For all its promise, the 3-D printer is not perfect. Sure, it’s great for creating prototypes or small personal items or parts, but it simply cannot do everything. Those who want to dive into design or embellish their creations, or even use materials like leather, wood, or cloth need something more refined, more accurate and versatile. They need a laser cutter.
Industrial use of laser cutters began as early as the 1960s. After decades of manufacturing work, the machines became smaller and less expensive but still not exactly user friendly. That may change with Glowforge, a machine with a relatively low price point and simple user interface design that may help democratize this tool.
“If you wanted to make something before the Industrial Revolution, you found the materials to make it—and the result was durable, beautiful, and exactly what you wanted,” Glowforge co-founder and CEO Dan Shapiro says. “We gave that up when we went to factories. I want to reinvent the notion of homemade and put the factory on the desktop.”
Glowforge just announced a $9 million Series A funding round, which includes participation from two former MakerBot CEOs, Bre Pettis and Jenny Lawton. The machine is geared for an early December release with a price tag under $2,500.