been a long standing bug they’ve reported to us? The longer the machine is on, the worse the alignment gets. They tell us to turn it off and on again to restore the (generally poor) original alignment.

All the motion is relative due to sending waveforms. Any error in position due to a motor skipping a step or perhaps a bug in the motion plan that doesn’t leave the head exactly where it started will not be seen or corrected until it homes again. I think that is a different issue to the picture shifting each time it is snapped. I can’t see how that could happen.

Not really, but the tool isn’t ready for all of the uses we (me too) want it for. We can either work with and adapt to the tool we have or not.

There are people doing some really interesting things within the current limits of the machine.

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Or adapt the tool to do what we want instead of relying on the nebulous cloud. It seems easy enough to install ones own firmware.

I just don’t have the time to try hack this out anything else at the moment. I can’t wait to see you get your GF since you’ve got a lot of ideas about what can be done and the experience to perhaps do some improvements yourself


That is right at the current limit of the height supported by the GF for cuts and it may be reduced a hair (some folks have measured it at 10.875").

The way to make sure the GF has all the info it needs to create the correct “no go zone” indication is to load your project, then set the height (either manually or via the PG sticker), then set the operations. Once it has the operation info including tyoe & speed it will be able to calculate the true boundary limits. Only then should you worry about precision placement of your project on the bed/material view.

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I have had much better luck combining multiple objects into one file in Illustrator, with each object a different color (for vectors) or bitmap image (they’re all separate objects to the GFUI). Then I turn on/off a set of objects and send a job to the Glowforge to print. Then turn off the printed objects and turn on the next set to print. Since they’re all in one file, they align. Loading multiple files into the GFUI and aligning them is imprecise because it’s visual, but if they’re all in one file they align perfectly, even with material changes, etc.


How is this going for you now?

If you’re still having trouble, would you give us a little more detail, please? It helps to know what you did, what you expected, and what happened at each step, as well as the date and time of a print that didn’t go as well as you wanted.

With that in hand, we’ll be able to better investigate. Thanks!

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It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email