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Glowforge raises $22 million to popularize its 3-D laser printers, catalog of materials

by • July 31, 2016 • No Comments

Of all the ways to manufacture a 3-dimensional object, 3D printing is yet the freshest, whether what’s involved is plastic extrusion, milling away wood or metal, or the spinning of cells into functional living tissues.

Now, a company that manufactures a PC laser cutter and engraver for home or office use, Glowforge, has raised $22 million to begin weight production of its devices. The beginup in addition plans to roll out a catalog of materials and premium creations for manufacturers of each stripe, said CEO and founder Dan Shapiro.

Glowforge originally ran a crowdfunding campaign on its own site where it produced $27.9 million in pre-sales for its flagship device. It in addition raised $9 million in seed and Series A funding previously.

Founded in Seattle by repeat entrepreneur and angel investor Dan Shapiro — previously the CEO of Sparkbuy, a comparison tech shopping site acquired by Google — Glowforge in the present day employs 35 full-time.

Shapiro said the funding may be utilized for hiring and making, but in addition to assist Glowforge manufacture its new, Proofgrade materials known to users.

The company has created its Proofgrade materials with a coating that peels off after the materials are cut to specifications. A user can draw on the Proofgrade coating with any black, permanent marker and the laser can instantly cut or engrave along those lines, Shapiro stated.

The coating has a UV bar code printed on it that in addition lets a Glowforge instantly switch on the correct settings for handling that material, alleviating one of the frustrations of 3-D printing for new users.

The company has worked with materials scientists to custom fabricate leathers, wood, acrylic and postboard so that they can be cut rapidly, actually if a create is intricate, with high-quality results, namely smooth edges.

Foundry Group and Okay Ventures, early backers of Glowforge, again invested in the beginup’s Series B round.

Foundry’s Brad Feld compared Glowforge to one of his earlier, and successful, investments in the nascent market of 3-D printing, Makerbot.

Makerbot’s 3D printing devices brought futilized deposition modeling (FDM), pretty than laser cutting, out of the factory and down to the PC. The company was acquired by Stratasys for $403 million deal in 2013.

“In addition to incredibly compelling hardware, Glowforge has put a ton of energy into their software and community, that is [a] hallmark of disruption in this type of a product as you shift of high end professionals just to the ‘prosumer,’” Feld said.

The Glowforge has been known one of culinary enthusiasts for its aptitude to cut through edible ingredients like chocolate and seaweed to manufacture decorative sushi. The company is investigating what ingredients it may add to its Proofgrade line if any, Shapiro said.

One of Glowforge’s packages, the Glowforge Pro, comes with an air filter and a pass through slot that allows for users to cut over-sized materials, fundamentally an extra long plank of wood or roll of leather.

The company advises all customers to use an air filter, or vent outside, as laser cutting inherently generates fumes or smoke.

Glowforge faces competition of a spate of 3-D printing devices and “personal fabrication devices” aimed at the manufacturer community, and of manufacturers of laser cutters such as FSLaser and EpilogLaser, that have primarily targeted business users.

To see a Glowforge in action, watch TechCrunch’s hands on video report of December last year.

Featured Image: Glowforge Inc.

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