Free Control Boards!

I would be in if you need help with user interface work. I have 30 years experience in creating human interface and human interaction user experience. Either way I would like to help out when you get to that stage.

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I thought the actual tube was different?

From what Glowforge has said, yes it is a different tube. Though, the specific differences (or, lack thereof) have not yet been independently confirmed.

Re-reading my post now, I realize it may be easy to interpret it differently than I intended.

This highly edited version would be closer to what I meant to convey:

Lately, I’ve had a pretty narrow focus as I’ve been elbow deep in the design of the replacement control board, and I frequently forget there is more to the device than just the electronics. :slight_smile:

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4 posts were split to a new topic: Differences Between Pro and Basic Tubes

A post was merged into an existing topic: Differences Between Pro and Basic Tubes

I’m at the point where this project could really benefit from some more developers, so let’s get this going.

Currently, I have the latest prototype board/software working to the point where you can use it with the GFUI, and it is primed for development of alternate/offline control software.

There are a few key areas that I need to test/refine before I can send off a final version to a board house (notably, camera functionality and focal lens homing), but the the current board blanks I have are more than adequate for development purposes.

Making it work with your Glowforge is currently very easy. You’ll need to console into your existing control board to grab your system’s login credentials, remove and replace the control and head boards (it’s a lot simpler than it sounds and takes about 5-10 minutes). You’ll flash in the new bootloader onto your SOM (super easy, I’ll put up instructions), and console into the new board to add your login credentials and wifi info to the config. After that, it will boot and work with the GFUI.

Development from there is similar to any other embedded system, and I’m happy to help get you started.

So, if you are a developer (hardware/software) and you want a free (as in beer) prototype control/head board to tinker with, speak up*.

*These do cost me a considerable amount in parts each, so please be someone who plans to contribute development effort.


I love the idea, the progress, basically everything!
I’d be more than happy to participate :slight_smile:

Sign me up.

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I’d be willing to develop if you still have boards.

Let me know, thanks.

I would be willing to help. 30+yrs of h/w & s/w experience. Recently retired and bored.

I’ve got 5 3D printers, GF, DIY CNC Router and lots of other shop equipment.

I would also be willing to pay for board(s) to cover your cost and some fractional portion of your R&D efforts.

I believe it is really important that this project keep moving forward. One day it may payoff.

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I am willing and able
I have a Basic and a Pro, the later is out of warranty.

Let me know.

Any chance you are still looking for testers??
I have a background in building and maintaining 3d printers, flashing and updating Arduino based control boards. Manipulating and updating Arduino firmware for 3d printers. Basic component level repairs.

In a bit of a holding pattern. I’m working on an RPi variant, and haven’t finished it up yet.

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Please feel free to let me know if you are looking for testers in the future :slight_smile: I would be interested in boards that may not necessarily work with the stock Software (long story short I got a 2nd hand unit with a broken lid. For the life of me can’t find the camera module and the system will not work with that stock.) so I am trying to find alternatives to repairing the unit without having to gut it entirely and replace everything. It would be great if I could find someone with a camera module and ribbon cable that would be willing to sell it. I have tested everything else as far as I can right now without the camera module. And it all appears to be working perfectly. I wish Glow forge would get back to me on just that unit (and not require me to spend 200 to ship it plus repair fees plus parts on top of that… )

What’s the status here? I suggest opening discussion and making an attempt to widen the reach of this project, as it seems that so warranties expire this will become… Interesting.

I put this aspect of the project on hold. There was very little interest.

Instead, I turned my efforts to developing firmware that will run on the factory board. My goal there is to ultimately have firmware that will run work with third party laser CNC software like LightBurn.

Once that is accomplished, I may start back up on this part of the project, as the same firmware will work for both (with a little modification).

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Hi Scott,

I finally created an account over here. I bought a second-hand GF Plus around the start of the year, and although it’s working well now, I know someday it won’t. Not my first cutter, I’ve got a couple K40s and a few open frame solid state units that I run from Lightburn. I also do 3D printing and am getting more adept at using my CNC router.

I’m a software/firmware developer with a decent amount of embedded experience, but I also do applications. C/C++ is my main language, but I am fluent in over 4 billion dialects… or something.

I see that this thread is probably obsolete, but just wanted to say “hi” and let you know that I’m game to help develop some code.

Thanks for creating this cool resource!

I halted progress on the OpenGlow control board for now. I’ve been focusing my efforts on a firmware image for the factory board.

There is a working image over at my Github that has most of the basics to make the thing move. Installation instructions for dual boot are here.

The existing image uses a horribly slow Python based program to control the unit. It currently is able to connect to the Glowforge service and mostly work.

I am in the process of writing control software for it in C. My goal is to provide a REST interface to the unit for third party software.

I went down a rabbit hole, and started developing a full fledged C REST API platform that is driven by OpenAPI v3 schema files. I’m about halfway through that now. Once that is done, I’ll switch back to finishing the control software work.

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This really looks awesome! I’m sure I’ll be able to help out with the coding and testing effort once I get up-to-speed on the basic development environment.

I haven’t taken my machine apart far enough yet to know if it has the USB ports installed or not, but I will start there and maybe add the SD card reader while I’ve got it open. Then I’ll install your firmware image and check it out.

Once I have a working image and am comfortable with the update process I’ll start digging into the code to get familiar with what you’ve done. I’m really impressed with everything you’ve managed to figure out and document.

I’m really excited by the idea of having a G-code API available. It would be interesting if there was a way to operate the cutter directly from Lightburn without having to go through their proprietary sandbox. It’s unfortunate that they require a wifi connection, let alone solid internet.

I’m interested if still available. Also I have a Glowforge system I’m willing to donate for the cause. Brand spanking new… never even turned on.

I’ve put the development of a replacement control board on hold while I concentrate on developing software for the factory hardware. I’ll add you to the list when work on that project resumes.

In the meantime - you can try out the latest alpha version of the software for the factory board by following the directions here.