The product announcements keep coming as CES 2018 officially opened its doors this morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Seattle startup Glowforge, best known for its subtractive laser cutter, is also attending the show this week, and announced today that it will be launching its highly-anticipated line of Proofgrade materials, specially formulated for the Glowforge machine, at CES 2018. The release comes after the manufacturing company has reported over $70,000,000 in sales for its laser cutter, made in California by Flex.
We first heard about the affordable, desktop Glowforge in 2015, after the unique machine was backed by former MakerBot CEOs Bre Pettis and Jenny Lawton. The Glowforge, which raised nearly $30 million in pre-orders during a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, can cut or engrave many different kinds of organic materials, such as acrylic, cardboard, fabric, leather, and plywood.
Seattle-based graphic designer Daria Penta said of the Glowforge, “I am deeply impressed with the fact that with zero prior laser experience I was immediately able to start cutting my own designs.”
Not long after the startup announced a $22 million Series B investment round, Glowforge announced that it was beginning shipments of the machine; unfortunately, this ended up not happening, and pre-order customers were told they would have to wait until this past summer.
But everything seems to be going according to plan now, and 3DPrint.com had a chance to see the Glowforge laser cutter in action at last year’s CES event. Thousands of the pre-ordered machines have been delivered, and reviews of the machine from new Glowforge owners have been overwhelmingly positive.
“Since having our Glowforge in our home, it has been in near-constant use by the whole family. 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,” said Laird Popkin, an enterprise architect from Florida. “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!”
The wireless, industrial-grade Glowforge uses lasers to create products out of durable materials like wood, leather, acrylic, paper, and fabric, making it easy for artists, designers, and makers to bring their product ideas to fruition. Now, Glowforge is releasing its Proofgrade line of materials, which the machine is able to read, to ensure perfect, automatic settings for each job.
Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro said, “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. 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.”
Part of the success of the Glowforge is that until now, industrial laser cutter and engraver technology has been too complicated and costly for consumers. A major aspect of the complication is making sure you’re using the right materials, which is where Proofgrade comes in.
According to Glowforge, Proofgrade is the first material line to be sourced, encoded, and lab-tested for perfect laser cutting and engraving each and every use. Proofgrade materials are formulated specifically for use with the Glowforge, though they also work well with other cutter/engravers on the market that use CO2 laser technology. Glowforge is not limiting its machines to the line of Proograde materials, however.
Some of the unique features of the Proofgrade materials include barcode technology, which allows the Glowforge to recognize every piece so it can auto-adjust for a perfect print, and a peel-off protective coating, which helps the chosen material look great right off the print bed.
Current Proofgrade material offerings include custom hardwoods, acrylic, leather, plywoods, and veneer. Products made with Proofgrade full-grain leather, which is clear and vegetable-tanned, will last for decades, and wood products won’t have any knots; they are also treated with a durable satin coat finish, to give them beautiful results with no sanding or painting.
“When Proofgrade was announced, I thought I wouldn’t use it,” said Eric Steele, an Indiana-based software engineer. “But I just ordered more last week. It’s just so consistent. No entering of settings. Saves me a lot of time. Just fantastic!”
All of the prices for the Proofgrade materials will be competitive with other high-quality materials sources. Glowforge owners can immediately purchase Proofgrade materials on the company’s online store, though the line will soon launch for all customers.
You can visit Glowforge at CES 2018 this week at booth #9104, North Hall, located in the 3D Printing Marketplace. 3DPrint.com will also be at the trade show in Las Vegas, bringing you all of the latest product and technology news right from the showroom floor.
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