My dream: Remote

So, currently on crutches, and still post-surgical and trying to regain the startling amount of stamina it sucked out of me. Because of this, I’m starting to “get” a whole lot of stuff I’ve never really considered before!

My GF is in what used to be a closet; nearest place that can accommodate both a sitting human and a computer is about 6 feet away–just far enough to be out of reach of even my relatively long arms. So here’s the drill:

  1. Haul middle-aged self to standing position. Use crutches to hobble to material storage shelves, select materials.

  2. Try to grip material with one or two fingers while using the rest to manipulate crutches; hobble to GF. (If more than 2 sheets of material will be needed, repeat #1 and #2 until it’s all collected.)

  3. Place first material in GF, stack the rest on end beside it.

  4. Hobble back to desk and carefully lower middle-aged self to chair (because leaning over and trying to do stuff on the computer while balancing on crutches, it turns out, can have dire consequences).

  5. Load artwork, set up cuts, engraves, etc., push print. Wait for preview to finish.

  6. Haul middle-aged self to standing position. Use crutches to hobble to GF and push the button.

  7. Hobble back to desk and carefully lower middle-aged self to chair and glue stuff while keeping an eye out for signs of excess flame/smoke and waiting for job to finish.

  8. Haul middle-aged self to standing position. Use crutches to hobble to GF and extract results of operation. Stuff into waistband/pockets for transport back to desk. Remove scraps from GF and replace with next material.

  9. Start again at step #4. Try to get everything right the first time so no repeats are needed, because your energy level drops significantly with each step.

Since it turns out having major surgery when you’re actually 3x as old as you like to pretend you are is actually exhausting for at least 6 weeks afterward, one or two repetitions of the process is pretty much all I can manage before I need to use my remaining strength to haul myself back up the stairs where it’s possible to lie down and rest. Eliminating those extra stand-hobble-push button-hobble-sit steps would allow me to get twice as much done before wearing myself out for the day! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

So, yeah, I get safety and all, but it sure is excruciating trying to finish a project, these days!


So… Saves you one step out of nine?

To an able-bodied person it’s one step. The sequence “stand up, walk over, push button, walk back, sit down” gets a lot more daunting when you have like a quarter of your usual strength but moving your body around is like 10x as hard as usual :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


You forgot:

10. Profit!
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Here’s another use-case scenario.

computer is across the room (or even one room over) from Glowforge. User has set up cameras and such to be able to remotely watch the GF from their computer as it runs. A number of people will place material on the bed before turning on the GF, or just after the initial Calibration. This individual can then go back to their computer, eventually select all the software “stuff” required to get the job ready to go and then hit print. For the sake of efficiency I can definitely see this person wanting a remote to start the job and then continue to “design” the next job while monitoring their GF via camera.

It’s not whether it is “too hard” to go over and hit the button, it’s a matter of efficiency and conservation of movement.


Button robot?


that would work too. I think the desire is simply any way to cut out one of the steps to get up and walk to the GF.

My personal situation has the GF directly next to my computer, so really no issues for me. I use my rolling chair to zip around to collect the materials, and really only need to stand up to load the material, and unload it. I can just lean back in my chair to hit the button.

Actually, it’s easier than that for me. My 3yr old daughter LOVES to push the button for me. :smiley:


Considering there is a camera on the lid already, it would be pretty awesome if the iPhone Glowforge app would live stream video from the Glowforge. Theoretically, you could be eating dinner with family (in the same house as the Glowforge, but a different part of the house) and have your phone on the side acting as a baby monitor for your Glowforge. If you see something sketchy, you can run over OR hit a cancel button in the app to turn off the laser.

Just a thought.


I have a number of 3d printers and use an app called “octoprint” that runs on a Raspberry Pi, which basically does monitoring and allows you to take remote control of the printer. It uses a webcam to monitor the printer. It would be fairly easy to use Octoprint and a web cam to monitor the Glow Forge, you would just have to figure out a good way to mount the camera so it can see what is going on. The downside is that it wouldn’t be easy to stop it if there was a problem. (Octoprint connects to the printers USB port and allows you to issue commands over an API). I am not sure if Glow Forge has any kind of API that is available, but if so it wouldn’t be too difficult to connect and call that if you see a problem.

Can you get a fire control robot with that?

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I’m in the remote start camp, but fire spreads fast. The glowforge case seems very capable in containing a fire so that’s a plus for them. So you need two button pushing robots - the second for the fire suppression system.


I used OBS Studio for quite a while for camera monitoring, but now I use an Octoprint installation for monitoring so I don’t have to get up from the desk. The camera is back and forth on either the Creality or the Glowforge.

I am amazed at how productive I got once I started using Octoprint. I keep neglecting to contribute on Patreon, but I do owe the developer for her work!


There’s a fun automatic fire suppressor that my buddy uses above his shapeoko. They’re called “fire balls”.

It works like a firecracker, you hang it above the thing what might make fire, it catches and explodes, smothering the fire.

Last resort, sure, but if it’s your GF or your house/life, it’s a pretty simple choice.


So, what about the alternate step 7B: excess flames/smoke DO occur. Can you get there quickly enough to smother it before it fills the room with smoke/scorches your lens, burns down the GF, or worse?

I’m with @snoopendous on this one.

First, my 'forge is in direct eyeshot of the location where I do most of my work. It’s in a rather poorly lit corner, and when it’s running, I can see (and note) the changes in sound and light.

I haven’t lit anything off (yet) but I’d know, and I’d drag my tired old self up pretty fast to take care of it.

Second, on ‘known quantity’ materials like Proof-grade, I don’t watch nearly as close as I do for the occasional foray into ‘what will THIS do?’. I mean, seriously - an etch of a good-sized photo is a lot of time to be watching the little head go back and forth, enthralling though it might be.

Third, try as I might, I can’t train ANY of the six cats to go push the stupid button .

I’m looking at that remote button option myself.


I notice a lot of watch the Glowforge closely to make sure it doesn’t burn but not a lot of watch through safety glasses only if appropriate

Unless you’re running a pro with the pass through doors open, glasses are unnecessary. They don’t even come with the basic.

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I can. I’m also not using any particularly flammable materials while I’m on crutches. If I do anything worrisome, I have a stool beside the GF I can sit on to babysit.

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You are thinking about this in the wrong direction. What you need is a remote mouse!

I have a wireless mouse - i take it with me to the GF after setting up the design. Once the material is scanned all I have to do is click on print with the mouse. Wait, then press the big button.

You do need to see the screen of course…

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[Yes Discourse. That is an almost complete sentence abbreviated.]

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