Code Release

I’m opening one of my private Glowforge related repositories to the public.

I haven’t made much progress on this collection lately as it has served its primary purposes for me, and I’ve been concentrating my efforts in other areas.

Hopefully others in the community will find it useful (or at least informative) and build upon it.


Just curious when you say it has served its primary purpose for you. Are you running custom firmware?

The primary purpose was to learn about ‘operational’ details: firmware updates, machine command and control, and the structure and function of the pulse files.

I have a solid enough understanding of those aspects, coupled with the deep dive into the hardware details, to move to the next phase.

I have a prototype for a drop-in replacement control board and the corresponding (very-pre-alpha) firmware in testing.

There remains a lot of work to do, but should be ready for prime time when warranties start running out.


I say it a lot, but… love your work


A little teaser of things to come…




That’s a nice looking PCB. I’m looking forward to seeing it populated. :smiley:


I can’t imagine you have what other people call ‘spare time’, but what would you do if you had ?



Ok, that’s Hard Mode. I expected people to poke around the software, but this is something else.


Not sure why people say hardware is hard. In my experience software for a given piece of hardware is far more complex, takes much much more time and good programmers get paid more than good hardware engineers. Hardware comes in neat black boxes with well defined interfaces. Software is a lot more messy.


Can you imagine what I would do if i could do all that i can? -Sun Tzu


I think that software has traditionally been more accessible to people. All you really need is a computer.

Hardware requires a completely different set of tools, and access to manufacturing processes.


Exactly. I could, in principle, go from nothing to finished software right now, while sitting at the gate at the Zurich airport with my iPad. I can wrap my brain around how to do that, and it’s physically possible. Neither are true for creating a laser controller PCB. The former problem goes away for someone with more skill and experience, but actually building the thing takes a bit more resources and time.

Which is, by the way, why I am excited about any tools that make rapid prototyping at home more accessible (lasers being one of them).

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I have a pretty decent setup to make PCB’s. But, it has become so cheap and fast to have them done professionally that it just isn’t worth it to me to make my own.

Especially when dealing with anything over a single layer. If I do a two sided board at home, I am left soldering in a bunch of vias. Yuck.

The board above is a four layer stack measuring 115 mm x 115 mm (above the common - and much cheaper - 100 mm standard size, thanks GF! :wink: ).

10 boards, with stainless steel solder paste stencils and express shipping was $180. I placed the order on 1/28, and had the boards in hand on 2/8.

If the PCB’s were 15 mm less in each dimension, it would have been $115, but my goal is drop-in-replacement, so they had to match the existing GF control board size.

I could have saved another $10 if I had put both sides on the same stencil, but my existing paste application setup is designed for them to be separate.


Love what you are doing! Impressive work!!

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Could you just laser a frame to go around a standard sized board that would then drop into the GF? Probably could do something for less than the $7/per that the extra size cost you.

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As long as the cables would still reach the connectors.

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First born. Warts and all…

Kind of a shame to know I am going to pretty much destroy it.


@scott.wiederhold how are things looking with the tubes?
Are they as difficult for the average Joe to replace as Glowforge say?
What about their source? Are they a bespoke design?