Glowforge has been selling 3D laser printers since 2015, with more than $70 million in orders. Now it is adding the ability to print with different kinds of materials, dubbed Proofgrade. These materials include custom hardwoods, plywoods, veneer, acrylic, and leather.
With Proofgrade, you peel off a protective coating to expose the print medium. A bar code tells the printer exactly what kind of material is being used. The woods are free of knots and burls, and the leather is expected to last for a long time.
You put the right material in the 3D printer, and then you 3D print your object. You can carve up organic material like wood, create a magnet based on a child’s design, or print a pattern on top of something with a curved surface, like a Macbook Air. You can also pick a pattern from the Glowforge catalog if you don’t want to design your own. The laser cuts and engraves your design, accurate to the width of a human hair.
In 2015, Glowforge set the record for the largest 30-day crowdfunding campaign in history with $27.9 million in preorders. Now, thousands of the printers are being delivered to customers.
“Since having our Glowforge in our home, it has been in near-constant use by the whole family,” said Laird Popkin, an enterprise architect from Florida, in a statement. “My wife is thrilled to be able to draw on paper or in Adobe Illustrator and turn that into real things — she has launched an Etsy store already. My son takes great pride in having designed a stackable box for storing stuff in his bedroom. My daughter has even cut some items while she is away at college remotely, via the web!”
Glowforge has made industrial laser cutters and engravers much easier and less expensive for consumers to use. Now the company is making sure that the materials will be printed and look the way you want them to with Proofgrade.
“You can use your Glowforge to print beautiful things out of dozens of materials. But it can be tricky if you’re not a materials expert,” said Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro, in a statement. “Will it look great? What settings do you use? Is it compatible with your laser? Proofgrade materials solve those problems to make printing as simple as point-and-click.”
Each of the materials, available now, has been specially formulated, sourced, encoded, and tested for the Glowforge 3D laser printer. The various versions cost $4,000 to $8,000.
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