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The Future Is Here - 3D Printing
No more plastic with Glowforge 3D Printers
Sreoshi Bakshi
By Sreoshi Bakshi
May 13, 2018

Traditional 3D Printers build things using layers of melted plastic. They are a prototype of the actual product. Therefore the real product will be texturally quite different from a 3D model. The Glowforge 3D printer can use a variety of materials like leather, cardboard, wood or fabric to create the same designs that a 3D printer can produce.

Glowforge 3D printers are manufactured by the Seattle based company of the same name. They make their revolutionary line of 3D printers for both home and office use. These devices do not use the traditional molding technique used by most 3D printers. Instead of adding layers they use the subtractive process. Laser and engraving is used to cut and shape the final product.

Glowforge 3D printers are quite easy to operate. The first thing you need to do is design your product and upload the design file to the Glowforge app. The design can be in any format. Pdf, jpg, AutoCAD, Microsoft word and even hand drawn designs are acceptable. The app will then determine the spot on the material where design will be made. The laser beam that cuts the material need not be adjusted if you use materials sold by Glowforge.

The machine in that case handles the placement of the laser on its own. A lot of verified designs are sold to Glowforge by the users of the printers. Therefore Glowforge has built a strong online platform, with ideas and instructions for new users.

Glowforge was the brainchild of the company founder and CEO Dan Shapiro. He came up with the idea of the printers while designing Robot Turtles, a board game aimed at teaching coding to young kids. He needed a quick and fast way to prototype the pieces and decided on installing a large industrial laser engraver in his house. The Glowforge 3D printers are a compact version of the same thing. By utilizing the technology developed for Smartphones Shapiro has made it suitable for use on a smaller scale.

The company manufactured the first set of these printers with the help of a widely successful crowd funding campaign. Glowforge printers are now being used for a large number of commercial purposes such as building prosthetic limbs, and creating props for cosplay.The prices for the Glowforge 3D printers start from $2495 and go up to $5995. 
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