I have previously had alignment issues on both non proof grade materials and proof grade materials. I realized today that some other laser engravers have a red laser preview feature.
My idea for a possible solution to better aid in the alignment of non proof grade materials and to increase the amount of usable material per sheet of proof grade materials is to have a boundary confirmation option available with glowforge premium.
This feature could be used to trace(with the lower power focusing laser) the actual outline of any give engraving or cut. In combination with the live bed preview feature already available. This combination would create a more reliable way to align any item.
The current boundary tool could be used as a starting place in programming the path to trace with the low power laser.
There is already this! Just set the power to one and you have a “low powered laser” that will barely make a mark but can identify where the greater power will fall.
Run the Calibration and use set focus before aligning the image and then make use of precision placement and those numbers will rule no matter what the view shows you. Done right and making sure Set Focus falls where you intend and you can have mm wide scrap as well. I often use set focus several times till it stops making a difference.
I would add that there is no “live preview bed” feature. Every time you get an image update it gets sent up to the cloud before being sent to your browser. To do any sort of live preview would increase the processing on their servers exponentially. If only they allowed you to access the camera locally on your own network, that would open up a whole lot of other possibilities. But not likely to happen.
It would be kinda cool if there was a way to run a design with just the red dot laser on, and the camera set to a long exposure, so the result would be a red glowy preview of the entire cut… I don’t really know of a use case where this would help me, just that it could produce a cool image.
To run the camera with the red dot coming from the laser-head you would need a transparent laser-head. This goes for all the live image stuff that one forgets that the laser-head is in the way of the camera
So, the way it works, as far as I know on other systems (the ones I have), is that the red dot is a separate laser that follows the same pathway as the co2 laser, which then exits the head in the same location as the co2 laser (straight down). Some others may have a different configuration - not sure.
But where that comes to be a problem on the Glowforge system is that the red laser is on the bottom of the head, and projects outwards, not where the beam is hitting the material. I am pretty sure that they don’t have an exacting standard for where this beam hits - part of the reason that the set focus area is fairly large.
So when you “outlined” the job, it would actually be offset from the beam actually is. It would also be in slightly different locations depending on how thick the material is (or, more precisely, how far the material surface is from the head), by design. This is how it reads the height - some trigonometry based on where the red dot falls.
Do you mask your material? If have a “trick” to know exactly where my engrave/cuts are going to land but this only works when you mask your material
Thanks @rbtdanforth for the help.
Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll make sure the team gets them.