Will the designs input to the Glowforge be stored on the Cloud?

Since all of the software to run the GlowForge exists on the cloud, does that mean that the designs I input to it will be stored on the cloud somewhere? Or will the cloud simply do the processing without storing any information?

I’ve put a lot of time and effort coming up with designs for leather work. Will my custom designs be susceptible to theft?

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They will be stored in the private servers that we rent from Google in their cloud service.


So if we need to work on proprietary designs or IP based work that we need to keep secret. Is that secure from other users and Glowforge staff? Or is it best to just find another solution?

As it always is these days privacy seems a serious issue in the cloud?

I guess I’m basically piggybacking on that last question Will custom designs be subject to theft?


There is a way to mitigate this without changing the firmware. How about allowing owners to set up their own local cloud server on their LAN on their own PC hardware? Glowforge would just need to make a server image available (owner installs image on their own PC hardware) and a way to point the laser printer to a designated local IP address. This keeps IP on the LAN and solves the problem.


I like @simon 's idea ;-)… though I understand if it can’t be a launch option… But if you are building something that needs on premise only support, this is a good option.

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I don’t work for GlowForge - but I think it is safe to assume their target market is home use. Not that they are going to turn their back on commercial purchases, but clearly this product was designed to make this sort of technology reachable to the masses. As a result, I think accommodating this sort of use-pattern is low on their priority list right now.

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I really don’t know a lot about how this all will work, but I don’t entirely understand why the design would even be stored at all. I assume that to run the laser, it will be needed there temporarily, but why would it continue to be stored beyond that? Why not just delete it, say, at the end of the day?

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@ihermit2: They’ll be stored in Google’s cloud servers using industry standard security precautions. That said, nothing is perfectly secure. If you’re not comfortable transmitting your designs over the internet (e.g. using Dropbox, emailing them to people), you wouldn’t want to use Glowforge either. As much as we’d like to have you as a customer, it’s more important to us that you make the right choice about a product that’s a good fit. There are some terrific offline lasers; as an example, I’ve personally used Epilog’s, and would recommend them if that’s a requirement for you (or anyone else with that need).

That said, I will note that we consider our designs extremely confidential and proprietary, and are very comfortable hosting them on our servers.

@simon: We’re willing to do some work to provide an escape shuttle for owners if something happens to us, but every bit of engineering on this comes at the expense of features and development elsewhere. We may be wrong about this, but we think the biggest opportunity to bring the Glowforge capabilities to the world is when the device is connected to the cloud. We’re going to prioritize putting our resources there. I would love to help you with this but I want to be honest about where our priorities are so you can decide if we’re going to be a good fit for your needs.

@brandon - well put, although the office is a big focus for us as well.

@alexslonimer - we have a “plans area” where we store your designs so you can easily re-print them again. As someone who actually uses this all the time, I can tell you it’s awesome! You can also delete plans that you’re done with, of course.


I think you almost answered @ihermit2, but I’ve been waiting for the response as well. I think what they are really wondering is, will each individual user/Glowforge have it’s own area for designs that isn’t accessible to any other user/Glowforge? (i.e. people use Google for Gmail but probably wouldn’t if all their email was publicly available to anyone.) So, I myself understand things get screwed up and hacked, but I’m hoping that any designs I upload to etch/cut are just for me and no one else using a Glowforge will have access to them. (While I also hope there’s a community area where we can submit designs that anyone could use, that would certainly be welcome, but first and foremost a private individual user section.)

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Aha! Yes, I’m so sorry, I misunderstood. Everyone’s designs are absolutely private, by default. We haven’t designed a way to share yet but that is forthcoming.



Excellent! That’s what I expected, but good to have the clarification.

It would be really cool to be able to have your own glowforge server. By which I mean:

a) I really want to be able to use glowforge off my own kit on my own netowrk
b) Much of your software will be open sourced based and pitched at makers, giving us the opportunity to work on the software will let us do things we didn’t know were possible.

I appreciate there may be some proprietary stuff in there, and no-one expects you to do all this on day one, but as with the commitment to open sourcing the firmware, opensourcing the software will really make glowforge stand out amongst open source makers.

I agree, I would really like to run my Glowforge off my own network because sometime internet is spotty.

@dan Sorry if this is a repeat but will the machine download all the cutting code before a job is able to start? or does it stream? If the connection quite in the middle of a job what will happen?

Like everyone in this post I share the same thoughts about offline vs cloud but like you pointed out Dan that this wouldn’t be for us if we wanted it super secure. Eventually all of us if we went commercial, except for people who own businesses/mfg houses, will have to send out our plans to manufacturers through the internet and even then your ISP or email client can hold the data and scan it, etc. So in a way Glowforge servers (Google Servers?) are just as secure as sending emails to manufactures. Is that an ok assumption to make? Kinda just going from the hip. I’m not exactly a comp sci guy.

However I do wonder since the magic that Glowforge servers do is basically like a manufacturing house (minus the machines) provide easy to use CAM and NC program/motion control the machines to print and lots of other awesome things, does this mean all users of the machines have a blanket NDA with Glowforge? I’ve dealt with many mfg houses and most either have a statement on their website about proprietary information or have to sign an NDA with the mfg house before any designs are sent.

Dan, is there somewhere on Glowforge or Google servers that would have the same sort of guarantee for users when sending our designs to the cloud? Or, like might be the case, is it implied that there is a risk when using the Cloud service?

I personally like the cloud idea to help since I’ve used hardware like octoprint and a smoothstepper (with ethernet) so I understand the importance to users who need to multitask and offload the cpu power to do other things but the fact that we don’t have control of the server physically probably is the big point with people. The octoprint and smoothstepper are physical things that I have control of on an intranet not connected to the internet. However, bottom line is for everyone if someone really wants what you made, if they even know what the flat patterns are for or how to assemble them, then you might not be hiding your designs well enough. That statement of course doesn’t apply to most professions, just something I think is true for engineers. And to add to that, like any business out there if someone really wants your design but not as fast then they could easily just buy the product later and reverse engineer it like most anything now a days.

I hear your requests that you’d like the server software to be open, supported, and locally run-able. I’m not going to say no, but it’s not our plan right now, and if it’s a requirement for you to be happy with your machine, then I’m afraid we might not be a good fit for you. I want to be honest about where are priorities are at because I don’t want you to have a Glowforge unless you’re going to love it, even if that costs us sales.

@markwarfel: Most jobs fit in a local cache, so if you lose connection, it finishes. For big jobs, it reaches a pausing point, then stops until it can reconnect.

@sl33pydog: You raise an excellent point. We should be absolutely clear that unless you tell us otherwise, we’re legally committed to keeping your designs private, and Glowforge can’t do anything with them except send them to your (and only your) printer. I’m going to have our attorney make sure that we have language to that effect before we launch. Thank you for bringing that up.


Personally, I don’t care if the server software is open. Yeah, that’d be nice, but whatever. I do think it should have some offline functionally that doesn’t require the end user to destroy their warranty by reflashing the firmware (so it doesn’t have to be your fancy package - just the ability to control it offline would be great). Even if it’s basic stuff for advanced users.

I really think you guys are underestimating how stable internet connections are, even here in north america.

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The open source lasersaur project handles this pretty well using a local server running on a Beagle Bone Black with a nice REST API now included in the alpha branch. Would be trivial to host the active job or last couple jobs locally using something similar and sync with your cloud servers for any intensive processing or toolpath calculation that needs to happen.

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I understand the ideology behind potential convenience of cloud based communication with the Glowforge, but it seems like you will be alienating more advanced users who want more customizable choices and options. I pre-ordered a Pro Model and am very excited to get my hands on this laser for a lot of reasons. But I’m pretty wary of the fact that this would be a $4000 paperweight if my internet connection goes out (which believe it or not happens semi-regularly enough). For someone running a business or large jobs it’d be nice to have a guarantee that we can run the laser locally without an internet connection if necessary.

I’m curious @dan what the disadvantage on your end is for the Glowforge to be capable of being run locally by its user?

@dan Something that’s been glossed over, you mentioned deleting a design from our profile, will it actually be deleted from your servers or merely not displayed in our profile? I would really prefer to know that once I delete something it is deleted either immediately or in some pre-defined period of time.

Seems like you might be setting this up so we can also select some of our projects in our private storage, to also be public. Kind of like YouTube with private and unlisted videos vs the public videos. Maybe we could also set a price on them to download them?