What I see and what I get are not the same

How come what I ask for and what I get are not the same? I placed my design onto the wood template and what I get is something smaller and not aligned… What is causing this? The machine is calibrated but it seems that it resizes and moves the print elsewhere…

Misalignment up to 1/4" is expected behavior.

The fact that the scale is off, however, would indicate that your material thickness is not entered correctly.

1 Like

Without the crumb tray in there, you must calculate very precisely the top of the material’s distance from the laser head.


Ditto the accurate material thickness value.

Measure the width of what printed vs what you have in the design - should be the same. A rescaling issue will present itself in the overlay, before the print.

That looks mostly like focus height difference, exacerbated a little by not being in the middle of the bed.

These tutorials might help:


Since this problem is being seen on materials that were purchased from another company, we can’t offer support for prints that don’t come out as expected. I’m going to move it to Beyond the Manual so other folks here can help. Should this happen with a print on Proofgrade materials, please open a new ticket in Problems and Support and we’ll help you right away!

The main reason this is surprising to you is that you haven’t really dug into the forums yet. There are a bunch of really common topics that are a good idea to read up on as you get more experience. Like all good learning curves, it’s worth it, but it is a bit of a climb.

When you’ve got some free time and want to “level up” search for the following terms:

Trace bitmap

Convert font to path

Kerf correction


Acrylic source/hardwood source/plywood source

Inkscape tutorials/illustrator tutorials/affinity designer (depending on what you’re using)


There are tons of other topics of course but those are common ones in roughly the order that you’ll probably want to learn about them.

Have fun!

1 Like

This happens to me all the time, 1/4 inch the same, seems like an easy fix , but not for glowforge apparently this appears to me much more than that.

This particular mismatch isn’t Glowforge’s fault. This is what happens when you don’t enter the correct material height.


This just goes to show me that other competing laser cutters that offer a variable laser head vertical adjustment or an adjustable height bed might have been an easier way to solve this…

We’ll see if your opinion stays the same once you have some more time with it. I have zero problems with getting accurate alignment, hopefully you’ll find it’s not that bad once you get to know it a bit.


Seems like inputting the material height falls under vertical adjustment, doesn’t it? Or do other laser cutters actually just do it for you?

The way I understand it, you can input the material height but only with the honeycomb bed in place. If you want to engrave a thicker piece without the honeycomb bed, you still have to raise the item up to the level that the honeycomb would be at for the laser to focus properly. Laser cutters with adjustable beds make that easy and some have a measuring tool that fits between the item that you want to engrave and the laser head.

Cutting without the tray is technically going beyond the design specs of the machine, so it seems kind of unfair to blame them for not providing us an easy way to do it. :wink:

Nope. They advertise a 2" height capability. That requires the tray removal.

From here:


  • Maximum material depth: 18" (455 mm) for Basic and Plus; unlimited for Pro
  • Maximum material width: 20″ (515 mm)
  • Cutting area: aprox. 11″ (279 mm) deep and 19.5″ (495 mm) wide
  • Maximum material height: 2″ (50mm)
  • Maximum material height with tray: 0.5″ (13mm)

Ah, my bad, then. :slight_smile: