Printer distorts file

I’m cutting out some gears out of the proofgrade draftboard. The problem I’m encountering is that some of the gears are a tiny bit distorted: sometime, the central hole for the axle is a bit off, or the gear itself is not perfectly circular.
I used the website and Adobe illustrator to create the file for the gears, so I’m reasonably sure the problem isn’t in my file. I’ve also centered the file underneath the camera so there wouldn’t be distortion due to the wide angle lens.
Are there any other things I should check to ensure proper printing, or is the Glowforge not acurate enough to print gears that are less than 1 inch in diameter?

Check the tension on your belts - your gantry may be off-square

and Belt Tension: New release improved greater speed - but skips and is off center and Banding/resolution/lines not matching up? should help!


If you want to share the file, one of us can check it.

The machine is accurate to <1/1000th of an inch. If prints don’t match a design, you have mechanical issues. You can check for these as posted above.

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I’m uploading a picture of one of the gears, and I marked which teeth were distorted.
I think I squared the gantry. I’m less

sure about how to fix the belt tension…I’m a bit confused with instruction and I’m scared of breaking the machine by doing something wrong.

Here’s my file. gears-cut
I’m a bit unclear with the instructions on checking the belt tension. I mean, the belts seem fine to me, I wouldn’t know whether I’ve fixed them or made the problem worse…

It’s the file. It’s garbage. It’s riddled with mis-sized and mis-placed elements. Just a few examples below:


I don’t see that on my computer at all. I’m viewing it on illustrator
What should I do? Resave the file? Or is there better software for svg files?

Glowforge sees the same:

Re-saving won’t do anything. The original design is bad.

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I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve hit this snag!

As @eflyguy pointed out, the problem appears to be inside of the design file, as the points in the print results match the skewed shapes inside of the design file. I was able to upload and review the file in Inkscape, and noticed the same behavior. This may indicate a need to utilize an alternate service to export the “cog wheel” designs you are attempting to print, or create the design file from scratch.

I’ll move this particular thread to “Everything Else” so that the discussion can continue there. If you run into any more snags, please feel free to reach out to us directly at

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So I did some research on Illustrator and the SVG file format. What I learned is that, when you save the file as an SVG, you need to click the button “more options” to reveal the “decimal place” value and then increase that value so Illustrator doesn’t distort the path.
I also needed to “flatten transparency” to get rid of an error box while saving. So after doing that, the file printed properly.
I’m sorry for wasting people’s time here. I usually work with the .ai file format, I didn’t realize the SVG file format on Illustrator would have its own issues to deal with.


Also make sure the “responsive” box is unchecked, or you may have scaling problems.


Not a waste at all, it’s a learning process. And you’ve increased the chances someone else will find this when they search.


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