Need Proofgrade for accurate alignment results?

I keep seeing this response from support that seems to imply we will get more accurate alignment results with PG materials than we can get with other materials. Is this really the case or should you actually say:


Seems reasonable to me.

Better luck cutting/engraving may come with using Proofgrade, but I can’t imagine how having Proofgrade would make alignment any better.


While I see and fully recognize the difference, I doubt it will impact the majority of lay persons and anyone…who knows and is interested enough to catch the difference will probably be smart enough to parse these correctly dispite the suggested syntax of steps though since they are bullet points and not numbered steps they are just as easily(and ought to be) read as various options to diagnose issues.


I have to disagree. The lay person will come away with the impression that Proofgrade is necessary to make the Forge work right.


Uh-oh. We disagree in the internet…uhm…
{Insert random ad hominid and emotional hurling of insults at various institutions}


It seems like the implication is both mild and accurate for the median case. That is, for most folks, alignment will be best with Proofgrade since it also is more likely (for most) to be of uniform thickness and flatness.

Whether any mostly natural material can stay sufficiently uniform and flat for optical placement to have the precision people expect is another question. Being pessimistic by nature, I think not. Best to be hoped for here is “good enough” for quick and simple design placement with sufficient material waste to cover the difference.

And along with known safe-for-laser ingredients, the Proofgrade brand is intended to simplify lasering for folks who don’t want to bother with the details of how or why. Proofgrade’s reason for being and market niche is precisely to allow short and simple answers for questions like this.

And yes, that means that there will be an implied preference for Proofgrade materials in most official help as well as the function of the machine. As long as they don’t try to lock it down to disallow non-official a la Da Vinci 3D printers, I’m ok with it being implied that it’s “better together” with official materials. Hopefully it’ll even be true.


I am not since I won’t have access to them at practical costs. I want a machine that works well with any laserable materials. I don’t see any reason why PG should be more accurate in alignment unless the software treats it differently. I want reassurance that is not the case when the message implies it might be and the message changed to not imply it.

The support response goes on to say it should be flat, etc and we know PG can warp just the same as other sheet materials. There shouldn’t be any difference in accuracy for the same flatness as long as the material thickness is entered accurately. In fact, an actual measurement should be more accurate than the one derived from the barcode unless every sheet has a unique one and they are all individually measured.

Since the machine has an accurate height measuring device I would hope it would eventually use it to get the view accurate. Seems mad to have to measure it myself only for it to measure it again for focus. It actually seems that it needs to be more accurate for the camera view than it does for focus.




I agree Proofgrade is great in several ways. I just object to them claiming it gives better results for alignment alone. False.


Understandable, but at the same time, I don’t think that sufficient reassurance is possible on this. I expect that the goal of Proofgrade runs counter to this anxiety both in terms of utility as well as business model.

I don’t understand what you are saying. Do you think it is right to claim PG gives better alignment if it actually doesn’t because it is better business?

Yes. And on this one I think it will give better alignment often enough and for enough customers that it does give better alignment.

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How does it give better alignment?

Because for the non-palmercr use cases it is more likely to be uniform thickness and flatness. And for now, more accurately measured since, as you pointed out, the device doesn’t measure the material for the view. So for anybody without calipers, more accurate.

I admit, in the palmercr use case it isn’t more likely to give better alignment, but I expect that use case to be in the minority of uses of the device.


There have been many reports of warped Proofgrade. People also report getting very flat non-Proofgrade Baltic Birch.

Perhaps it should be:

  • Use Proofgrade materials or enter the measured thickness of the material if it’s not Proofgrade

Because yes if you enter the nominal thickness of material stated on the label it won’t be accurate at all. PG’s barcode will yield a more accurate thickness but I doubt as accurate as actually measuring it yourself with calipers.



Use non-warped material (Proofgrade or non-Proofgrade)…

It goes on to say it should be flat. The full quote is:

It is the first two lines I have issue with.

Yes. Alignment should be correct if the materials thickness is entered correctly and the material is flat.

The statement that it will be best on proofgrade is an attempt at an up-sell.

I’m a bit concerned we have to enter height at all. Perhaps autofocus isn’t going to work as advertised.

There are two other things that could assist in alignment in the short term they haven’t implemented yet either, the mythical head camera, and the red laser. Even if the red laser isn’t Coaxial with the CO2 laser, it could still be used to determine a point, or origin.


They currently use the red laser and the head camera to make a single height measurement for auto focus, but that is done after you have placed your design and pressed print.