Laser arm keeps coming off track, glowforge support is silent

Let me preface this by saying some of my terminology might not be ‘correct’. I was hoping to have this handled privately with Glowforge but I have contacted them via email, via support request, and via chat request, and still have not gotten my issue resolved.

Wednesday evening I went to clean the crumb tray on my glowforge and I used a dry cloth to remove some debris from the lid. When I returned the tray, (I did not knock anything,) the machine started making an awful noise when I turned on the power. During the ‘warm up’, the noises were not the normal noises. They were strained and louder. The arm of the laser wasn’t able to move the way it normal does - the movement was not smooth, it was jerking and then the arm came off the track on the right side. It doesn’t ‘fall’ I guess because there’s not far for it to go, but it comes off the track and lands on the tray. It’s scaring me because I’m terrified that the tube is going to break.

I initially searched the forums and found where users had had similar issues and Glowforge reps had replied with somewhat generic directions of how to recalibrate the machine. We tried following those directions - using the metal frame of the tube to gently maneuver the arm on the track. It doesn’t feel like anything is in the way. I looked for debris, but found none. I checked the belts, they are both similarly wound, the tension feels the same. I didn’t notice any missing teeth on the belts either. I tried to look about the machine, but I honestly don’t know what I would be looking for. Nothing appears out of the ordinary. And the bar isn’t hitting the tray either, it is centered correctly. The wheels don’t appear to be damaged, I saw that was another common issue. Nothing that I can see appears to be damaged/blocked/out of place.

Can someone please assist me? I received one reply from a Glowforge rep, with the same generic description from the forum, that we had tried, and tried that again but the issue remains. I’m feeling pretty hopeless - I’ve seen nothing but negative comments about the timeliness/helpfulness of glowforge support. And that they only reply via email. Which I have tried.

Thank you in advance for any help.


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I would examine the wheels on the tracks closely…check for cracks or something stuck in them. (Turn the machine off, and gently move the laser arm forward and back by hand…you might be able to feel where the issue is hitting.)

If you see anything amiss, take a picture and post it here, or send that to Glowforge support on your email chain…that will get them the information faster so they can determine what comes next.


Thank you SO much Jules. It’s 1:00 AM where I am, but I’ll do that in the morning. I appreciate the feedback. You might just be a lifesaver.


If you have everything on track and with the machine off push the gantry back against the rear wall at each end. It should make it square. Then lightly pull the gantry forward and check for resistance. On the left side there is a place where the wires of the gantry pass close to an obstruction and have been known to catch at that point.

While most of the head is high, the outlet for the head fan is a half inch above the crumb tray and I have had hold-down pins be barely above that half inch. Not realizing it there were several cuts where the head-fan missed it but that once had me learn to doublecheck the alignment against the back. :slightly_smiling_face:


Remove the tray again. Open the front door and look into the machine while you gently move the carriage arm forward and back. Is the movement smooth? Can you see any wires that may be catching on something? Move the printhead back and forth feeling for resistance. If everything looks ok and feels ok, leave the honeycomb tray out and turn the machine on. If it centers and homes ok, return the honeycomb tray - but make sure you don’t have any debris in the floor of the Glowforge or in the indentations for the feet of the honeycomb tray.


Keep in mind that glowforge is very unique in that they actually facilitates public support tickets. Most companies would not do that. For every complaint you get to publicly see on this P&S thread, I would wonder how many you would be missing if you compared to a company that just basically has a black box that you send support tickets to.

Welcome to the glowforge community! There are a lot of great support here and they can also assist with getting your machine back on track. One of mine is currently not on track and so I feel your pain. IMO, these machines actually are designed well to make sure it is recoverable if it goes off track. Have you been able to get yours back on track? Where did it get stuck at?


Hi @bowbowbykyle. I sincerely apologize for the delayed response, and saw you were trying to work with my colleague, Faryar, through email previously. I’ll be happy to continue with any needed troubleshooting to help you get this resolved since I know how important it is for you to be able print again.

Since you have already tried the steps to reset the laser arm, and is continuing to to have trouble as it moves up and down the printer bed during prints. I saw you mentioned checking the belts, wheels, and any potential debris that could be causing this. It doesn’t look like we have received any photos of the printer yet to help troubleshoot this, and wanted to see if you could take photos of the sides of the laser arm like the reference image below:

This will help me see if there may be any other troubleshooting that can be done since that may lead to the fastest resolution. If we are not able to see any other potential causes, we may need to move on to replace the printer, but wanted to get that last check to help. I appreciate your time working with me on this, and will make sure you are taken care of. Thank you. ​

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Our dear @Jules is a Glowforge wizard with magical powers.

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