<$10 ESP32 wifi webcam to monitor your Glowforge

I am late to this party, because I think preschool kids are working with this stuff nowadays, but just in case you don’t know… You can get a dirt cheap teeny tiny computer, with wifi and a camera, and easily set up a webcam.


The board (and programming/USB power add-on board) can be had for about $10 on Amazon or about $2 if you want to look around AliExpress.

This is what I got from Amazon, but if you look around you might be able to save a few bucks.


For software, this is the project to grab.

To install the software on the little camera board you will need to install the Arduino IDE on your computer, and there are some fiddly steps to configure the IDE and get all the right add-ons and stuff installed. But once you do, you can flash the camera server software to the board, and then all it needs is power via the USB port. (I think you can remove the add-on board if you want to solder 5V power to pins on the esp32 board.)

Here is a sample screen shot showing the camera view and detailed settings.

Yes, the image quality isn’t great… But it was also $10. Maybe $2, depending on where you got it!

You do not need to be a programmer to get this thing running, but if you know even a little about it, you can make some customizations like changing default settings.

This is my ugly, temporary setup… The camera is taped to a wire shelf over the Glowforge, sharing space with materials. I need to figure out a case, but I don’t have a 3d printer yet.

If you enjoy tiny computers, check it out! Fun stuff.


You sure have a glowforge though. You can whip up a box easy.

1024x768 is decent resolution for that price, for sure.


I may try to create a cuttable enclosure but I hope someone here beats me to it. :wink:

The resolution actually goes higher, but frame rate plummets as rez increases.



and when you’re watching for fire, speed is definitely more important than DPI :slight_smile:


I’m all about cool toys, not about encouraging people to leave the room for extended periods of time.


I am in the same room when I am using my glowforge, but if anyone needs an ESPHome YAML config for the cameras let me know. When I got mine it was well documented and it took some trial and error to get them to show in Home Assistant.


I honestly don’t look at the camera much, I am too busy in the chat room.


With a Glowforge you need a 3D printer to make a box? The wifi wenbcam is a lot harder to figure out than such as box, much less a 3D printer.


in b4 someone suggests running it through AI to detect fires


An enclosure with 1/8" acrylic would be a lot bigger than what you could do with 3d printing. I have also seen cases with ball joints. If I can’t get a friend to print something I’ll make something myself.


I found the Walmart site has a 5 pack for $29.51 (about $6.00 ea.). You could put the rest around the house as security cams. Here’s the link.


I’ve been neglecting my Home Assistant stuff and small electronics since this summer. I have not moved all my sensors to the new home and have not been motivated to get back into the Maker Mood. These might be something to work with over Christmas. I have so many unfinished projects though…


That could be interesting to train.


Pick all the pictures that contain house fires.


Citrus zest: 72% confidence


I would think that Christmas might be one of the busiest times of the year for folk in your line of work, even if less so for most folks. However, a makerspace tied up with the Church could certainly build up a core of enthusiastic activists :slightly_smiling_face:


Infrared and a sniffer that can distinguish between burned and delicious. Advanced AI would also point to where the dog left a present behind the couch.


December is pretty tough and Christmas Day itself is busy, especially this year on a Monday following Sunday services. It’s the week after that is a bit quiet with school out of session and people taking time off. For me Christmas begins on the day and goes for two weeks since I follow the liturgical calendar and not the secular manner of putting things away the day after the holiday.


This always bugs me! The group I’m part of makes a big deal of 12th Night - and yet most of the towns I’ve lived in do the last “we’ll recyle your tree” pickup a week or more before :frowning:


This is why the song is the 12 days of Christmas after all. Not the shove it out the door the day after Christmas song. The parents house was old school. Tree went up a week(ish) before christmas(probably cut down a week before that so it wasn’t as messy). Then it was decorated on Christmas Eve. It came down the next weekend after little Christmas or 3 Kings day, culturally labeled.

I really don’t get people who put it up on Black Friday. I super don’t get people who already have it up. And my ex-in-laws who just leave it up in the corner of the music room the whole year, just unplugged.