Is the red laser dot supposed to land a bit off to the right when setting focus on a material? And why wont my glowforge focus?

Hi there,

I have not used my Glowforge in maybe 2 years now since I’ve had to deal with a lot of changes in my life but now I want to get back into it,

I don’t remember much of the machine but what I noticed is that when I set focus the red laser lands somewhat to the right of the material and I get a message saying “Material didn’t measure. The material was not measured correctly. It may be too short or too tall.” Even though the thickness of the material does fall under the minimum and maximum height for the laser to engrave. Any ideas?

make sure the lenses on the lid are all clean. mine got dirty and that is what made me check them.


Welcome back. The focus will be off to the side a bit. The focusing is something you can practice very easily without wasting material and will give you a feel for where the focus will occur. What I did was take ordinary printer paper and tape it to the crumb tray. I drew various small circles for reference and targeting and then set about focusing on those targets. I played with zooming in and out and eventually became familiar and comfortable with where the red dot would land.


Will try that and keep you updated, thank you!

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Thank you for your insight! I found it to be helpful and will update on this post as soon as I start my first engrave or cut

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You are most welcome. If any of us here can be of any other assistance, feel free to reach out.

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There are two small windows on either side of the lens, one has the red laser and a white illumination LED, the other window has a camera for detecting the laser dot during focus, or the illuminated cut/score during passthru process & score during the camera calibration process.

If the red beam shone straight down, the camera would not be able to see it.


There have been several improvements in the past two years.
After running the Calibration routine I have usually used the Set Focus several times till it quits moving about if an accurate location is at all critical.

By using Set Focus you get to decide where the measurement is made, as if it misses it will give the wrong location so several tries double checks.


While doing an initial Set Focus, I’ve found the head can significantly overshoot to the right, where I’ve told it to go. Has to do with how the image depth is out of focus initially from the default focus point. Once I see where the laser light actually lands/focus is set too, doing it a second time can get me to where I want the point to hit.


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