Glowforge funded to commercialize low-cost 3D laser printers for consumer use

May 24, 2015
To bring their 3D Laser Printer to market this year, Glowforge announced a $9 million Series A funding round.

To bring their 3D Laser Printer to market this year, Glowforge (Seattle, WA) announced a $9 million Series A funding round led by Foundry Group and True Ventures, with participation from Bre Pettiscofounder and former CEO of MakerBotand Jenny Lawtonformer CEO of MakerBot.

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Glowforge's 3D laser printer packages the experience and precision of woodworkers, paper crafters, leatherworkers, and multimedia artisans into a single tool. By re-inventing laser cutter/engraver technology with cloud software and smartphone sensors, creators can go directly from design to small-scale production with the push of a button. The funding goes to growing the team as they hire mechanical, electrical and software engineers in their century-old building in south Seattle.

"For years, people have been talking about putting factories in the home. That's silly. I want a factory in my home like I want a McDonalds in my kitchen. With Glowforge, we're reinventing what it means to be 'homemade': custom, high-quality products produced quickly and inexpensively with your Glowforge," said Dan Shapiro, CEO and cofounder, Glowforge. "The first time I used a laser it was to prototype Robot Turtles, the best-selling board game in Kickstarter history. The technology was powerful, but atrociously difficult to use. The Glowforge is so simple that my kids dash over to make a toy and are playing with the results minutes later. Yet it's powerful and precise enough that designers, engineers, and architects can create finished products that are higher-quality than what you'd find in a store."

Glowforge allows designers to create one-of-a-kind objects, such as custom leather satchels, unique jewelry, distinctive hardwood light fixtures, and decorative smartphone engravings. The Glowforge is compatible with design software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Inkscape, and Autocad. Unlike 3D printers that slowly build up objects out of plastic strands, the Glowforge uses a laser to quickly cut and etch products out of durable and beautiful materials such as wood, leather, foam, paper, and fabric.

"I've been investing in hardware companies for twenty years, from Harmonix to Makerbot to Fitbit. Now we're at a crossroads between the growth of Etsy, the maker movement, and the 3D printing industry. It's clear the world is ready for a device that can create beautiful, homemade products at the push of a button," said Brad Feld, Foundry Group. "I'm excited to back a team of executives with a history of founding six companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars across both hardware and software."

For creative professionals that struggle to meet increased demand for their customized products, Glowforge provides an affordable way to scale their business. For the artist or maker, Glowforge provides a lightning fast, precise, and versatile tool that is easy to use.

Glowforge's 3D laser printer is expected to be available for purchase in late 2015 for less than $2,500 and you can keep up to date on the company's progress via the Glowforge blog.

SOURCE: Glowforge; http://glowforge.com/blog/glowforge-the-first-3d-laser-printer/

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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