More precise?

I am on a robotics team and we need very accurate cuts, both dimensionally and where we put them on the sheet in the preview. We came to a point where the size and layout were not quite to where we needed them to be. After contacting Glowforge, they sent over a lot of helpful tips, including the calibration tool. Ultimately, it really didn’t make a difference.

I have seen how accurate the Glowforge is in relation to what it has already cut in yhe same path, so I know the precision is there.

Ultimately what im asking is: is there any (allowed) way to use other software and just send raw data to the Glowforge untill the proprietary software is a little better?


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What exactly seems to be the problem?

Examples may help:
I.e. I’m trying to cut a 50mm rectangle that is coming out at 46.2mm, or I need my sheet laid out exactly like this, etc.


No, you have to go through the GFUI but I think you will understand when I say, if you have precision, you can get accuracy.

You need things consistent? Lock down the crumb tray (tool for that here on the forums), find and mark your true 0,0 and you are good to go.
I get sub mm work doing this all the time.


Honestly, you should probably look into finding a machine shop or purchasing a hobbiest CNC mill / CNC router if you want to make 0.001" accurate robotics parts. A laser cutter doesn’t seem like the best choice for robotics work, both a router and mill would also be capable of accurately milling aluminum and other metals along with wood.

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:man_shrugging:t2: @anticzcom has had pretty good success.

Tough to say without knowing exactly what’s needed, but it should be able to be done.

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Not sure why this was a reply to me, the photos seems arbitrary. Anyway, with a mill/router you would also be capable of making the metal parts in those photos!

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We cut extremely accurate parts in delrin all the time and add mechanically accurate (.1mm placement) to existing parts all the time. Just use a cardboard jig if you need to add features to existing parts.


:arrow_up: That’s why.

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0.1 mm is not 0.03 mm, but alas it still doesn’t answer the question why it was a reply to me. A mill/router is generally cheaper for a work area of similar size to a GF, similarly complex to use, and can handle more material types.

@jbmanning5 :man_shrugging:

I routinely let a group of robotics kids age 12-17 operate a glowforge without supervision. They know if I happen to peak in on them and they aren’t following the safety contract they’ll lose access to the machine. There’s no way I’d let them operate any cnc mill without supervision.

Also fyi, I was responding to this thread, not to you directly.


I’d be just as comfortable letting a group of 12-17 year olds operate any machine similar to an X-Carve, Shapeoko Nomad, or Carvey as I would a Glowforge. Would I allow them to operate a 4’x8’ plasma table, router table, or laser table? Definitely not. The smaller machines can all easily be put in an enclosure.

Also, I was trying to find a way to cross-link the post to jbmanning :arrow_up: post, they need thread merging in discourse :smile:

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You’d be amazed at how many tools/end mills you can burn through with a group of teens running a mill unsupervised. The level of complexity/setup between a laser cutter and a mill aren’t even close when dealing with students. It’s not that I’m concerned with safety (enclosure) it’s that if a student makes a mistake with the setup/power on a lasercutter, they lose a little material. Make a mistake on a mill and you lose a tool or worse.

Also, we don’t need .03mm accuracy for the parts they are fabricating (I’m talking about adding new holes/slots on a piece that already exists). Adding a feature at that accuracy to an existing part on a hobby mill would be non trivial for even an experienced operator. Now give that job to a 12 year coder that’s used the mill 3 times in the past year because all the mechanics are busy with the build and he/she are the only one available. Any part small enough to need that kind of accuracy would just be recut to save time. Most parts are fairly large brackets or plates that’ll have more deflection than that once they are mounted anyway.


This is how the kids on the team I run add features to existing parts:

  1. Place a piece of cardboard in the machine and fasten it down with a bunch of hold down pins.
  2. Load the design and cut out just the outer perimeter of the piece from the cardboard
  3. Remove the inner cardboard cutout and replace it with your piece (be careful not to move the outer cardboard).
  4. Without moving the design in the interface (it may not look aligned when you refocus the depth, don’t worry about that) run the cut for the features you want to add.

Hope this helps.


I checked the logs, and I see you’ve not yet had success with the camera recalibrator. Would you try once more, please, with very close attention to steps 2 and 4 here: – I think that will make a big difference in your success.

Then, once you’ve recalibrated, use Set Focus (making sure the red laser lands on the surface you’re going to be printing on) before making final placement adjustments

I am going to close this topic out. If you’re having problems after trying the above steps, please let us know the time and date of a print that didn’t come out the way you wanted. We’re happy to investigate more.

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