The glowforge camera makes us more concerned about material thickness and focus than we need to be

call this a shower thought; but I was setting up a recent job and tweaking some focus distance dimensions and I realized that the camera and more specifically the camera compensation has made glowforge users way more concerned about focus than we need to be.

Because that number drives how accurate your positioning is I have been very concerned about it most times I run a job; but as I was running this job (a wooden spoon in a jig, hard to measure) I looked at the range of focus distance that it was covering with a single focus point and realized my focus number really wasn’t super important. unless I am doing really small details like 5pt font 20 or even 50 thou doesn’t really matter; I still got nice sharp lines over 1/8" focus range


While this is true in some instances, it can make huge differences in others, especially with precision engraving. I don’t think we as users should stop paying attention to material thickness, but we can realize that in certain instances it may be less important than in others.


Unless you are doing very very very fine details (like you better engrave at 450lpi or parts will be missing) having a focus off by 50 thou or so is going to make zero difference to the engrave. And the GF autosets your distance anyways so this just applies to when you overwrite it.

This is one of the regected spoons I was working (jig or gf zero shifted, had a couple of both so not sure which one this is)

I had my focus at or above the lip of the spoon to pick a middle point between this text and the handle text (not shown) looks great and has a very steep slope where it says “forking”. It’s really hard to show the slope in a picture but it’s an ikea spoon so most will have seen the spoon before.


Thickness can work both ways (help and hurt).
I find thickness more important for cuts than other items, so I can agree to a point.
As to positioning, using a 12x20 design page works great (even if the camera looks like it is not)

The thread below was an experiment just to see actual differences using variable focus on an engraving. I was curious if the wide splash on an unfocused score would look that much different than an engrave.

It did not look that different, but I was blown away with the time differences for the design.
If you have a Large item, or lot of something (like shown) to make, time wise it would be a benefit to play with the design and try a large de-focus score instead of an engrave.


It’s pretty important for visually aligning things in the GFUI. If you don’t have the correct material height entered, it’s 'way more likely that things aren’t going to print where you expect them to.