Losing alignment

So I’ve been running my glowforges pretty steady for the last few days burning designs on wooden spoons, I have a basic and a pro. The pro has never given me any trouble but I have had alignment issues and stuck on centering issues with the basic in the past. New cable seemed to fix that before.
Now what is happening is that every once in a while the basic drops the design about a half inch to the left. It will make 50 designs right or a 100 right but suddenly it burns one a half inch off, then it will stay on the wrong alignment until I restart it.
Has anyone had this issue? More cable problems?

As you can see the oiled spoons are centered where I want them and the goofs are all dropped about the same amount. I never get a warning or error, it thinks it’s doing it right.


You need to use a jig to align on irregular surfaces.

You are not getting what I am saying. The image still shows aligned on my screen but burns somewhere else. I am using a jig that puts the file directly under the camera. I do these singly so that I can align perfectly because the camera is kind of garbage on these surfaces if it’s not directly under.


If you have surfaces of tapering thickness, the camera will be hopelessly off, except directly below it. Using a single camera, the error introduced by varying thicknesses will be significant

Yes I agree, that’s why my jig puts a single spoon directly under the camera. That is not the issue here.

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The issue is that my camera will align perfectly for awhile then suddenly start burning offset. If I restart the machine it will recenter itself and be fine for awhile again.

Yeah that is weird. I haven’t heard of that scenario yet. I hope they sort this out quickly for you.

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I’m so sorry to hear that you’re running into trouble.

I’ve extracted the the log files from your Glowforge to review your most recent prints, and compare it with the details you’ve provided. Based on your description, it sounds as if the alignment drifts over time, and requires you to reboot in order to resolve the alignment trouble. Is this correct?

Also, could you send me some screenshots that show the alignment drifting over time by doing the following:

  1. We included an extra piece of Draftboard in your starter materials shipment for troubleshooting. Please place it in the bed and open the Gift of Good measure.
  2. Set the Score and Cut steps to ignore and just print the Engrave step of the design.
  3. Without moving the design or the material, take a screenshot of the Workspace that includes the design, the print, and the rulers in the app.
  • 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 search for the 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.
  1. Set the Engrave step to ignore, then set the next two steps to Score and print the design.
  2. Repeat step 3.
  3. Set the Score steps to ignore, and set the last two steps to Cut and print the design.
  4. Repeat step 3.
  5. Send me all three screenshots.

I can try that when I get home from my day job, the problem is that it will likely work perfectly fine on the test. It doesn’t drift most of the time, just once in a while. Today my wife has been using it some and it hasn’t had any problems. Yesterday it did only 1 time and I probably did 50 to 100 print jobs.

I will make a note of the time and take some pictures the next time it happens so you can see what I mean.

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Just did it again for my wife just as I got home, pics coming soon

So that is the one it suddenly goofed on in the second pic. The first pic is the next one after I shut off and restarted the laser. No setting changes no browser refresh.
It was going fine for 6 or so engraves then did the offset at 6:35

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All of the laser’s movements are relative: it only “zeroes” itself once when you turn the power on, and after that it has to assume it knows where it is based on how it has previously moved. So if, for example, you were to bump the laser head, everything it did from that point on would be offset until you restart the machine. This is easy to do when taking material in and out.

Even if you don’t bump it, it could get misaligned in some other way: for example, if it hit something, or if there were a piece of debris on the rails, or if the belt slipped, or if the motor skipped steps. Any errors introduced will be cumulative until the machine is reset – from your description of the problem, it sounds like this one of these things is happening.

My guess is, if you’re sure you aren’t bumping it and it never hits anything, that one of your belts could be loose. Here are the official instructions for that:

I would scroll all the way down to checking the tension first, because this is a lot of fiddly adjustment you don’t want to do if you don’t actually have a loose belt.

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I’ll take a look at the sideways movement belt, it’s always that way that moves alignment. I was thinking signal interruption to that motor but never thought of the belt yet…

Ok, I’m the same person on my wife’s account. It won’t let me post more for 12hrs on my account it says.
The belt tension looks good, there’s nothing it could be hitting and it’s not getting bumped. The belts look in good shape to me.

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That was 50 minutes of solid use between goofs. Probably 10 to 15 designs engraved in between.

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When I restarted this time it made a gdgdgddg noise as it started to try to move to center and ended up an inch left of center after the first movement. It did adjust then and get finished with centering but that motor cogging noise is what it does when it loses alignment also. I normally can’t hear it so that because the other laser is running so I don’t notice until it has ruined another design.

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Thank you for sending over all of these details, and reviewing the belts on your Glowforge. When you have a moment, could you please follow the instructions here for removing your Carriage Plate, and send over a photo similar to the one below?:

I’d like to check the wheels on your Glowforge’s Carriage Plate to ensure they are not snagging while printing.