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.
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.
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 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 will keep condensation from flowing towards the equipment and even a vent stop (see @marmak3261Prototype 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A very cheap laptop is welcome in this situation. I have used my phone in a pinch but it’s not great yet.
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.
In high school I went to a friend’s house and got the opportunity to use a thumb trackball mouse while simultaneously playing StarCraft for the first time(real time strategy game). Since then I’ve been hooked. Logitech makes one the last dozen years in a USB wireless fashion. Feels like Bluetooth but it’s on a proprietary frequency. Can’t get comfortable using regular mice anymore. So of course, I keep one with my laptop and my desktop at all times.