Anyone else having problems with "cloud processing" delays and general User Experience?

First, my AP is in my workshed and connecting beautifully to every other device in there, and I’m getting good throughput to all of the various web services I use to test (> 90 Mbps down + 30 Mbps up).

Second, the bulk of my experience is with OMTech 80W laser + Lightburn SW talking to OMTech’s RUIDA controller, so this whole “cloud print” thing is a little weird but, hey, the OMTech is currently down for some well-deserved repairs so I thought I’d check out GlowForge Plus since the HW looked solid and, more importantly, it doesn’t take up enough room for a small car so I thought maybe it would be a good “small job” laser.

Enough preamble. One of my problems is that “cloud processing time” takes upwards of 15-30 minutes if I import any “reasonably large” SVG file (~1MB) with not even that many polygons in it (maybe less than 100) and then it also places the artwork way off the object, like several pages down from where the object is displayed, which threw me the first few times because I thought it simply didn’t import. Once I find it, I have to select all of the elements then scale and drag them on top of the object, something which is also a PITA because bringing artwork to the edge of the view doesn’t make it scroll - you have to move, then scroll, then move some more, etc. Am I missing something? A hotkey to press while moving the artwork, perhaps?

Another problem I’m having is in figuring out what the HW device itself is doing. With the RUIDA driven laser I have the UI on the OMTech laser itself to look at while it’s doing its thing, and I can very quickly see if it’s having difficulties, whereas the Glowforge SW seems to treat the HW like a magical black box that is always working except, of course, it does not. Sometimes it “air cuts” (laser head moves around but laser is clearly not on) and sometimes it just returns an error code when I go to print and suggests that I turn the whole shebang off and back on again, which, OK, but that’s kind of drastic. Not even a reset button, folks?

My third concern is what happens if this company goes tango-uniform and all of the cloud services die. They’re already pretty slow, even for smaller objects, and it’s clear that their off-device processing model has limitations when the servers are overloaded or unreachable. Meanwhile, personal computers are getting ever more powerful and I can say from experience that even with a modest license fee, lightburn works great and is very intuitive by comparison (perfect? No. More intuitive? Yes). I am not finding the glowforge software, even with the “premium features”, to be particularly maker-friendly and I wonder if people are modeling all of their work elsewhere and then just importing it?

Hurgh. Did I perhaps make a mistake here? :frowning:

Welcome to the community. In regard to this only…this can happen if a design is duplicated over itself OR if the power has defaulted to ‘1’. A duplicated layer will cancel the entire process out and the laser will proceed, essentially doing nothing.


A lot of us are. I myself use Inkscape and I store my files on my computer.


If you do not have internet it is unreachable for sure. A powerful computer is nice but if you want to run Glowforge from your tablet or phone, you can, even from another side of the country (though there needs to be someone monitoring the machine). I don’t think that will work with Lightburn.

As the actual calculations are done on Google’s equipment getting overloaded is not one of Google’s issues. Very early there were contingencies if Glowforge failed, at this point however if things were that bad it would be the least of your problems.

Glowforge was designed so those with an artist’s life and background could also have a laser, though there are many using it with an engineering and physics background able to build their own laser. It is the way of the universe that anything you can manipulate needs a widget to do so, true of software and hardware. The problem comes with the knowledge, and effort needed to manipulate it. Fewer widgets make using easier but you lose control so difficult issues need to go back to the factory.

On the plus side, there is an easier learning curve, and for any issue that comes up, they have a recording of what happened. In this way, they can diagnose the issue from a distance and even change your machine slightly so it delivers the same cuts, etc even with some vagueries of the particular machine. Likewise, any real bug that is universal can be changed immediately everywhere even before the next person uses their machine. And since all the programming power and speed is at Google it is not needed in the cell phone or Glowforge.

As I have been around for a while I can easily attest to any number of improvements, many just show up when you go to the website without downloading ver. 9.6 or installing it. No matter how small it is delivered immediately and not waiting for the next version.

Many choices are made that may be different than your needs, but I think there is not a universal set that is best for everyone or pick and choose among the choices. As for the many companies run in a Machiavellian manner, I can also know that Glowforge is not one of them and in many instances been the opposite of that by personal experience.


I can count on less than one hand the amount of times I have created something exclusively using the GFUI. I’ve had my Glowforge for 5 years and 7 months and learned to design for it from scratch…and continue to use Affinity Designer for that, now.


As the actual calculations are done on Google’s equipment getting overloaded is not one of Google’s issues. Very early there were contingencies if Glowforge failed, at this point however if things were that bad it would be the least of your problems.

I assume that by “Google” you are referring to GCP, the Google Cloud Platform, in which case it’s not quite accurate to say that “Google cannot become overloaded” because GCP only gives you what you purchase, e.g. it’s up to Glowforge to decide how many virtual machines and/or kubernetes container hosts to deploy based on demand forecasts and how much of their OPEX they want to devote to cloud infrastructure. It is absolutely possible to create cloud infrastructure on AWS, GCP, Azure or OCI (e.g. any cloud provider) that is then driven to its knees by user / computational / storage demands because you capped your spends to a fixed amount. Truly “elastic” infrastructure would require an equally elastic pocketbook and accountants don’t like that (Engineering: “This month we spent $10,000 on cloud but next month we might spend $500,000, I dunno, it’s elastic. Is that OK?” CFO: “NO”).

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Just because every other wifi device is happy, that doesn’t prove the Glowforge is happy. It has a pretty modest 2.4 GHz wifi module and over the years we have seen so, so, so many people with “perfect” wifi have trouble.

My Glowforge worked perfectly for years until one day, it barely worked at all… Even though every other device was fine. Even other 2.4 GHz devices.

It was the wifi. I had to change channels.

If it’s slow and fussy, it’s almost always the wifi.

Go back to basics, check the 2.4 GHz channel usage, and signal strength at the Glowforge location.

If that happens we are all out of luck. It’s the nature of the beast.

Sure, some people do that, but no one here has any idea of how the user base is split. Most people here seem to use other apps but I feel like the number of Premium users – happy ones at that – is growing all the time. It’s not for me, but good for them.

It just depends on your needs.

The Glowforge will never, ever give you some kind of local software driver. You will remain reliant on the company servers. They have made that crystal clear.

You’ll also be reliant on 2.4 GHz wifi.

They also don’t release new software features quickly, nor do they discuss with us what’s on the roadmap. You’ll never know what is happening until it is done.

It is what it is.

There are still lots of happy users here and this is a very helpful community. The machine is really good at some stuff, pretty easy to use, and free of serious bugs. If you see something like the head moving and no cutting happening, it’s a safe bet that there’s a problem with the file or settings.


I use the Premium stuff a lot and design for the catalog. I don’t use the catalog stuff much, however. The other basic tools I use frequently, sometimes for no more than an outline for the final cut. I would often be hard put to know which is premium content and which is not. The Magic Canvas AI has opened new vistas, even as I have occasionally gotten lost in the rabbit holes :flushed: It has been a very useful tool but tool only as it is only a foundation for the finished piece. Most work is done in Inkscape and Gimp.


If I had Premium, I would absolutely use some of the features frequently… But, it’s not worth the dough to me.

I really wish they had made just a few of the most primitive tools free for all – the ability to draw lines, ovals, and rectangles… mirror image… and maybe just one font. Any font… Even Comic Sans. :slight_smile:


When you look at the size after highlighting and it says say 8 wide and 4 high, if you should be able to click off the conserve shape and make it a minus 8. which would make it a mirror image :slightly_smiling_face:
oops tried it again and did not work now

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Good idea, I’ll try that.

I’ve never personally experienced that long of a delay. I’m not sure which part of the process you’re talking about, but both the time from when I upload a file to when it becomes visible in the UI and the time from clicking the print button to the Glowforge being ready are typically well under a minute, maybe two for outliers. I do have Premium, but from what I’ve seen posted here, it doesn’t make a significant difference.

My best guess (and just a guess) is that if it’s not the WiFi connection, the Glowforge software might be having some trouble with your SVGs. I know you said they aren’t unreasonably sized, but you also noted that they’re placed way off the screen, and you’re very used to using a different brand of laser. Together I’m taking this as a clue that you might be working with something other than the typical Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape workflows that are more common in the Glowforge universe. AutoCAD, for example, I’ve found to spit out lots of tiny little line segments that that the Glowforge web app is more inclined to choke on. If you’re waiting a long time between uploading and the design loading, I’d be looking into those files more. One way to test this would be to generate files differently or source one from elsewhere to see if it behaves the same way.

I wouldn’t entirely discount WiFi, though, if the wait is between pressing print and the light flashing. Performance of other devices you have has less bearing than you might expert on the Glowforge’s experience, as it has an embedded processor and what I would personally describe as not the world’s best antenna.

There are plenty of satisfied customers here, including myself, but if this machine and its workflow rub you the wrong way and you’re going to be irritated by having to change the way you do things, then it might be worth trying to unload it before it gives you more stress than you need. But I would say that disliking the machine should be the rationale, not a worry about the cloud service being a single point of failure or what-happens-if, because, frankly, all of that has been hashed and rehashed beyond the point of exhaustion, and there’s nothing new that anyone is going to say that you won’t find hundreds of previous threads about. I can tell you that there are not inherently 15 minute delays – something is going wrong in your environment that can be diagnosed and fixed, otherwise it would be affecting all of us.


Welcome to the forum.

I do not experience process delays that you describe.

We have discussed for years what would happen if the company fails.

The premium tools for designing were not introduced when the machine was first manufactured and didn’t become a thing for many years. Therefore, all of the early users had to use other design software. Now that the interface has more tools, they get used as needed for convenience.

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Excellent point, I should have thought of that.


If you set out to precisely define every point then every circle will be a polygon. In the early days when computers thought one megabyte was the same as infinite a low res drawing would show circles as squares (though draw them better on print out) I did a bit of 3d rendering in those days that would often take 72 hours to print, so am less annoyed with an engrave that takes “Almost an Hour!” :astonished:

Thank you to everyone for your replies! Let me respond to everything in bulk since it will save a lot of individual replies.

  1. Cloud feature set: It is what it is, it’s been debated too much, enough. :slight_smile: For creating the SVG images, use Inkscape or some other authoring tool. I also have a licensed copy of Lightburn for my other laser, so I may just keep using that since I know it inside and out already and it’s easy to export from it.

  2. The complexity of the SVG image makes all the difference. Since making my post, I’ve seen that the image I was using was just too complex and needed to be simplified. When I use smaller and simpler SVGs, the cloud app works fine.

  3. The wifi antenna on the CloudForge unit is itty-bitty and, even though my laptops and other devices were working fine from the same location (albeit at 5Ghz) I had to locate a 2.4Ghz AP just a few feet from the GlowForge and now it comes up every time. The nearest AP was 20 feet away but through a couple of walls before. It seems like a lot of the china-designed HW uses small embedded 2.4GHz ESP firmware / Pi-Zero (with Linux) solutions because they’re cheap and easy to make, but the antennas are absolute crap and, of course, they won’t do 5GHz and they’re vulnerable to interference from other devices on the band. In my case, I use 2.4GHz to run higher-powered unidirectional dish networking to my ISP and I usually don’t run any wifi devices on 2.4GHz, but what can you do…


Thank you for responding and telling us how it all worked out. I hope you can get some good use out of this machine.


Thank you for the closing the loop with your detailed followup. It’s very helpful to know that you found solutions, and what they were, and serves as a great resource for others who encounter similar problems.