Alexa-enabled glowforge vent blast gate

I was inspired by ILTMS alexa-enabled project, and decided to do something similar for the window vent. So far, I only have the electronics working & the mechanical design has some room for improvement, but overall, things are progressing!

Few things going on here:

  • I’m using a Wi-Fi enabled outlet plug, which is controlled by my Amazon Echo. This allows me to turn the glowforge on/off with a command (i.e. “Alexa, turn on the glowforge”). The glowforge’s physical switch is permanently left in the on position, so all on/off controls are handled by the Wi-Fi outlet.
  • In addition to the glowforge being plugged into the Wi-Fi outlet, I also have a simple USB adapter (i.e. USB phone charger) plugged in with a USB cable connected. This USB cable is spliced & provides a simple 5V signal that is connected to the TI LaunchPad kit input pins. This is a simple way for my TI LaunchPad kit to know when the glowforge is on.
  • The TI LaunchPad kit is a microcontroller board similar to the Arduino, which can be programmed for various tasks. In this case, actuate a servo motor open or closed depending on if a 5V signal is presented or not.
  • Note that the TI LaunchPad kit is connected to another outlet that is independent of the WiFi outlet (basically this is always on waiting for the 5V signal).
  • If the 5V signal is read, the TI LaunchPad kit actuates the servo opening the blast gate.
  • When I say “Alexa, turn off the glowforge” the Wi-Fi outlet turns off, thus turning off the glowforge & the USB adapter.
  • At this point, the TI LaunchPad kit no longer reads the 5V signal, and actuates the blast gate into the closed position.


  • Improve the mechanical design/mount of the servo motor (using custom acrylic cut from the glowforge, of course!)
  • Cut some wood to place into the window & figure out how to best weather seal it.


What a wonderfully over engineered solution! Kudos! Seriously. :sunglasses:


ha! Yeah, definitely over-engineered. But couldn’t think of a better way of knowing when the glowforge was on/off in a “passive” manner.

Open to suggestions!!

That’s awesome!!!

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What smart outlet are you using that it is able to provide all the wattage needs for the glowforge? Also is it a basic or pro?

I didn’t really give it that much thought. I’m using this smart outlet from TPLink.


Have everything installed & working pretty well so far! Had some spare plywood, which I painted with some exterior paint. Hopefully that’s enough to make it weather proof. I also used foam window seal around the edges to better seal the top, bottom & sides of the plywood. On the outside, I simply used this cover to prevent things getting inside.

Overall, pretty happy with the setup! Only complaint is that the blastgate is a bit loud since it’s metal. So the sound of it opening & closing is “harsher” than I would like it to be as the metal rubs up against itself.

Quick little video: