Piss Poor Passthrough

Had my first experience using the passthrough. After watching hours of you tube videos and reading as many articles I could find here I gave it a shot. Lets just say that I am NOT impressed. I have attached photos of my results. For a machine that is billed as plug and play it really doesn’t make it that easy. The reason I chose the pro is because of the passthrough. After reading more on the forums I see that they have failed to meet expectations quite a bit.

So far this thing is more of a glorified paperweight.

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Ahh, the paperweight comment. I’m sure since you’ve read so much that you’re aware that you’re not the first to say so.

There are ways to get alignment much better than what you’ve seen, but yes, it’s not plug and play (yet?)

That being said, I can assure you that it’s not a paperweight, and I’m a little confused why you would even need to pass this through since it’s a design that fits on one sheet of material… just do it in one piece?

If you want to get less paperweighty with your machine, ask away, we can probably assist you in achieving your goals, but yes there is a learning curve and there’s no way around that.


Last I checked the machine cant cut 15x24 in a single sheet. If you know of a way to do that please do let me know.

My frustration stems from the machine not doing what it was advertised to do. This is the icing on the cake for me. I havent had the GF once recognize the Proograde material I put in it. Not the biggest deal but an issue none the less. Every batch of PG I’ve received has had at least one, if not more, warped sheets. The PH settings have failed to cut PG material on multiple occasions.

The fact that in all my reading about the Passthrough having issues is from years ago led me to beleive that the issue was resol6and the machine would function as advertised.

Another issue I have is that just now am I able to post, after having the machine for about a month. The fact that I had to wait to join the community conversations is another frustrating thing. Before today I wasnt able to post or ask questions. A little late. The damage is done. More money down the drain on materials after spending $6k on a machine that’s lackluster.

For what I intended to use the machine for its failing miserably. I shouldn’t have to make a jig or build an entire table to do the things it said it would do out of the box. Learning curve, sure but this is getting ridiculous.

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Technically we’re all still waiting for the passthrough software to be made available. It’s something you can kinda-sorta make use of with various hacks and workarounds, but we’re still waiting for Glowforge to deliver on the original promise.

Once we actually get it, then we can judge whether it’s poor or not.


Ahh I thought that was the standard size of material, not the passthrough size. Carry on then.

For someone who’s only had their machine for a month, I’d say you got pretty good results on your first Passthrough project. Those small misalignments can be sanded flat (and the edges colored with a Sharpie marker), and you’ll never see them.

They haven’t released the Passthrough alignment software yet, so we are having to do a little extra prep work at the moment. Having had the chance to test the Snapmarks I can reassure you, once they do, those little misalignments will go away. :slightly_smiling_face:

You said you watched videos about it…did you also read the written tutorials that explain the steps you need to take? Sometimes those cover a point or two that get glossed over in videos…mainly the parts about having to lock down the tray and make sure that the material is pressed tightly against the edge of the tray at all times. Looks like yours might have gotten just slightly out of square when you were feeding it in. (Trimming any overlapping masking along the edge is a good idea before feeding it in. It’s enough to cause skew.)

Anyway…try reading one of the tutorials and try again. It’s not necessary to build a feeder table. :smile:

Using the Passthrough with Adobe Illustrator

Using the Passthrough with Inkscape


This is a super friendly and helpful community, but human nature being what it is, you’ll likely get a much more helpful response if you share what’s happening and ask for advice, rather than just posting a bunch of angry comments. I tend not to volunteer my time and energy to helping angry people, mostly because I don’t like getting yelled at for things that aren’t my fault. (Especially since I can go to work and get PAID for that, rather than doing it for free on my days off!) :wink:


I actually read those that you posted and applied all that I learned and still had crap results. While the outcome is workable, it’s barely so. My frustration comes from the fact that nothing is 100%. Some people have certain things work while others have other things work. Having to shell out money for trial and error wasnt part of the advertisement for the machine. If there was a 100% viable workaround I would go with it. As I stated above the fact that they are literally years since launch and delivery of the first models and still dont have a product that is as advertised tells me that they have bitten off more than they can chew and over promised and under delivered. They have a small group of people who have Snapmarks and everyone else gets to struggle. Doesnt seem fair at all. If they have a workable version of something, even if its newly perfect and beta, seems like it should be available to everyone who has the product.

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I’m not angry, I’m frustrated. I wasn’t yelling at anyone. Simply expressing my frustration that a product I paid a significant amount of money for doesnt work as advertised. I’m not quite sure why so many people are ok with that. Never once was I told that any of the features that were advertised wouldnt be available once I got the machine. That is, until I got the machine home and set it up and tried to do things. That’s pretty shitty if you ask me. But I guess if others have thousands to spend on stuff that doesnt do what they bought it to do good for them. I’m not someone who has that kind of extra money. The “oh, that’s just the way it is” mentality isnt something I do.


That’s not what I’m trying to advocate. You don’t have to be a doormat; but a “let’s make the best of the situation we’re in” mentality is definitely a healthier way to approach things than anger and frustration. The only person you hurt with the latter is you. (Sorry, psych NP can’t help but be a psych NP!) People are already doing amazing things with the passthrough even though the passthrough software isn’t finished yet, and you can, too. :slight_smile: I don’t have one myself, but I know of a lot of users here who do, and who tend to bend over backwards to help others be successful.


I understand where you’re coming from and you are correct. The issue arises from the fact that there is no steadfast go around for the issue I’m having. As I stated above there are things that work for some and there are things that work for others. I have tried multiple things to ensure that I got a good cut and they all failed. That’s where my frustration lies. I don’t mind using workarounds if there is one that works 100% of the time. I don’t have the time or finances to try a bunch of stuff that doesn’t work.

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I recommend practicing on inexpensive material like mat board or cardboard a few times to get the process down. Make sure you are using the boots to lock the tray, and the honeycomb pins to keep the material flat, and make sure you have run the Calibration on the machine.

It’s pretty normal to run a few bad tests when you’re learning a new process. Try to do them on something inexpensive…it helps big time. :slightly_smiling_face:


Everything is relative. Compared to machines for ten times the price, folks here have posted unbelievable work on the first day, while folk with other machines are still working on their college level engineering degree so they can accomplish anything.

That said nothing is magical, You can get perfect cutting and alignment but not without knowledge and planning.

The first thing is to make sure that your calibration is both done and very accurate, you can re-mask a sheet and redo if it is not perfect. Then you need to use the focus tool keeping in mind that it will be the most accurate where you pick, so pick where the lines have to join. When joining try to have as many places vertical as possible even if you end up with two six inch high cuts. Such places are far easier than a 10 degree angle as a half millimeter off will matter less.

Make both of your shapes in different colors and four quarter inch squares in a perfect rectangle of a third color and cut them first. before cutting more put a headless bed pin in the top two holes and cut the top part of the design. Then leaving the pins in place put the lower holes over them, This will keep the rotational alignment and left right alignment perfect.

At this point you can reset the focus and using only the up and down arrows (with shift for bigger jumps)bring the design into alignment. You can even have a couple of sacrificial squares outside the design but near the divide line so both can be scored to test for accuracy.

If you do all this and still cannot get it aligned then there are issues beyond the scope of machine or forum to help.

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Keep in mind what others have done with the same equipment on their first day.


I certainly can sympathize with you for getting a Pro and paying the premium for it to be able to use the pass through. I didn’t get a Pro but I thought that cutting 1/2" material would be easy flipping over with camera registration. It is possible but it has been a long march to get to this point and it is still easier with jigs rather than camera registration.

The 1/4" limitation of the pass through and no automagic registration as you shove it through is a big challenge. I have tried it and understand the challenge.

That said, work-arounds are possible to get accuracy. It takes longer and you have to work on some registration system, either visual or physical.

Not sure if you are familiar with other lasers or not, but there are so many aspects of the Glowforge that make it easier to use than so many other machines out there. Just the facdt that the focus is automatic or at least controlled in software is huge. Many entry level lasers use physical measurement to get the focus correct and you have to go through a complicated routine for different thicknesses of material.

That said, if you bought it with the assumption that you could just stick a long piece of material in and have a design slice it up perfectly, it might fall short of expectations for sure.


This is super flawed logic. That’s to say that because someone else Was able to do something that the issue doesn’t exist. So if I have two working legs I should be able to run as fast as Usain Bolt? We have the same legs, even the same stride length. That’s ridiculous and you know it. The fact is that I was sold a machine that was promised as plug and play and that isn’t what was delivered. Sure there are go arounds but none of them are bulletproof and work 100% of the time for 100% of the people. otherwise this issue wouldn’t exist. This thread is the perfect example of that. There have been a few different suggestions as to how to “fix” the problem and they are different from one another. So now I’m stuck with a “smart” machine that I will have to waste time and materials to figure out. Not what I signed up for.

This video may help if you haven’t seen it before.


You must have missed my post before that. By your analogy considering the machine as legs you and Usain Bolt would have the same actual legs, however if you are considering mental ability as legs you might have a point.

I laid out a procedure that could produce perfect results if you used reasonable attention and care. I have a pro with the pass through and buy my plywood at 19x48 inch sheets as I get five of them per 4x8 foot start and cut designs that use two or three feet of them at a time. I plan so I can have a bit of error and keep it parallel to the right side of the crumb tray and have not needed the pin trick, but will if needed.


Just curious: is there current (i.e., within the last couple months, since you ordered your Glowforge) advertising from Glowforge claiming the pass through works automatically? I thought they removed that from everything until they complete the software.


The Glowforge Pro prints truly enormous objects like furniture with the exclusive Pro Passthrough, allowing you to use infinitely long materials. Upgraded solid-state cooling allows nonstop printing all day long. It offers all the capabilities of the Plus and Basic, and a double warranty. Class 4 laser product; place near a window for ventilation.

That doesn’t explicitly say either way.

  • Pro Passthrough slot allows the use of material that’s up to 1/4″ (6.3mm) high, up to 20” (50.8cm) wide, and as long as desired
  • Upgraded solid state thermoelectric cooling

This one also doesn’t really say anything and auto-alignment