Set Focus errors

Help! I’ve had constant errors when trying to use Set Focus ever since I got my replacement machine. It’s extremely frustrating! I need to be able to place non-proofgrade materials in my glowforge & know that the settings I’ve always used are going to work! I’m wasting a lot of time and materials, and it seems like I’m not the only one. Are the circuit boards faulty, or is this something with the software, like the Beta isn’t quite ready to be rolled out? Either way, I’m really hoping you can help. I’ve got orders to fill, and I suddenly don’t know how to run my laser.

1 Like

What are the exact errors that you’re getting?

1 Like

What types of materials are you getting these errors on?

1 Like

This happens regardless of the non-proofgrade materials I choose: 1/4" maple, whiteboard, 1/8" maple, painted boards. You name it! I’ll try proofgrade & see what happens…

It does, in fact, read the QR code correctly. So, only when I try to use Set Focus (which is all the time).

I don’t think this would be the cause, but, you never know… I notice that there isn’t a job loaded (nothing in the sidebar). Does it error out if you have a job loaded?

Every time.

Hi @deb.harvey1234 - I’m sorry to hear you’re running into this snag using set focus.

I extracted the logs from your Glowforge to investigate, and it looks like the Glowforge is having trouble communicating with the printer head. This could certainly contribute to focusing trouble. To troubleshoot this, there are two key connections I’d like you to check for me.

Could you please do the following?

  1. Turn off your Glowforge.
  2. Holding only the finished black surfaces, grasp the printer head as shown. Pull gently up and back to disengage the magnets and remove the head.
  3. There is a small tab in the center of the wire ribbon. Push down fully on the tab to release it, and gently pull the wire ribbon plug from the printer head.
  4. Take a clear photo of the gold pins inside the printer head where you just unplugged the wire ribbon. It should look like this.
  5. Pick up the printer head and wire ribbon. Make sure the tab on the wire ribbon is facing up. Slide the ribbon back into the head until it clicks.
  6. As shown, lower the printer head over the metal plate so that it rests next to the two round posts. Then push it gently away from you – you’ll feel a “click” as magnets pull the printer head until it sits snugly atop the metal plate.
  7. Pull the laser arm all the way forward.
  8. Reach over the laser arm, and to the left of the inside of the unit and you’ll see this circuit board:
  9. Take a photo of the circuit board. If the cable I’ve indicated above with the red arrow appears to be loose, please reconnect it and try printing again. This cable should ‘click’ back into place.
  10. Turn your Glowforge back on.
  11. Send us the photos you took in step 4 and step 9
  12. Try printing again.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Here ya go. I grabbed a few views of the pins, because I’m not sure which will give you the best angle. It looks as if the pins in the middle might be bent down a little? I don’t know. I do know that it seemed a little tight, trying to get the buckle to re-latch.

I have also pressed on the cables to ensure that no connections seem loose.

On a potentially unrelated note, I CONSTANTLY (after almost every cut) have to re-seat the lens in the printer head, which is VERY annoying. I use the blue tool to nest it in the head snugly, but it drops down almost instantly and I get charred wood. I never had this issue with my original Glowforge, but it’s been constant the past two months with this one…

All of this is making me wish that I had kept my original printer head when I got this refurbished machine. This is So Frustrating!!

Please help me.

1 Like

Hello - thank you for sharing those photos and that extra detail, I appreciate it @deb.harvey1234.

While part of the focusing process does involve the lens moving, and that’s a normal expected behavior, it’s possible for the lens to be too loose and drop out of place. I’d love to take a look at some prints that have had issues because of this, if you have any examples lying around.

Next, I’d like to take a look at how the lens is being retained in the printer head. Could you please do the following for me?

  1. Turn off your Glowforge.

  2. Grasp the printer head as shown, and pull gently up and back to disengage the magnets and remove it.

  1. Hold your hand directly beneath the bottom of the printer head, and give it a moderate, up-and-down shake.

Does the focusing lens stay inside of the Printer Head, or fall into your hand?

Finally, regarding those pins, I do see a couple that could potentially fall into the category of being bent.


While I don’t believe these are bent enough to be causing any trouble, it’s also possible they’ll get worse over time. If you’d like to straighten these back out you should be able to do so gently with a pair of plyers.

Let me know how it goes.

I could share Lots of charred photos, but I should not have gotten off track from the main problem I am experiencing. Apologies. I am perfectly capable of removing the head & pushing the lens back into place after each print. I am not, however, able to use my machine in a consistently reliable manner when I cannot use Set Focus.

So… no other instruction on how I might be able to regain the Set Focus ability?


I see in the forums and on Facebook that I am not the only user experiencing this issue. If this is a common issue with the circuit board, has a resolution been discovered?

I realize that you are busy moving to a new repair facility (funded by us customers), but I am beginning to feel like I am being blown off.

Please help me get the Set Focus feature to work on my refurbished machine or send me a new one.

Thank you.

1 Like

I hope not. That can seriously damage the focusing ability of the lens. It will drop down to where it’s supposed to be if it has not been damaged.

You should never push the lens into place, there is a delicate mechanism inside the head with magnets that hold the lens in place and it is supposed to move up and down inside the head. That’s how the laser is focused. If that’s damaged it might be what is causing your problems.

(You need to perform that last test that @Mike.D asked for and let him know the results so he can see if it’s a damaged focus mechanism. Then they will be able to figure out how to fix it, if possible.)

And for anyone reading along…the method I use to replace the lens is to place it on top of the non-magnetic part of the blue tool, and then slowly lower the head straight down over the top of it until the lens jumps up and “clicks” into place. It will do that without being pushed in, and it’s much easier on the focusing mechanism, and a lot more stable than sliding it in from underneath. You also don’t want to turn the head over and drop it in from the bottom…you can jam that mechanism pretty easily.


Anyway, best of luck.
(Hoping it’s not damaged and they don’t have to have you send it in for repair. ) :crossed_fingers:

As I read more, I’m starting to wonder if this is, in fact, a software issue. Is there any way to remove the Beta Premium software from my glowforge? I feel like the issues on my earlier machine didn’t start until a software upgrade, and I’d like to approach it from the software side and rule that out before I start tinkering with the hardware.

Please let me know if that is an option.

Thank you.

I have ALWAYS followed the directions of how to handle my glowforge. I use the blue tool to carefully reinsert the lens after each cut, BECAUSE IT HAS DROPPED DOWN & STAYS DOWN which chars my material. I will find some examples and post them.

Thanks for your snarky comment. I’ll try to find something helpful in it.

Just FYI: I have always avoided the whiners and complainers and attempted to work with glowforge when I have issues. HOWEVER… I just got this refurbished machine two months ago, and have had continuing frustration. When I feel like I’m being blown off to use up my warranty, I am going to ask for every possible fix while I can.

I do have the extended warranty through Amazon, so I may have to just wait and go that route.

Please don’t make it sound like I am treating my laser poorly. I am not.

What I was saying was that at least the lens dropping is “fixable” on my end. I cannot get Set Focus to work, no matter what I do.

I removed the head and shook it as instructed. It did not move. I used the blue tool to see how far down it was, and it appeared to be approximately .5 inch down from the top.

Does it really cause issues to do this? If so, why is this a standard part of the cleaning process? (I routinely clean my lenses and re-insert in this manner, following the directions from glowforge.)

My concern is that if I don’t do this, it chars my material after a couple of cuts. Therefore, I’ve begun doing this more routinely. Because materials are expensive and I’m not made of money.

I apologize if my frustration has made my tone a bit acerbic, but I do take offense when I feel accused of mistreating a valuable piece of machinery.