Job snapshots - More camera features (Request for Enhancement)

I have a request for enhancement that I think would be really beneficial for everyone. Let me know if anyone else agrees. The camera feature is awesome - it would be great if the camera could periodically send and update images when a project is being created. That way you can see the progress and if anything is going wrong you can get to your laser and stop the project.

I have my laser cutter in my garage with an exhaust fan so for me - having a 2 hour project and having to stand over it is pretty impossible. Setting up a camera feed seems like it would be tough to wire up. Since there is already a camera in the GF, it would be great to have the GF just periodically (once a min, once every 5 min, whatever) send the image so that I can see the progress. Any chance this is in the works already?

Glowforge and most laser users say to never leave the laser unattended. That being said, many on here have cameras monitoring their work. A quick search will reveal the brands many are using.


Would be nice. It would be quite the additional load on the infrastructure to be sending all those images and updates. Will be interesting to see if that gets built in some day. I would imagine that there are disincentives for Glowforge to be implementing it. It would increase the risk of folks not being right next to the Glowforge to handle problems.

Might be time for you to invest in some wireless camera. Not too hard to come up with. I have a raspberry pi setup with a camera and that gives me lots of functionality and control, including time lapses. It doubles as one of my 3D printer Octoprint servers and I just move the camera over. Not that I am ever in a different room or anything.


Here are a few examples of Glowforges left alone for a few minutes:

It’s simply not worth the risk to depend on any sort of remote monitoring with a laser! Glowforge’s lawyers are not going to allow them to add anything that makes the device less safe. In my opinion, YMMV


You forgot this one…


I’m going to jump on what I’m sure will be a large bandwagon in saying that leaving your Laser while it’s cutting is a Very Bad Idea. There are at least a couple of posts here of immolated GlowForges that the owner walked away from for “just for a minute”. If you’re engraving slate coasters then you might be safe to be nearby while glancing over once in a while, but for wood or paper you Really need to stay and keep an eye on it.
Be safe, we want you to keep creating! :wink:


I use a Wyze camera (like $20 and a free app), I sit it on the top and have a perfect view of every moment (I do this because my computer is on a table on the other side of the room)


The topic has come up for those cases where you might need to step away after making sure things will not go crazy

Understood but being that the technology is there it’s a great idea and not a replacement for watching over your prints but more of a way to track the accuracy of your print versus your original layout. Purchasing a camera system to monitor your prints also shouldn’t be used as a replacement for checking on your job either fyi

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When cutting, the camera is covered up by the printer head so not actually “there”

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The camera is actually only partially covered by the print head for the most part and software can be smart enough to take snapshots when the head is further away from the camera to increase the view.

A separate camera shooting from above the whole Glowforge would work better in the hands of someone technically capable that a whole extra set of software that by the time a new image was calculated it would be long past real time and clog up the band width.

Well I don’t agree but at least you’ve convinced me that submitting on the GF forum is a waste of time. You must be a network engineer since you know so much about how much bandwidth a small picture takes up on wifi. I’m just a simple software engineer with 25 years of experience that knows how to program packet data to optimize bandwidths which I wouldn’t even recommend in this instance since the data is so small but what do I know. Ill make sure I submit my RFEs directly to GF in the future.

That’s a bit extreme. You submitted your request on a discussion forum, and it’s been subsequently discussed with opinions. Whether those opinions are factual in your eyes or not, doesn’t really matter. Ultimately, it is Glowforge that makes the decision. They aren’t going to say, “oh, so and so feels this is not possible or a waste of time - we can disregard it.”


You are correct, that was completely my mistake, I shouldn’t have posted this on a public forum. I wasn’t up to the challenge of having to justify my request - I thought it was a simple cool thing for GF to look at but I definitely don’t have the stamina for it here.

LOL! Guess you’re not on the community forum for the “community” aspect of it, huh. Shame. Lots of great folks like @rbtdanforth on it.

I am. 26 years of experience myself. I have no idea how big Glowforge’s pipe is, but I wouldn’t want any of it taken up by a series of images from every Glowforge user. But I imagine their pipe’s plenty big enough, so let’s put that aside for a moment. What is pretty small limited is the on-board memory. Many of us have hit the memory limit on jobs. Since the photos, in any resolution, using any compression, would need to use that memory, I definitely wouldn’t want to see this happen. For me, if I really want to remotely see what’s happening, I’ll setup a webcam like @rbtdanforth suggested.


I’m guessing everyone else just saw the back and forth as a generic discussion and not some sort of attack. Wouldn’t take any of the comments, other than how you responded, as even remotely personal.

Most of us have thought about remote viewing as an option. I installed a real time video feed over my GF years ago. It is somewhat useful. But doesn’t really add as much as I thought. I never looked at the video feed enough to catch an issue before it became a problem. Even when sitting next to the unit no one really stares at the operation. Usually there is some abnormal sound (fan changes, clunk, grinding, etc), or smell that alerts the user enough to look up. Harder to do that remotely.


Ha, nice dig! Thanks! (no offence taken by the way and also not taken even remotely personal)

I do have a remote camera setup - probably should have mentioned that in the beginning, but to address concerns - I think we all agree that even a remote camera isn’t the safest thing to use as you we should all be closely monitoring the print by being in the presence of the machine during the print. This topic wasn’t about safety or trying to convince people that if this feature existed that they shouldn’t be monitoring their GF (although cool pictures of GFs exploding is always good to remind us of the consequences of going to the bathroom in the middle of a 5 hour print).

@Tom_A - I will admit I am extremely ignorant of how much memory the GF has and how it handles processing the jobs that are sent. I do have 3d printers and a CNC machine and the GCode that they use is very minimal in size even for the largest jobs (under 5MB for sure), so I didn’t consider that there would be a bottle neck in the GF memory. I thought the issue on their memory is that they are actually processing the conversion of the .svg file (or bitmap) to some sort of G code which takes processing time and can also hit the max limit of the on board memory (not to go off subject, but if they had a native app on Windows/Mac that would solve that problem so you are only sending the ‘gcode’ or whatever - maybe that should be another RFE to solve your max memory issue you had in the past…).

Back on topic - the camera snapshots would just simply be great to track the accuracy of the print versus the layout so you can monitor how close the final result will be to what you desired. That’s all.

Was not intended in any way as a dig. Read your post as a defensive response. Though I’m not at all good at reading beyond the literal meaning of words so never surprised when I’m wrong,

no worries - all good