Set up questions (I'm kinda worried)

qa

#1

OK, I’m getting stressed about my setup. With the pushed-back delivery date, I had not a care in the world and knew my hobby room had the space, window and power to get the GF up and running. I figured I could adjust things after it got here and I learned what exactly would work best. Plus, I was waiting to see how things worked out in the real world of pre-release units. Well…crap…now my hobby room won’t be available and I’m very limited on my set up. (A friend became homeless and poof, we got a needy roommate in our itty-bitty house. Whatcha gonna do :-/ ) My options are now the garage, main living room or, as a very last resort, maybe a big chunk of my little family/computer room.

So my question to those with real-world experience, what are my real needs or limitations?
Here’s what I’m working with/without…

-no laptop, desktop only with Wifi. How close does it have to be? I get that it would be nice to have them together, but does it have to be? Or is it really not workable to have them far apart?

-Old house with crank windows that open vertically so it’s gonna take some work for exhaust. It will have to be something I can easily remove when not in use. Might need to run a bit of hose outside and away from the house with fan to assist. Feasible?

-Power…again, old house. Any worries or any special concerns?

Anything you think is a must have/do? What about things you don’t HAVE to have, but would be beneficial?

In my fantasy world, I’m hoping to put it on a table, plug it in, run a hose out a window far enough away that it won’t blow back and be good to go. But I’m honestly a bit worried about finding a new place for it. I know I could likely search this all out in the forum, so I apologize if these are repetitive questions. I just need some reassurance from users more than anything I think. :slight_smile:


Workflow?
#2

In order

As long as you have good WiFi signal separate rooms are fine.

As long as you can get something open anything’s feasible.

We have a lot of bad thunderstorms here which causes shaky power mine’s going on a UPS.

If you’re really hurting for space perhaps you could make a table over that you remove the top to use the glow Forge?


#3

Depends on whether you purchased a filter or plan to vent. Venting is preferable if a possibility.

The next thing to take into account is noise level. If you plan on putting it in an office that you’ll be working in while it’s running, it’s going to need some soundproofing.

Your computer doesn’t have to be near, but it’s preferable to have one close. You have to push the print button after setting everything up in the software. You’ll also find yourself going back to rearrange materials while getting everything set up to print. Wouldn’t be fun to make a trek for that. Keep in mind this runs in a browser, so if it’s far away and you have an old laptop or iPad or something, you can always leave that at the glowforge when you need to bounce back and forth.

A place to keep/store materials and scraps nearby will be useful. You’ll find yourself stockpiling all types of things you want to lasercut near it, so make sure you have enough room for those.

I also have a couple of shelves for things I’ve made and tools. Test cut pieces with grayscales for reference, and useful tools for the glowforge: Calipers, paper rulers, magnets, pens/markers, jigs, tape, a couple needles/pins, a box cutter & loose blades, tweezers, and a fire extinguisher. I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting.

If you have any type of saw, I try to keep them close. I saw materials quite often. I have 3 saws in the vicinity of my glowforge, but I find myself using the bandsaw the most.

That’s all I can think of now, but it was actually a good question, as I’ve found myself having a lot more laser centric tools than I thought I was going to have.


#4

Take heart and good for you, helping out a friend in need. I do have a dedicated space for my Glowforge, but it’s in the tiniest room you can imagine. And that is shared by my small pantry and some pet food and bowls. My windows in my old house slide open horizontally…but are old wooden ones that do not move easily. I hope you come up with a decent solution. You still have enough time…you’ll do it!


#5

As long as you have network access to the same network, there is no reason to be physically close (from a computer sense), but someone needs to be near the machine to press the button and make sure things are not burning.

Technically you can submit your jobs from a trip in antartica while someone is standing near the printer to push the button (which I often do at work with my 3D printer, is have someone in the lab load the filament I need, etc when I am working off site, and submit/monitor my jobs via VPN on my iPad or MacBook pro to the Raspberry Pi running octoprint)

But as @takitus points out, there is some physical stuff someone needs to do somewhat close… Since you probably don’t have a staff at home, this leaves you with wanting to be somewhat close. Now in a work situation on the other hand, those don’t have to be the same people…


#6

I find myself bouncing back and forth to the PC fairly often to change the way the materials are oriented in the machine, or I realize the piece I put in isn’t quite big enough, or sometimes I’m just dumb and forget to close the lid lol.


#7

Yes the computer can be where ever you want. Last night I was 20 miles away from the Glowforge having dinner. Another pre-Release user wanting something checked out. So I fired up the Glowforge app on my laptop, loaded a design and told it to process the print. I have a camera pointed at the laser bed, so from the remote location I could see everything power up and head move as if it was getting ready for the cut. Of course the laser will not fire unless someone pressed the physical Print button on the unit. (I had forgotten to turn the Glowforge off before leaving, but the wife was home to check on everything.)

It is far more convenient to have the computer in the same room. If a print should fail early in the process you can just hit “Cancel” on the computer screen and quickly resubmit. Otherwise you would have to lift the lid to cancel the print. This requires the Glowforge to go through a recalibration (1-3 minutes) before you can try to print again.


#8

So is the button mechanical or capacitive? I really want to build a wifi button-pusher, just because…


#9

It moves like a physical button not a touch screen.


#10

My Glowforge will be in a room next door to where the computer is, but I’m counting on being able to use my iPad to control operations when I’m standing in front of it.


#11

Interesting process. I have two laptops that I use interchangeably for working with the Glowforge. One is normally at the machine and the other (thin, light 13") in my lap most of the time. If you are logged into the Glowforge app on both you can upload from one and see the unit status and time remaining from both.


#12

WiFi will only be an issue if you are having wireless issues with your current setup. If your wireless unit is provided by your ISP (and you have had the same one for several years) or you own it and have had it for several years, then you might be experiencing wireless issues. This is more noticeable when your newer wireless AC devices (newest iPhone/iPads, Android and computers support this) “confuse” older wireless G/N access points/wireless routers.

If you own your own and you have “dead spots” or connectivity issues, consider updating to devices that allow you to elevate/re-position the access point and/or create a mesh (one access point is connected to the firewall/router and the additional access points are placed to help boost the signal but don’t need connect directly because they communicate to the connected access point).

I like the Ubiquity series of access points:


They can now be configured with an app on the iPhone/iPad or Android devices. You can add additional ones as needed and their size is about that of smoke detectors.

The GF :glowforge: will be able to have an 8 to 10 foot dryer vent hose attached without needing a fan assist. I think it was @dan who made that clarification. If possible, just add an external dryer vent to the room where you plan to have the setup. NOTE: avoid placing it directly under a window to minimize drawing the fumes back into the house. Also, keeping it lower than the GF :glowforge: will keep condensation from flowing towards the equipment and even a vent stop (see @marmak3261 Prototype Quick Disconnect Magnetic Vent Hose Coupler ) will be helpful.

Grounded outlets with a quality surge suppressor (those that give you a $25,000+ product protection guarantee - $25 to $40 price tag). If the house either has only two-prong outlets or a mixture of 2 and 3 prong outlets, get something like this to test if the ground is wired properly (without putting yourself at risk):

If there are not 3 prong outlets or the tester shows error, you might need to have an electrician resolve the grounding needs.

UPS (battery back) has been discussed here. The battery backup is only to get past power “hiccups” not to keep your equipment running for dozens of minutes/hours. Now if your power flakes out regularly/irregularly, make sure your computer, wireless unit, modem/firewall/router are also on a battery backup.


#13

I forgot to mention that my desktop computer is two rooms away from my laser pantry, but this past year, I bought a new iPad pro and also a wifi extender to make sure I have strong signal in my back room. The iPad will remain with the Glowforge, so I think the setup will work nicely.


#14

Once you’re set up, the distance between the laptop/desktop/tablet/whatever and the GF doesn’t matter, only that they can both talk to the router. It’s only during setup (as I understand it) that the GF generates its own wireless network that you have to connect to.


#15

One could argue that if a person has WiFi dead spots, sticking a WiFi repeater (EDIT: I’m speaking of those horrible non-ethernet connected repeaters, not the one linked above) to act as a man-in-the-middle through those same dead spots is like trying to blow through a dirty filter.

I may be setting my Glowforge up in the detached garage, but all my WiFi and network switch connectivity is in the house. Since the Glowforge needs a decent signal, I’ll use Ethernet over Powerline to drop a Wi-Fi access point (AP) in the garage, right next to the Glowforge – not halfway between the Glowforge and my next nearest AP). Bonus: sticking it right next to the Glowforge means less competition amid the WiFi soup of my neighborhood.

http://www.tp-link.com/ca/products/details/cat-18_TL-WPA8730-KIT.html


#16

I have found that repeaters work best only with the same manufacturer as the access point.

Second biggest issue is that most power outlets are low and can get blocked/impeded by dense items or flat metal surfaces (filing cabinet, washer/dryer, refrigerator, etc).

The higher up an access point/repeater is the less interference/signal degradation occurs.


#17

Re: height, true enough. Thinking of it more, I’ll probably just take a cheaper $100 wireless router and flash DD-WRT onto it (for in the garage), but still use the EoP for the hardline back to the house.


#18

Thank you. My router and desktop are in very close proximity, so just wanted to make sure everything was as strong as could be in the back of the house. At times, my iPad wasn’t getting very strong signal in the room where the GF will be.


#19

Great advice here. FWIW when I’m printing at the office my desktop is a bit of a walk from the bank of Glowforge units. I often bring a laptop with, but go back to the desktop for real design changes because trackpads are a poor substitute for mice. :slight_smile:

A very cheap laptop is welcome in this situation. I have used my phone in a pinch but it’s not great yet.


#20

If I set my studio up the way I’m thinking, I’ll have my main desktop computer in one corner and the Glowforge in another corner. That other corner will be my “maker space” with the Glowforge and my 3D printer. The 3D printer requires a tethered PC so I’ll have to have a notebook or desktop set up in that corner that can be used for the Glowforge UI. If that plan doesn’t happen, I picked up an Android tablet a few months ago that I’ll use when standing in front of the Glowforge.