3D Wood Laser Cutter Start-up Sets Kickstarter Record: $28 Million
October 24, 2015 | 10:34 pm CDT
SEATTLE -  Glowforge, a 3D laser cutter and etcher manufacturer, says it set a Kickstarter record for highest one month crowdfunding campaign. Its tabletop device for cutting wood and other materials for home furnishings raked in $28 million in pre­orders this month. A robust model aimed at professionals for $3,995 model - meant for heavier use - autoamtically scans original templates and identifies types of materials loaded into its bed.  


See Examples of Glowforge Wood Products 

The strong demand for its laser cutter was driven by widespread demand, and Glowforge's artiful examples of practical applications. 

“We are blown away," says Glowforge CEO and cofounder, Dan Shapiro, who was hoping for $100,000 in revenue. “We hit that in the first day." Glowforge previously raised $9 million in funding from Foundry Group, True Ventures, and executives from Google and MakerBot. 

Dan Shapiro

Glowforge debuted September 24th at World Maker Faire in New York, and is positioned as a simple device that can print anything from furniture to handbags to sushi. It comes with a catalog of premium, customizable, ready-to-print designs.

The 14-employee company says it received pre-­orders for Glowforges from do-it-yourselferss, schools, nonprofits, and makerspaces for uses ranging from woodworking to chocolatiering. Prospective buyers started driving to Seattle from points in Canada and Oregon, says Shapiro, to ask for a peek at the printers, with more than 100 people who came to see Glowforge in person during an open house, while several hundred attended virtually via livestream.


Glowforge exterior (Pro and Basic): 38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″ (965mm x 527mm x 210mm)
Air filter exterior: 38″ x 20.75″ x 7″ (965mm x 527mm x 178mm)
Working bed: 12″ x 20″ (300mm x 500mm)
Maximum thickness of material with tray installed: 0.5″ (13mm)
Maximum thickness of material with tray removed: 1.5″ (38mm) Focus range: 0.5″ (13mm)

Thickness: Varies by material; can cut most 1/4″ (6mm) plywood and acrylic on one side; twice as thick by reversing and cutting from both sides with optical alignment. It also cuts fabric, leather, paper, cardboard, plexiglas (acrylic) Delrin (acetal), mylar, rubber, corks, and paper 

Trace mode scans material with a drawing on it, then cuts and engraves over the top 
Compatible with JPG, PNG, TIF, SVG, AI, DXF, PDF, and many more file formats
Drag-and-drop with live preview to position designs on the material

Glowforge says it plans to ship pre­ordered units in the first half of 2016.  http://glowforge.com


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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for WoodworkingNetwork.com, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for WoodworkingNetwork.com.

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.