Off the grid

I am moving to some property up in the Rockies in a couple months. I just realized that my glowforge needs wifi and that is soon to be my main method of revenue generation. There is no service up where I’ll be, not even cell service. I’ll be running from generators and solar.

How do I make this work?

1 Like

It does need an internet connection. :frowning:


That won’t even be an option. It’s about 5-10 miles from cell service even. Living off the land basically and lasering stuff.

1 Like


It may take a little while to be accepted to the current beta program, but everyone I know that has it, can’t say enough good things about it.


Dial up modem?
(as @o-o mentioned) Sat service?


1 Like

Congratulations on your move off the grid. It sounds adventurous and exciting. Sadly, your Glowforge will not be generating any revenue if you don’t have a way to connect it to the internet. Maybe rent a workshop area in the last town on the edge of the grid while you wait for Starlink.


Why can’t it just process the data on your computer? That would be easy.

1 Like

Because all of the brains of the Glowforge reside on Glowforge servers. The software that determines the movement of the printhead and fires the laser exists only on the Glowforge servers.

You may want to look into other lasers that are not internet based. The Glowforge just won’t operate without an internet connection to Glowforge servers. Never has. Probably never will.


That’s disappointing. I’ve used 3D printers (all sorts) since the mid-90’s and i also designed a 3D printer from scratch for a firm in Oregon to take to production. I have also worked on defense projects designing laser systems and the controls. None of what is needed to do all that requires the power of a super computer, so having an internet connection doesn’t seem necessary. What has glowforge said about the idea of just doing a stand alone app? It’s just combining the 2D steppers to control the head location with a laser power controller. This is pretty basic stuff. I just dropped 7K last fall to get my business up and running. I can’t possibly afford another new laser is the problem.

1 Like

They just said “no”.

It’s the way it is by design. They always know that everyone is using the same & latest version of the software and don’t have to worry about people who can’t be bothered to upgrade (even when they have problems resolved in subsequent releases).

If you do a search on the forum you’ll find this is a longstanding conversation that has never resulted in a change of direction by GF.


more importantly, they’ve been very upfront since they announced the machine for crowdfunding that this machine needs an internet connection to work. if you need to be off the grid, it’s not a good choice for you as a laser cutter.


I have a Formlabs printer (7 actually) and I got my first on shortly after the launched theirs several years back. It requires their software (PreForm) to run it which gets updates periodically. GFcan make the updates manditory which will solve the problem of late adopters. So making sure people are up-to-date is as simple as a couple lines of code.

I do understand that they say that, but it doesn’t make sense in light of the Formlabs model which is nearly identical. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I love the machine and it works great because it has expanded my possibilities greatly.

The reason why this all came up today was because I was doing a multi-step marking job on something and for no reason glowforge just decided to be offline. Meanwhile my phone and computer which all use the same wifi were still doing just fine. I went through all the steps and nothing fixed it so I eventually gave up. But about three hours later it magically started to work again. I missed getting a job out by the deadline today and now my client can’t get the product in time even doing overnight early am delivery for a meeting early tomorrow morning.

If they read this, please add me to the list of beta testers for the non-wifi version when it is ready.

Side note: I bought this long before I thought about being off the grid.

1 Like

We can argue qualifications all night (I’ve been in the industry for decades, bought the Makerbot as my first 3D printer, teach & train on lasers & CNC machines, wrote code, managed coders, owned software companies, sold software companies made my first million before I was 40, lost my first million before I was 45…yada yada yada). If I had a nickel for everyone who said “but it’s only a couple lines of code, it’s easy” I’d have another million. If I had a nickel for every one of them who proved that by doing it vs just yapping, I’d have…a nickel.

At the end of the day you bought a machine that was advertised as needing an active Internet connection. Get one or don’t, it’s not GF’s problem. They’ve already decided the market that requires a machine not be connected isn’t one they’re worried about losing. They’re not likely to make a pivot because off-grid folks can’t use it. Your volunteering for a disconnected beta is not the way they do betas and isn’t likely to get you anything to resolve your problem. My mother would say “don’t hold your breath”.

If you really need to use a laser to make money off-grid, your only real option is to sell your GF and buy something that works offline. Hoping for a GF change ain’t gonna ever put food on your table. There are lots of alternatives available, none with quite the same feature/functionality profile but certainly sufficient for running a business. It’ll just require a bit more work on your part.


The second part is true. I know that it is my issue to deal with. I knew that the moment I started thinking about the off grid issue. I knew what my options were. I might have to change my plans as a result. I take responsibility for that.

The first part though was very insulting. You don’t know me at all. I happen to be a professional inventor/designer and have nearly 50 patents and I’d bet money you own at least one thing that I designed. Telling me I’m “yapping” is just rude. I made those statements because I know they can be done…in my opinion and my track record backs that up. I am a Doer, not a Yapper.

If you think someone is full of baloney, there are much kinder and more professional ways to approach a situation than to tell someone that they are “yapping”, especially when they actually do know what they are talking about.

Yes. Definitely. I’m already looking into the satellite option. It’s spendy. I’d prefer to not have to change machines at this point. I’ll have to save up for a new one down the road.

Like it or not the entire Glowforge business model depends on cloud based control, connectivity, and subscriptions. Selling standalone machines was never to be.


I didn’t say you were yapping. It was a generalized statement. If you search the forum you’ll find hundreds of posts by people who “know” how easy it is to do all sorts of programming that GF “should” do and say they can do it in a heartbeat or faster. Yet with only one exception no one has actually done anything they claim would be so easy and it wasn’t done quickly. His efforts were short-lived though because GF did ultimately release the feature themselves and his became redundant and ran into issues operating with subsequent updates to the GF app.

In my career I’ve managed a lot of developers who knew they could do something hard easily and fast. And I’ve known hundreds of users who were sure what they wanted us to do was also easy & fast to do and thought we were just being obstinate and not doing it.

There seems to be a fairly prevalent attitude in the GF user community that GF is ignoring doing new features that are simple and fast to implement because they want to work on stuff that doesn’t often matter. As if any vendor says “let’s ignore our customer requests” without imperiling their future. The GF team isn’t stupid and they have access to data, research and information that none of us have regardless of how long we’ve been doing what we do. It’s extremely likely that they have already explored doing what people are complaining about and either have a plan to address it, are actively working on it or have made a business value based decision to not do it.

There was a breakaway group of very bright forum folks who actually tried to do a “better GF” that included the ability to run without the Internet. They spent 3 years on the effort before throwing in the towel. A lot of what they discovered is still cached out on the 'net and has been very helpful for others (including me) to self-service their machines.

With your track record perhaps you could pick up where that group left off and build a local server app that would replace the GF cloud. There are a number of people who would likely pay you for the result.


Hi @glenn2. I’m happy to see you were able to get some advice and tips to help you figure out alternative methods of maintaining an internet connection to continue printing as you plan moving off the grid. However, I’m sorry to see that you recently encountered some trouble with your Glowforge going offline during some recent print attempts. I saw that you also emailed us regarding this issue. I just sent a response to your email, and to avoid any miscommunication or confusion, I will go ahead and close this thread. I’ll look forward to your response on there. Thank you!