Why do we have to press the button to print?

I cannot figure out how it benefits me as a user to have to press the button to start a print.

Can someone explain it to me?

For me it is a hassle, my computer is upstairs and the Glowforge is in the basement.

Before you start the print you must have everything set up. You see an image of what is in the printer when you press the print button in the GFUI. Why do we need to press the button on the printer? It makes no sense at all.

It is not like you need to load the media. In fact you cannot. if you open the printer it cancels the print. I cannot think of any value added by pressing the button.

If someone could explain it to me then maybe it would piss me off a bit less every time I have to jog downstairs to press the button and start another print.

it’s a safety measure. you should not be able to start the laser running remotely.


As a final final safety check it’s not a terrible thing.

Every now and then I’ll see something that I missed on the UI. Maybe a magnet is a little too far into the material, maybe there’s a warp that I didn’t see at first when setting it up.

Granted it’s easy for me because my laptop is mere steps from the GF. If I had to run up and down stairs would irk me for sure.


Would be handy if there were some portable device you could carry around with you, take down near to the GF and do all the set up work while next to the machine, then you’re already there ready to press the button, then you can stay right there and work on setting up the next job.


Besides safety, there is also the security aspect to consider. Not having a way to start the GF remotely is a good way to insure a “bad actor” can’t upload and start a design that could cause a fire.


A fine point, @YawString.

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Lasers burn things. It’s generally a good idea to keep an eye on them while they are doing it.

Making us press the button is just one of the methods that the folks at Glowforge use to try to protect us from ourselves. (By the way, if you haven’t done it yet, you might want to read the Safety section here: https://glowforge.com/support/topic/safety/safety-overview.)


Since you would never leave a laser cutter running unattended, it doesn’t make much sense to start it from another room.


Safety rules are written in blood unfortunately.

In this case, written for people who may not have had past experience in powerful or dangerous equipment.
Glowforge has gone to great lengths to eliminate a majority of the dangers, but have no doubt, this equipment still has dangers inherent to it,
and while it may seem like a toy, it is not.

Having one last look at the state of the machine before energizing is a minor nuisance, and this is from a person who has the machine about 40 foot away.
The first time you see a print start badly and halt it you will see the benefit. OR the gantry come into contact with the material when it starts to move. OR other things that can and will occur.

Bottom line, even someone with a camera on the machine cannot lift the lid from the computer in the other room.


I can only imagine my eyes wide with horror seeing the print in the UI on my computer burst into flames…and having to run a distance to quell the flames. I can’t run very fast any more. Too risky.


Note also that the image on the app screen is not live. It is refreshed every now and again.

(I have a 3D printer set up with a webcam and a supposedly live view, but with network delays even inside the house it’s at least several seconds delayed. That would be way too long if something went seriously bad with a GF)

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It’s worse than that. There is no live picture within the UI. The UI image is only a snapshot. My laser runs downstairs while I am upstairs but I have a live camera positioned above the unit. That lets me see whether there is a flareup to be addressed. But the real problem is that if there is an issue with the unit, I would never know. The vast majority of problems are detected because something didn’t sound right. The gantry might jump the rails, electrical sparking, fan bearings seize, fluid pump fail, etc. Usually these are detected by sound.


Of course, you’re right…no live picture. Silly of me. I guess my though process was ‘off the rails’…but I know you got the gist of what I was saying. :roll_eyes:

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Others have many explanations that should be enough but I would suggest something else.
If you do all the necessary setup and then close the window, and you have a tablet or similar device you can then bring together both parts near where the Glowforge is sitting.

I have the computer and Glowforge closer but need a power chair to traverse the distance and therefore use the tablet when doing multiple cuts.

If I had to traverse multiple floors I would see to it that a tablet or cheap laptop dedicated to nothing else would be living in that same basement.

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Just a thought after you’ve read all thing things about safety, but check this out.


I have the same situation only backwards: my PC is in the basement and the GF is up 3 floors.

I was always ok with the need to hit the button because it gives me time for a last check before I print.

It’s also the only real exercise I get.


Its the standard way for most lasers I know of, before they closed down Tech Shop I used the Epilogs there and you had to send your design to the machine and then you had to go to the machine and press the GO button. And Epilogs cost many times more than the GF and has no camera.

the universal we have at work can be started from the computer.


the computer has to be attached to the laser cutter with a USB cable. so it’s essentially still not remotely startable.

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… C&E 2 Pack USB 2.0 Active Extension Cable 33 Feet Black, CNE463365 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016RVAZQO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_LudpBb6ZCMF89 :slight_smile:

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it’s possible, but a fireable offense.

still, 33 ft will barely get you to the closest workspace.

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