Other Issues


Your Glowforge measures the height of your material at the center of your design to determine where to focus the laser. If it can’t measure accurately, it uses the thickness of the material to focus instead. For best printing results:

  • Use Proofgrade® materials
  • Use material with a light, matte surface; black, reflective, or transparent materials may not focus properly
  • Apply masking tape to the material to ensure a light, matte surface
  • When you push the “print” button in software, the laser head will move to measure the material height with a red dot of light; ensure the red dot lands on the material and not on the grate

Dots on corners of score

To create a score line, the laser lowers its power and moves quickly along a path. It’s like a cut that doesn’t go all the way through. When it slows down to make a corner, the laser can score more deeply, making a dot. When you’re using Proofgrade material, choose the High Quality Score option for a better result.

Head doesn't return to rear left corner

Rarely, your Glowforge might move the black laser head against the side of the unit instead of moving to the middle, making a banging noise. This won’t harm anything, but might prevent your Glowforge from printing.

If this happens, please:

  • Turn off your Glowforge (this is important to avoid damage to your unit)
  • Open the lid and, using both hands, gently move the laser arm to the center of the bed
  • Gently move the head under the lid camera
  • Turn your Glowforge back on

Optimizing engravings

For the most faithful reproduction of your engraving, start with a vector image. This will produce outstanding image quality at any size.

If you’re engraving a bitmap image, use a high resolution image (at least 600 dpi) as a source for your engraving. Bigger images need higher resolution; smaller images can use lower resolution.

Before engraving:

  • Convert the picture to greyscale
  • Increase the contrast of your image so that the lightest areas are pure white and the darkest areas are pure black
  • Sharpen the image. You may have to experiment, and not all images engrave well. The best images have clear light and dark areas with lots of contrast.

Printable area

Your Glowforge can create prints up to 11 in x 19.5 in. When the laser head moves quickly, it needs additional room to slow down, so there are margins on the left and right. For prints with engravings and high-speed scoring operations, the margins are larger and the printable area is smaller. Manual settings will allow you to engrave in the margins, at the possible expense of lower quality. This feature is in beta. You can learn more about engraving in the margins here.

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