Where Would I Learn About Set Focus?

I know about setting focus, and I have told many new users how to use it. Today I went looking for instructions regarding the interface (set focus, color preferences, etc.) for the Aura and I didn’t find the information. I even read an entire (mostly) user manual and didn’t find it. Are there instructions that I just missed?


So we find it when troubleshooting. Also, is this true for the Aura? Is there a visible beam that shows where the machine is focusing?


Not sure about the visible laser.


I had the same frustration when looking for it - it should be in the manual mode section as well, but it’s not :-/


No. The Aura’s blue laser is completely filtered out by the amber lid. Whether at minimum focusing power, or full strength cutting, the beam is not visible.


The red light that is the visible beam in the :glowforge: isn’t its actual laser - so they could have done the same in the Aura…though AFAIK they did not. At least I’ve never spotted one.


Well sure - I think most Performance Series owners know that. The Aura is different and doesn’t apper to use a “red dot” focus laser.

Looking at the business end of the diode module, there’s no sign of a separate focus laser, so prominent and easy to spot in Performance Series.

With no visible emitter and no red dot during focusing, I stand by my last post. YMMV.


Are you suggesting that they use the aura cutting laser as its rangefinder?

Basically the way it works in the performance models is that the Red dot laser is at an angle, then the camera picks up its position and calculates the distance to the material. Pretty simple Trigonometry.

In theory it would be possible to have the camera angled and then use the position of the laser dot from the cutting laser on the aura to derive a material distance.

I’ve always wondered if it uses a laser rangefinder like that or it uses something more solid state like an infrared emitter and receiver.

I’ve also always wondered whether or not the diode laser diver is enough that they really need to worry about it. It’s possible that the laser is in sharpen focus throughout the entire acceptable cutting height, and then there’s actually no focus at all in the aura.

No one to my knowledge has tried to do a defocus test with the aura to see how wide the beam can get. My aura is in a box at this point, so someone who has an aura up and running… Maybe you can test that?

Something like:


Yes, I am suggesting exactly that as a possibility. Am I sure? No. The only thing I’m sure of is that the Aura does not use the red dot laser approach.

Why do I think so? Consider:

  • No red dot is visible during the focus operation.
  • You can shine a red laser pointer through the amber cover and clearly see it on the material, so if it uses one, you should be able to see it.
  • No sign of an emitter/camera pair like that used by the Performance Series.

I’ve always wondered if it uses a laser rangefinder like that or it uses something more solid state like an infrared emitter and receiver.

Could well be. I have no way of determining this one way or the other.

It’s possible that the laser is in sharpen focus throughout the entire acceptable cutting height, and then there’s actually no focus at all in the aura.

Ah, no and no…

  • Focus drops off drastically above and below the 1/4 inch focus range. I tested this before creating the Aura version of the No Math Focus Ruler.
  • The Set Focus tool works in the GUI and one can hear what sounds like a stepper motor moving something - presumably the lens assembly - within the head.
  • Selecting Print without first using the Set Focus tool will run the focus procedure near the center of loaded design file before performing the final head alignment.
  • Selecting Print after using Set Focus skips straight through to the final head alignment.

Btw, when you set up your Aura, you’ll see that the ability to set a manual focus height is not available from the Engrave settings:


as opposed to the Performance Series:


This makes sense to me - simplifying the operation of an entry-level machine marketed toward a very different audience than most (but not all!) Performance Series buyers, but will, of course :roll_eyes:, annoy some users. YMMV.


While I can appreciate the use of bold now and then sometimes it comes off as angry and I hope I haven’t made you feel defensive or anything.

Did you ever take pictures of the results of your defocus tests? I’d like to know how wide the line can get.

I’m also not disputing your thought about the Blue laser being used for rangefinding and being blocked by the Amber cover color, but I will say this: almost no color filter is perfect, and with something strong as a laser I would expect to be able to see a little bit of bleed through. But even if that’s not the case there is a very simple simple way to test: put your cell phone in there and film the focus process.

If they’re using an infrared rangefinder that would also be very easy to tell just by looking at the bottom of the laserhead, they have a very distinct look to them. Ultrasonic and lidar systems also have very distinct looks, it would be a pretty easy thing to spot.

Honestly I think the reason why they went with the red dot laser in the first place was that it was the cheapest accurate solution.

Maybe somebody from Glowforge will read this and decide to take pity and tell us how it works. We can spend a bunch of time spinning our wheels and guessing or poking and prodding to try to figure it out… Or they could just tell us. I’m not invested enough in the answer to unbox mine :slight_smile:


You’re the 3rd or 4th person on here to admit they haven’t used their Aura. I’m presuming you were all part of the pre-release beta testing, is that the case? Was there no requirement to use & report on how it worked like they had with the CO2 PRUs?


I used it, and will break it out again if they ask me to. I just put it away because I wasn’t really using it and I have a very small workspace.


Ah. Just was surprised by the posts referring to having them in a box.

I should talk. My GF is sitting in our guest apartment space because I haven’t finished sorting all the boxes and stuff in the workshop. Starting to make a dent in it but I keep getting sucked into projects that in retrospect I should just have paid the builder to do when he was building the house. :upside_down_face:


I think there was going to be…but the ‘leak’ about it happened so darned soon after we got them, that testing seemed like a moot point. My husband died right after I got mine and I wrote to the guy in charge of the beta stuff and explained that I wanted to fulfill my obligation but it might take me a while to get to it. He was very kind and understanding and the next thing I knew, the Aura was available to the public.


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