Wow, oh wow. I want one. So will you. My world and your world isn’t totally hard plastic. It’s both hard and soft. THe Glowforge printer cuts ie: prints, in a hell of a lot less time then conventional 3D printers which use the add on printing method. And it works on wood, cardboard, fabric even food. You don;t have to buy expensive plastic. Just watch this video.
A link to the Glowforge video is: https://youtu.be/ysCaqh38JVQ
For the next 30 days or so, you can preorder this for an almost 50% savings. Read on, my friends, it only gets better. Preorder here http://glowforge.com.
Here is link to recent press release
The first thing Im going to print is a hanger from a classic trunk. I want more hangers and they are just hard to find. Even on Ebay. I don’t want a plastic life, neither do you. And the best thing is the Glorforce printer comes with a ton of patterns. Its both the razor and the blade solution. Soon, I expect others to put their patterns online. And from 20 minutes to a maximum of 2 hours. No 8, 10, 12 hours or overnight waiting for line after line of plastic to add up to a reasonable proximity of your shape. And did I tell you patterns can be created from already easy to use programs from Adobe and others.
Part 1 of the SiliconAlley interview with Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro
What problem does this solve?
While 3D printing is great for prototyping things out of plastic, but it’s hard to print things people really want. Glowforge makes it possible to create things in beautiful materials that have everyday use, like wood, leather, cloth, paper – even chocolate!
We think this really reinvents what it means to be “homemade”. We are giving people the tools to take the project or design they’ve imagined, and create a version of it where the quality is as good or better than what you’d find in a store. Glowforge can be used with a variety of professional design software programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, but it can also work with a pen drawing to create something new and beautiful.
How product came about from experience and problems of others?
Glowforge was born when I was working on Robot Turtles – a board game I created a few years ago that became the most-backed boardgame in Kickstarter history. I wanted to make a premium version of the game from beautiful parts that would really last. I found a CNC laser cutter/engraver at our local makerspace. It was amazing and did beautiful work, but it was so expensive and difficult that I got frustrated. I started asking around and discovered I wasn’t alone – lasers are among the most popular tools in maker spaces, but nobody can afford one! Traditional lasers are usually $10,000-$20,000. I wanted to take all the creativity that was locked behind that price tag and unleash it on the world.
Who are first users?
The first users will be those who purchase Glowforge during the 30 day pre-order campaign, which will be available at a breakthrough price of $1,995, which is half off the MSRP of $3,995. Glowforges will start shipping at the end of 2015 and international shipping is available to over 100 countries. We’ve heard from designers, engineers, architects, artists, entrepreneurs, parents, woodworkers, teachers, and creatives of all levels that they’re ordering!
What’s been hard in moving forward? The reality vs perception, what did you learn?
We’re a society of consumers, thinking only about where we can buy the things we want, not how we can make them; until now, it hasn’t been practical to think you can make something at home that is as beautiful and functional as what you can buy in a store or online without a workshop and years of experience. I used to be an avid woodworker, but finally gave up when I realized that I didn’t have time for the setup, cleanup, and operation of all my tools. I wanted to put all those tools in a box – as well as enough help to get a total novice up and running. And then add paperworking, leathercrafting, and more to boot! That’s what so exciting to me about Glowforge – we can’t even scratch the surface of what people are going to be able to create with it.
What did you learn from what didn’t work?
Our original plan was to build on top of existing devices. What we found was that so much was wrong with existing technology that we had to start over. It was a nonstarter for us to have people aligning optical systems, dangle hoses over their desks, or pay tens of thousands of dollars. We had to scrap everything and go back to the drawing board – even the glass laser tube in Glowforge is custom built for us. But the result is something far more beautiful, affordable, and easy to use than we could have done otherwise.
How did talking to others investors, co-founders, potential customers that made it better?
Every time someone gets their hands on a Glowforge I learn something new about what we built. None of us would have thought of laser sushi, rubber-band-gattling-gun-equipped-drones, or watercolors. But this tool just brings out the best in people! And it comes with a catalog, so if you’re not feeling creative, you can discover beautiful things and just hit print.
Working with Brad Feld of Foundry Group has also been a joy. I call him up and say, “Here’s this problem, what do you think?” And he said, “here’s how Makerbot solved it, here’s how Fitbit solved it.” And that’s it. I get decades of hardware experience in minutes, and it makes my job way easier.
Dan Shapiro is the CEO and cofounder of Glowforge, a startup that’s creating a 3D laser printer. Glowforge’s wireless desktop system makes it simple for designers and engineers to take take products directly from digital design to reality. Dan is also the author of Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook, published by O’Reilly. Previously, Dan accidentally launched the bestselling boardgame in Kickstarter history when he crowdfunded Robot Turtles, a game that teaches programming fundamentals to preschoolers. Before his detour as a boardgame designer, Dan spent two years as CEO of Google Comparison, Inc, a Google subsidiary that operates comparison shopping products. Shapiro landed at Google when they bought his previous company, comparison shopping website Sparkbuy. Before Sparkbuy, Shapiro was founder and CEO of Photobucket Inc. (formerly Ontela).
Dan’s been featured on NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and on the front page of the New York Times. His game, Robot Turtles, can be purchased everywhere from Target to MOMA. He is a mentor for the Founder’s Institute, 500 Startups, and Techstars. He has been awarded eleven US patents, and received his B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.