Glowforge WiFi hack

TLDR: If you can’t connect the GF to the Internet with available wifi but you can connect to the Internet with a Windows 10 machine, you can use the Win10 PC to channel the GF’s connection to the cloud through the Windows Mobile Hotspot feature.

Long version: I participated at our local mini makerfaire yesterday. Unfortunately the wifi they provided required both a userid and a password. Since the setup process only allows for the entry of a password I couldn’t use it. Nor could I use a mobile hotspot on my phone or dedicated wifi hotspot device as the two carriers didn’t have usable signals. I ended up being able to use a friend’s cell phone mobile hotspot because he had a carrier that did have a signal where we were. But his data got hit and it’s not likely I’ll be able to find someone like that should the need arise again. You can read the details here:

One of the things I tried yesterday but couldn’t get working was the Windows 10 Mobile Hotspot feature. I run Windows 10 on my laptop and was easily able to log into the University’s wifi so I could get to the Internet. Win10 allows you to setup mobile hotspots allowing access through your machine’s Internet connection for up to 8 guests. It creates an ad-hoc wifi using the Microsoft Virtual Hosted Adapter. It will allow users connecting via the hotspot to use your wired or wireless (wifi or wireless) Internet connection. My Surface 3 can support multiple wifi connections but if yours doesn’t you can just grab a small wifi dongle to plug into your machine when needed.

I setup the hotspot (Settings|Network|Mobile Hotspot) and could connect to it from my phone (good sign) and hit the Internet (misleading it turned out) and could find it in the GF setup routine and select it. I saw the GF connect to the laptop’s new network. But the teal blue light never turned off; I didn’t get the “congratulations you’re connected” setup page and the printer never showed online in the GFUI.

I beat my head against that for a bit but couldn’t make any progress and my friend wandered by and asked how things were going. I told him my plight with regard to cell signals and he found he had a decent (not great) one and volunteered his phone for the day.

This morning I sent Support an email asking what might have been preventing the GF from communicating via my Windows Mobile Hotspot. I figure there must be a protocol or something it needs that might not be supported by Windows.

However, I noodled it a bit this evening and decided to start back at the beginning - was I certain the Hotspot really worked in the first place for non-GF devices? I thought so due to being able to connect to it on my phone and still hit the Internet but decided to walk through the process without the pressure of crowds passing by.

I setup the Mobile Hotspot feature on my laptop and then connected to it on another laptop (also running Windows 10). No Internet. It showed on the second laptop first as a wifi connection without Internet access :frowning:

I pondered the evidence of my phone working yesterday so I tried that again. This time as I was doing it I saw an alert that the new wifi network (my laptop) did not have Internet connectivity. It’s a brief message flash so I must have missed it yesterday. But when I tapped it I had the option of staying connected or accessing a different wifi connection. Since I had used the phone earlier to the university’s wifi it must have flipped over to that when I didn’t respond to the alert yesterday. So it didn’t really work for the phone after all.

So back to why my laptop wasn’t setting up an Internet capable hotspot. I went into Control Panel|Network and Sharing|Change Advanced Sharing Settings and went to the Guest or Private networks section and enabled Turn On Network Discovery. Then I went back and clicked on Change Adapter Settings. I right clicked on my wifi adapter (the one connected to the Internet) and clicked Properties. There will be a “Sharing” tab if you have the Mobile Hotspot enabled - if it’s not enabled there won’t be a network connection for it (something like Local Area Connection *3 or something similar - depends on your machine’s configurations). Go back and turn on the mobile hotspot. The wifi adapter’s sharing setting allows you to enable sharing of the wifi Internet connection by other machines. You want to enable that.

Now if you connect to the wifi hotspot you’ll see it show as “Internet access”. But it may be lying. One more thing (at least on my machine) may be in the way. If you’ve got a firewall or AV installed that blocks access to the Internet from machines connected to yours, the messages won’t get out. That’s what I think was happening with the GF. It connected and got an IP assigned and was ready to talk to the cloud but its messages went unanswered because I have Windows Firewall installed.

In Windows Firewall I had Guest or Public networks with all access disabled. I switched that to enabled for all permitted applications, verified that Internet Sharing was one of those and restarted the machine and the mobile hotspot. Reconnected from laptop 2 and I could browse the Internet!

Went to my GF, turned it on, held the button until it turned blue (purple/teal/whatever) and went to the setup page using my phone. I selected the laptop’s hotspot and saw the GF connect on the laptop’s Mobile Hotspot settings screen (now with 2/8 connections because my other laptop was still connected). This time the light went out and it did its calibration dance. I went to the GFUI and saw the GF online!

I uploaded a file to the GFUI from my laptop and it rendered and was ready to go.

I turned the mobile hotspot off on my laptop just in case the GF was remembering my home wifi and wasn’t really using the mobile hotspot and it went offline in the GFUI. I restarted it, did the long button press and repeated setup, this time selecting the home wifi again so I’m not always pushing it through the laptop’s connection.

There are command line commands for setting up mobile hotspots in Window 10 (Google it) but the latest version will show either a small tile that you can click to turn on/off (if you have show expanded in the right side swipe pane or in the All Settings|Network|Mobile Hotspot).

I guess this should also allow you to use a wired ethernet connector to your laptop and then a mobile hotspot on your laptop sharing that connector that your GF can use - for those with lousy or non-accessible wifi near the GF, this might be a solution. This will also allow use on wifi that requires a userid/password combination until GF fixes that or where you can’t use your phone for hotspot support due to connectivity challenges.


I can hear you now.



In case anyone needs it, the macOS equivalent is Internet Sharing in the Sharing section of System Preferences:


My glowforge will not stay on the internet it sets up and I find the network router and says its connected but then when the teal button goes out it lost the internet connection and it doesn’t work.

Is there any way to do something else than that set up to make sure the GF is sending a good signal it finding the router says that the signal is there. So that being says it wont calibrate and is useless without that internet conncetion help help

@patrick.abel032472 I would recommend starting a new post in #problems-and-support. My guess is someone, or support, will be able to get you helped out pretty quick.