Left side prints "deeper" than the right side

Several times now, when I print or cutout something on my Glowforge, the left side of the table does great but when the laser goes to the right side of the cutout or print, it is lighter or doesn’t completely cut through the material. What causes this? How can I fix it?

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Welcome to the forum.

There are a few things that could contribute to this problem. Your Glowforge might not be level. Your Glowforge optics may need to be cleaned. Pay special attention to the window on the inside left of the machine and the window on the left side of the printhead. Your honeycomb tray may not be seated properly.

How old is the machine? Is this a new problem?


That window under the left side is almost universally the cause of that problem. The slightest amount of stuff on that window will blur the beam very slightly, but the effect will be much less when the head is close than when it is farther away. Hence the beam is strong on the left and weak on the right.

I had that effect and when I looked I could not see a thing wrong, but when whiped with a lens wipe it was very slightly brown and after that the problem was gone.


I have had the machine for over 2 years but due to family circumstances, we didn’t start using it until just the holiday season.

Thank you! I will give that a try

If you truly just unboxed it for the first time, this can be shipping or moving damage. Dropping the box hard in the right direction can knock a mirror in the laser arm out of alignment such that the beam is no longer pointing straight at the print head. As the print head moves further from the window on the left side where the laser beam is coming towards it from, less and less of the mis-aimed beam is making it into the window on the side of the print head, so less heat reaches your material when the head is over to the right. This mirror is not user-accessible, so such damage needs to be reported while the machine is still under warranty.

But this is just one possibility. It can be something simpler, like a crumb tray not sitting flat because it’s not pulled forward enough where its feet sit in the dimples for them on the bottom of the case. Or debris under the feet, making it sit at an angle. Or debris on the crumb tray, putting your wood at an angle. Or the wood not being entirely in the honeycomb portion of the tray, so it’s sitting at an angle with one of its sides up on the lip of the tray. Any of that would put the laser beam out of focus over part of the material, which will make it less effective at cutting.


So would replacing the print head possibly solve this?

No, it would definitely not

The window you are looking for is off to the print head’s left under the machine’s side part. It is very easy to miss, but in most cases that is the issue.

If the machine was bounced around in shipping and the aim of the laser thrown off, then it will miss the window in the head and laser the side of the head! Even by just a little bit it may not be easily noticeable as in this case…

(green arrow)

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