Why create this site?

Why create a new forum when there is a already an active and vibrant user community in place?

A few reasons…

  • Many people I have spoken with privately have stated that they simply do not feel comfortable talking about technical issues that may run afoul of the restrictive terms of service that go along with posting in the official forums. Specifically, those that deal with the lawful reverse engineering of the devices that we own.

  • Dan Shapiro, the President of Glowforge, has famously stated that the “Glowforge firmware is user-flashable, so you’ve got both an escape hatch (if something happens to us) and a platform to experiment with. If you buy it, it’s yours – you should be able to do what you want with it.” There have been a few developments since that statement (in September 2015) that have called that view into question:
    – First, the promised “Open Source” firmware has yet to materialize, despite the released firmware being built on Open Source code.
    – Second, on January 31, 2018, Dan announced (no link, because it is in the hidden Beyond the Manual category) that on future production units they would be removing the on-board USB connector that provides serial console access to the board. This effectively removes a user’s ability to gain access to the device for the purposes of flashing the firmware or exploration.
    – Third, in the latest firmware release most of the python device utilities that were previously included in the firmware image were quietly removed, leaving only binary device drivers and binary daemons. Reading the source of these utilities gave great insight into how the device operates. Without them, owners are left to try and reverse engineer obfuscated binary files if they want to try and understand how the device works.
    These three factors alone (there are many more) do not leave many with the impression that Glowforge is still supportive of owners experimenting with the platform.

  • Discussion of a technical nature that are not in line with Glowforge’s official advice are required to take place in a special category called “Beyond the Manual”. That category is only visible to people who have purchased a Glowforge. There are many (and I do mean many) threads in that category that discuss technical strengths and shortcomings of the device and the supporting cloud software. This vital information is simply not available to non-owners and could lead consumers to make purchase decisions without being fully informed.

What will this community be?

  • It will be open. This means there will not be any hidden categories for Technical (or other) discussions.

  • It will be for the curious who wish to explore and expand upon the technical knowledge about these devices.

  • It will accelerate the (currently glacial) pace at which the untapped capabilities of these machines are unleashed.

  • All technical topics will be welcome. We’ll refrain from moderating (unless they’re offensive, illegal, tread on someone else’s intellectual property, are in the wrong category, etc… read the terms)

  • Most of all, it should benefit those who have, or are looking to purchase, a Glowforge brand CNC laser.

What this community will not be?

  • This site and its content are NOT affiliated with or endorsed by Glowforge, Inc.

  • This site is not intended to replace the official support channel, or the community support of the official forum. (If you have a question about settings, or how to use graphics software, you’ll probably get quicker and better responses there).

So, let’s give this a go and see what comes of it…