Glowforge today launched its 3D laser printer to the public, just under three years after setting a crowdfunding record by raising $27.9 million in 30 days. The printer, which can create 3D objects out of a variety of materials, is now available to order directly from Glowforge. Just be prepared to spend a pretty penny: Glowforge's basic offering starts at $2,495.
Glowforge works by using a subtractive process to print on leather, wood, acrylic, paper, fabric, cardboard, metal, glass, ceramic, stone, and a number of other materials. You can even use the machine to print your designs on laptops and chocolate. Working over Wi-Fi, Glowforge is controlled via a browser from any device. You can also import designs created in Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Autodesk 360, and Sketchup to be printed. A pair of cameras on the device itself can also be used to scan a drawing and print it on any variety of materials.
"From the very start, we designed the Glowforge 3D laser printer to unlock people's creativity," said Dan Shapiro, CEO of Glowforge. "We set out to re-invent the idea of 'homemade.' What if you could print what you wanted, when you needed it? What if you could sketch a design, then turn it into something real you could use, without complicated software? What if your gifts were personal instead of purchased? What if it was easy to print your ideas a hundred times, so you could launch a business?"
Glowforge is up for grabs in three configurations, each of which is fairly pricey and targeted at different markets. They include:
- Glowforge Basic ($2,495) is perfect for home, hobby, and craft use, and can print beautiful products on dozens of materials.
- Glowforge Plus ($3,995) offers upgraded components and a more powerful laser to print up to 20% faster, plus a double warranty.
- Glowforge Pro ($5,995) is for serious makers, home entrepreneurs, and small businesses. It is designed for all-day use. The Pro Passthrough allows printing large projects, including home décor and furniture.
If you're crafty or run a small business, Glowforge looks like a fun way to bring your ideas to life. And while it's fairly expensive to get started, it's interesting to see laser cutting technology normally reserved for big design shops and factories make its way to a home product.