OpenGlow Prototype 2 - Schematics

In case anyone is interested…

OpenGlow_P2-R1_2018-07-23_DRAFT.pdf (752.3 KB)

What’s working:

  • All fans (exhaust, intakes, air assist, lens purge), and their tachs (if they have one)
  • Coolant temperature* and flow sensors (including heater)
  • Water Pump and TEC
  • Temp sensors on the Interconnect, TEC*, and power supply*
  • Lid accelerometer
  • X, Y and Z stepper control
  • Playback of GFUI generated pulse files
  • Lid and Button LED’s
  • Safety Interlocks (lid and external)
  • Wireless LAN
  • USB Host Port
  • USB On-The-Go/Bricked Device Recovery Port
  • USB Serial Console Port
  • Aux I/O’s
  • Lid IR sensors*

*I can read them, I just can’t tell you what they mean

What isn’t Working:

  • Lens homing sensor (I just need to write the driver)
  • HV/Laser Control
    (was working, then I shorted a pin with a test probe, now no joy. Working to fix)
  • Bluetooth (hasn’t been a priority - but I’ll get to it)
  • Cameras

I’m going to try and get the first ‘public’ prototype ready to ship this weekend. It’ll come with the drop in head replacement board prototype. I’d prefer the first person to get one to be someone who has access to a scope. If you fit the bill, send me a PM.


One bloke working from a reverse engineer and STILL able to get sh!t done faster than the entire Glowforge company
Oh… and he actually communicates too

Kidos to you @ScottW514


A lot less board revisions to get there as well.

My guess is the lid IR sensors are for detecting fires. What IR source did you test them with?

The Lid LED’s seem to put out enough light in the IR spectrum that they are picked up by the sensors. I verified that they are responding to the light emitted by the LEDs by covering one of them with foil tape, which it caused it not to respond to the changes in LED intensity.

I haven’t watched them while the unit is running, so I am not sure how much they respond to changes in light caused by the motion of the head/gantry or to the laser itself. I also haven’t tested them with actual fire yet, either. I can’t comment on their utility, yet.

Well, I am more or less just trying to make a compatible board rather than design the whole thing from scratch. So, I get a bit of a head start… That being said, I do have at least one more set of revisions coming for the main board and at least a couple for the head board.

Did you see!! The GFUI finally has metric!! :roll_eyes:


Keep on keepin’ on, Scott. We appreciate your efforts!


Back when i cared i kept a whole list of Dan-quotes. Mostly for my own frustration-then-amusement but also for the occasional inciteful rebuttle.

One of the best was about how Glowforge had people on staff from all the top tech companies (insert: namedrops) and thus how easy it was going to be for them to stay on top of things as the system evolved… i think the lightning speed of the Metric deployment shows they are clearly employing the creme de la creme


I think it may be less about talent, of which they seemed to be busting at the seems, but more about management.

An eye opener is to look at the Glassdoor reviews (you may need to be a registered user to see most of them).

A sampling:

The product is amazing. The people you work with are brilliant, talented, and friendly. Pay is OK, and health insurance is great. Free lunch every day.

Top down micromanagement culture. Lack of transparency to real metrics across the company. Lack of clear objectives or growth opportunities for individual contributor.

Advice to Management
Stop, and listen to the people who are departing. If they are willing to leave despite a great product, team, perks, etc. there is a good reason.

The people are great. Everyone is really smart, nice to work with, and they care about the customer and the product. People don’t lose their temper and they all handle stress well. The pay and perks are good. For a while they were pushing pretty long work hours, but it seems to have mellowed out some. The product is great and the customers love it. I think the company is going to be a huge success.

I’ve worked at big companies and small companies, and I’ve never experienced such a top down management style. People are constantly waiting for orders, permission, or approval from higher up. Managers and even execs don’t have the authority to approve most things, so it often has to go to the CEO. It feels slow and feels like the people making the decisions don’t take time to make them well. Some people try to sneak work through without permission (do first, ask forgiveness later), but usually they get caught. Some people just check out. A couple of engineers who used to work really hard are 9 to 5ing it now. It’s hard to quit because the people and product are so great and I think the stock options are going to be worth something someday. A lot of other software people are job hunting.

Advice to Management
You should be proud for hiring great people and creating a warm and diverse culture. You should trust and respect your people a lot more, both managers and non managers. You should also go talk to your team to learn how many of them are frustrated or maybe what they’d say are the pros/cons to a friend who was considering applying. This is a widespread problem that is hurting morale, slowing things down, and even hurting our ability to hire. Getting feedback might be hard, because a lot of people worry about getting fired or shut out if they are critical.

-Best people I have ever worked with. Seriously, we hire top talent
-You get to work with lasers. Amazing.
-We have the best customers
-Glowforge will succeed as a company. It’s an amazing idea and Dan is very smart at marketing it
-Culture and values are pretty cool

Although we hire top talent, a lot of decisions are micromanaged. The entire org is very smart, including Dan and the senior executives, but they also tend to want to be involved in everything. This makes getting features out extremely slow and frustrating, and causes us engineers to redo a lot of work as well as ship incomplete features. After we ship, we never iterate.
Been here two years, and after shipping units, I expected us to have a roadmap and direction. Instead it feels like we’re just grabbing the next hottest and loudest thing. When we had a “Product overview” meeting, the first 30 minutes was filled with marketing and strategy, and we ran out of time to answer questions. We were promised a follow up, and it never happened.

Advice to Management
Honestly, just listen. We’ve been begging for a followup to talk about our roadmap, we’ve been begging for anonymous questions during all hands, and we’ve been begging for a company survey. You’ve been telling us that if we tell our supervisor how we feel, that we’ll get questions answered. However, many people in the company don’t feel comfortable doing that. You will get a wealth of knowledge about the true feelings of the company if you did any of the above things. At least have an anonymous direct line to the executive team.
Another piece of advice: Allow people to grow into their space. As soon as I’m close to getting done with one feature or bug, I’m pulled off to do something else. The engineering org is great, but I don’t feel like I’m working with others much (other than PR’s), and wish that I knew what we are doing. I also feel like our leaders are capable, but get hindered by micromanagement or a change in direction sporadically. Having stakeholders and a defined goal from the start would be a huge benefit.

Notice a theme?


Wow… that is incredibly inciteful and if i was involved in an entity that was getting feedback like that i would be pulling the alarm bell

There seems to be a lot of love for the product and the company, but those processes would give me nightmares on either side of the divide.

Over here there tends to be ‘design by committee’ - that committee is usually so divorced from its users that the product fails on most levels.
I do not think i have seen something that could be clearly described as ‘designed by marketting’ (based on the anecdotal evidence)

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Wow. Dan really needs to delegate responsibility and stop micromanaging everything. (Or move aside completely and allow someone else to run the company.)


What I can’t fathom is what is actually being micro managed. Project management is the worst I have encountered (apart from one project manager I heard of that resigned at the project end date because it hadn’t even been started) .The progress seems geologically slow as if nobody is actually working on it. And despite having all that top talent there are some very bad engineering mistakes and no sign of any of them being corrected.

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I’ve seen orgs where there is so much randomization of the team, that very little gets done. But even in my wildest imagination, I can’t comprehend something so bad that all these awesome people took a year and a half to crap out a metric ruler at the top of a web page.


I know that nobody here really believes all that talent is just sitting around burning time stuck in a micromanaged loop.

They raised another $10 million just 3 months ago. Do you think investors would pour more money in just to keep them afloat while they try and finish the product they’ve already shipped and recognized the revenue from?

Nope. Not a chance in hell.

There is simply no revenue from the existing model. I’m sure sales are tepid, at best. It’s expensive and lacking the features that set it apart. You can do everything on a cheaper Chinese laser that you can do on a Glowforge. Not to mention the direct competitor on the horizon - Dremel.

I’ll eat my hat if they don’t come out with a whizbang new Glowforge 2 (probably before whatever the date is that the filter eventually slips to) that does everything Glowforge 1 was supposed to do, but better. They’ll announce some big discount for pre-orders, and give all the current owners a discount.

Buried in Dan’s announcement will be the fact that they are ceasing development on the old Glowforge, but they’ll still support it in the cloud. Maybe he’ll claim they will still deliver on all the promises, but know how much we can trust Dan’s word.

This is likely why they keep pushing the filter off, too. Why make a small production run for a filter that people keep cancelling? If the filter ever shows up, it will be manufactured for the new model. Not the old. “Want a filter? Upgrade!! We’ll give you a discount!!”

“Live in a country we haven’t yet shipped to because it is super expensive to make the old model compliant? Pre-order the new model instead!! We’ll give you a discount!!!”

Everyone on the official forum will rave about how wonderful the new model is, and stomp down anyone who shows up to complain.

Of course, the new model will be delayed and delayed, lack many of the promised capabilities, and have fundamental design flaws that make it a nightmare maintain…

Glowforge redux.


My PERSONAL opinion is that Dan is hoping that non-EU pre-orderers cancel.

He offered a 5% extra on the money refunded to those 10 countries they could not deliver to.

I dont think he wants to offer that to the rest of us.
If he did not want to burn the GF brand to these countries (or salvage what little good-will remains) he would offer the, now substantial, $20/month bonus as an extra cash discount or as extra discount on the newer machines.

Again IMHO, you are right on the money about their business model… it just cannot deliver. As times goes on their costs will continue, if not increase, and they have no reliable revenue stream post-sale.
(Yes i know about proofgrade but i dont think it is going to be effective or reliable enough against competitors products)


Yes, I am increasingly believing you are right on that. A new GF, or some new product, is the only thing that makes sense once you realize the problem isn’t that they have an understaffed engineering team.

This is giving me grief. Some days, I just want to chuck this whole thing in the trash.

I’ll pick it back up tomorrow…



I have worked in software a long time and have seen first hand many kinds of dysfunction. My first guess for Glowforge has always been a micromanagement cultural problem, and so those Glassdoor reviews are exactly what I expected.

I mean… The CEO spends time flagging posts on the forum. That is not the best use of his time.

The worst company I ever worked at was also the most successful, in terms of revenue anyway. We pulled in $1M per day. And that was under a CEO that literally micromanaged the color of buttons. He constantly roadblocked new efforts because he was afraid to try new things. And not just high-profile, risky new efforts… Trivial, inexpensive new efforts. It’s where I learned the term bikeshedding.

If that CEO could have found the strength to go play golf 4 days a week and let us do our jobs, we’d have made him twice as rich. Instead, he worked hard to hire good people, and then worked twice as hard to sabotage them.

I truly believe that Dan wants the best for the company, product, and customers. But that isn’t enough. You have to do the hard work of stepping back and doing less work, too.

And sadly any new product will have exactly the same problems as the old one. The details of what’s wrong will differ, but until the team is let off the leash the core problem will remain.

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And the new model will probably have some sort of external cooling, external vent fan, end stops, and a proper air assist system. The KA Kids will applaud the fantastic innovation that any of those features brings to the lasing world.


BDM??? Where do I recognize your user name from? Are you the Mastermind behind the JTNT?