Thanks for the replies, everyone! There’s a lot good advice in this topic already, so I’ll be echoing some of what others have already said.
The maximum printable area on your Glowforge is approximately 11" x 19.5”, and it’s reduced somewhat when the laser operates at high speed, as it can take space for the laser to decelerate. As for alignment of your prints, the Glowforge software is responsible for ensuring that the print lands on the material in the same place as the preview. Most alignment problems come from the material being closer or farther from the camera than expected. When you open your Workspace in the Glowforge app, the camera on the lid of your Glowforge uses a wide angle lens to take a photo of the entire bed. The software then uses the height of the material to correct the image so the image you see matches what’s in the bed.
The software is still improving, and you may see an alignment offset of up to 1/4". Right now, you can take these steps for the most accurate alignment results:
- Use Proofgrade™ materials.
- If you don’t use Proofgrade materials, use a precision set of calipers to measure your material, and enter the thickness in the “uncertified materials” dialog.
- Use material that is not warped or tilted.
- Place your design near the center of the bed.
- Clean the area underneath your crumb tray, particularly the four indentations on the floor.
- Reboot the machine. Alignment can drift over time, particularly if you bump the head of your Glowforge while removing material.
Should you finish all of these steps, and find that you have an alignment error of more than 1/4", we’d like to have you try a few troubleshooting steps for us:
- Turn off your Glowforge.
- Check for small pieces of debris or dust.
- Check the lower door to make sure it closes all the way. It may require some force to open, but open it, wipe any dust off the edges, and close it all the way.
- Remove the tray and clean any dust or debris from the surface underneath. Pay careful attention to remove all debris from the four dimples where the tray rests.
- Check the lid to make sure it closes all the way. Small particles of material, such as dust or debris, can prevent it from closing completely.
- Check the surface your Glowforge is on to make sure it’s flat. Ensure it is not twisted slightly and that there is no debris propping up one side of the machine.
- Turn your Glowforge back on.
- We included an extra piece of Proofgrade Draftboard with your materials shipment for troubleshooting. Place the Proofgrade Draftboard in the center of the bed and print the Gift of Good Measure using the default settings.
- When the print finishes, leave the lid closed and wait until the fans stop and the picture updates. Without moving your artwork or your material, take a screenshot of the Workspace to show us the difference between the artwork placement and the actual print placement. Make sure to include the rulers in your screenshot and show as much of the bed as possible.
- 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 type “snipping tool”. Open the Snipping Tool > New then click and drag a box around your image. Click the Save icon and name and save your file.
- Reply with the screenshot along with the date and time of the print, and we’ll investigate.