Where's the origin?

I’ve been trying to eke some utility out of the Glowforge, but am finding it really difficult to use relative to Epilog hardware. Right now the hold-up is the lack of any physical reference for the axes.

Searching the forums suggests “make one” but nobody suggests a good procedure for how to actually get an accurate reference when mounting straightedges to the bed. It’s a crazy omission from the design. The camera feature is basically useless - it’s routinely off by a centimeter.

Any advice?

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May I suggest that you temporarily forget your Epilog experience when using this machine in order to minimize your frustrations. Come at it from a noob perspective and you’ll have an easier time. Best way to get a handle on things is to use the forum as a resource to learn from other’s experience with the :glowforge:. This has worked out well for me. Of course, YMMV.


If that’s true then you should post an issue on Problems & Support or send Support an email because that’s radically out of spec.

If it’s hyperbole and you’re really within a qtr inch (.6cm)then there are several posts on how to make a square that you can register off the front & left corner or the back & left or right corner. That provides consistent registration.

You can’t register off the tray except for within a job as the tray can move slightly in its divots.


A quarter of an inch isn’t practically less than a centimeter when it comes to placement precision. They’re both enormous. I eyeballed the centimeter (e.g., cut a 3 cm disk and noticed that the updated camera image didn’t have the line overlay on the actual cuts by about a third of the diameter of the disk).

So… there’s no good way to do something as simple as establish a datum?

In the way you would do so on an Epilog…not at the moment.

It is well known that the post picture is not an accurate reflection of the cut placement to the actual item. This is likely to be resolved in future imaging updates. If you rerun the same cut without moving anything, the lines will be in exactly the same place as before.


OK, so what’s the theory for how you use the passthrough for parts larger than the printable area? In my seems-realistic imaginary world, there would be reference edges that I could use to slide the material through a precise-enough amount. In my outlandishly-unlikely imaginary world, the camera would have magical powers and figure out how to stitch reality to my CAD output.

There are a couple good write-ups on manually indexing for long cuts through the pass through slot that have yielded some very good results.

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Your points are 100% valid, but they have been made about 100 times already. Check out some of the the other identical topics if you want to skip ahead and see how this will go, because we’re not breaking new ground here. The Glowforge works the way it works, and it may gain accuracy through future software updates, or it may not. In the meantime, there are some techniques to make jigs and work arounds which may or may not increase your satisfaction. If you just want to vent, I get it. Eventually someone from Glowforge support will close this with the standard text about how alignment can be off by up to 1/4" and how to ensure best results.


@jason.fuller0 - thanks! That’s the sort of thing I was looking for, but hadn’t found yet. I’d still prefer to find a way to add proper reference geometry to the machine itself, and will ponder how to do so.

@chris1 - wow, that was unwarranted. Chill?

Things will go better if you assume people are trying to help.


I was also frustrated by not having a labeled origin and work area. Here is what I did to help myself.

  • Put blue painter’s tape on the bed, all the way around the perimeter
  • Create a simple un-filled rectangle SVG
  • Drop your rectangle into the GF UI
  • Resize with the drag handles so that the rectangle occupies the entire cuttable area
  • Cut at something like speed 500, power 6 to cut the tape
  • Peel away the inner part, now you see the work area

Like @chris1 said, visual alignment may or may not get better, and for now you’ll need to use techniques other than the camera to align your cuts.

This is what my bed looks like right now. It’s not the answer to our prayers, but it provides a little help.


I did something very similar on my old Full Spectrum laser, helped enormously!

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Apparently we read that in completely different ways. I didn’t see anything in his comment that would be considered unwarranted. As @markevans36301 said, you can pretty much assume that any of the people you encounter here are just trying to help.


Aha! I hadn’t really considered resizing in the webapp - brilliant. I was struggling making perfectly sized boxes in Inkscape (with which I’m unfamiliar) that would fill the working area.

Do you do anything to ensure the bed doesn’t move?

I normally do everything in Illustrator but I accidentally moved a resize handle in the app and had a eureka moment.

So far I have not had problem with the tape guides moving. The blue tape sticks well enough for now, and the crumb tray also stays put. I thought about making the guides out of something like acrylic, but it turns out it is often handy for materials overlap the guides, so I find paper-thin to be better.

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This is awesome!

Regarding placement either initially or post op with the camera image, there is a ‘nudge’ ability using the arrow keys. The higher the zoom (in the UI not your browser), the smaller the increment it will move.
For best accuracy have all of the design elements in the initial file. For subsequent placement using the camera image, patience and the nudge with high zoom factor get me where I need to be reliably.

I’m so sorry we missed your message.

The software on your Glowforge is responsible for ensuring that the print lands on the material in the same place as the preview. When you’re done with a print, let a new image load. If the print appears on screen far from where it was supposed to go, you may have an alignment problem.

Most alignment problems come from the material being closer or farther from the camera than expected. While the software is still improving, you can take these steps for the most accurate alignment results:

  • Use Proofgrade™ materials.
  • If you don’t use Proofgrade materials, use a precision set of calipers to measure your material, and enter the thickness in the “uncertified materials” dialog.
  • Use material that is not warped or tilted.
  • Place your design near the center of the bed.
  • Clean the area underneath your crumb tray, particularly the four indentations on the floor.
  • Reboot the machine. Alignment can drift over time, particularly if you bump the head of your Glowforge while removing material.

Should you finish all of these steps, and find that you have an alignment error of more than 1/4", please contact us so we can investigate.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions listed here!