Set Focus Challenge

I was challenged over on Facebook by Michael Horton, (not sure of his username here, sorry!) as follows:

So here’s the test I ran. I found two equal-sized circles of scrap material that are just under 1.5" in diameter, and placed them in the lower left corner of my bed. I placed a rectangle of the same material in the center. I created a circle using the tools in the app, sized it slightly smaller than my cutouts, and duplicated it, setting the operation to “score.” I added text inside the circle to be used as the “set focus” test. Here’s a screenshot of the full setup that was taken just before I printed, so you visual sorts can follow along with my description:

Katara the cat, who is gorgeous but also a bit of a brat, has hidden my calipers somewhere under the piles of material scraps she has strewn joyfully around the room my GF is in. Here’s a photo so you can see what a brat she is–it shows, right? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Anyway, since Katara stole my calipers, I used the piece in the center of the bed as a “set focus” target in order to let the GF determine the material height, but maintain the focus at the center as it would normally be without using “set focus.”

Then I placed one of the circles I’d created onto the rightmost of the two circular scraps (giving it a small advantage over the other one in terms of placement, since the closer to the center you are, the better the visual alignment is), and aligned it visually as best I could to be even with the material.

Next, I set the focus in the center of the other circle, then visually placed its artwork:

Then I hit “Print,” and here is the outcome:

So…is Set Focus perfect? No, especially not at the far reaches of the bed–but that’s pretty darned good considering it’s in the very worst alignment position possible. And it’s definitely better than NOT using Set Focus, as the other circle demonstrates. Also, I would submit that if the scored circle weren’t there, most people would never notice the small amount of offset in the engraved text.

So, bottom line? If you want a scored outline perfectly aligned with your circular cutout, do the cut and score operations at the same time, OR use a jig. But if you want to place text or other artwork in the center of a circular piece of material, Set Focus is definitely your friend.

And yes, my crumb tray is filthy. That’s 4+ years of accumulated crud, and it works JUST fine despite never having been disassembled and subjected to whatever the latest cleaning method of choice happens to be. I’ve got better ways to spend my time! :wink:


Your test made me think that not sure I have ever seen side by side comparison of in-focus and manually selected out of focus scores. Plenty of posts talking about using out of focus to widen the lines but can’t remember a pic.

Haven’t had a need for that myself and haven’t turned my GF on for a month. Might check it out someday if no one else has, or does.


I always use set focus on everything I put in my GF, and if I have it set focus to wherever my main printing is going to be. But I also understand that near the edges, it’s usually harder for me to get a “centered” engrave or score, simply because of the limitations of the head movement for those functions, whereas my cuts turn out almost exact, and if it is off, it’s definitely not enough to make a difference.


The first thing I do after closing the lid and seeing the image update is issue a set focus. THEN I immediately start to position things and fiddle with settings WHILE the focus is completing. When it’s finally time to cut, I don’t have to await the annoying pre-cut focus step.


Great example-thanks for the visuals. I use set focus ALL THE TIME! Love it :smiley:


For some reason I’ve always been afraid to mess with the design while the set focus is working. I guess I figured it would interfere with it somehow! Silly me! I’ll no longer wait for it to finish before I start working on my design!


Once you start you won’t stop, that pre-focus step is annoying and a pleasure to skip!


Id say you ceushed that challenge!

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what facebook page is this?

It’s called “Friendliest Glowforge Group on Facebook.”

…I THINK that’s the group it was in… :thinking:

Not a photo, but a video for you, although not of my make. I use defocused scores a lot with my puzzles, when I am adding decorative lines that I don’t want to spend the time engraving. Score lines are really far too skinny to use as decorative elements by themselves for most of what I design.



i’ve done the defocused lines more than a little myself as well. it takes a little practice and testing to get the results you want (and i tend to test every time, since every material is a little different and designs don’t always want the same width score line).


I have used it mostly for B&W board which I planned to color, but also recently for a simple double-sided “drinking horn” stand with celtic designs for one of my daughter’s boys (she bought it for him), he was using it for champagne last night.

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Here’s to a total fail in actually copying and pasting the link in


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