Design Catalog?

How will the design catalog work?
Will it be free?
Will it have a paid section?
Can user submit designs to the free or paid section?


I also would love to know this for Glowforge’s own materials

But wanted to say that it is very likely many people will upload designs to Thingiverse and other locations as well, if there is not a way to upload and share through Glowforge itself.

Me too. I’m sure that we can download from Thingiverse, etc., plans that can be cut. But it’d be nice if there were a free section to the integrated catalog, with designs designed for Glowforge (e.g. with the slots that adapt to material thickness, customizable, etc.). So the same as the paid stuff, but by designers that want to share freely. I’ve published tons of designs to Thingiverse Customizer, and I’d love to do the same for Glowforge if there’s a way for me to publish CC “share alike” or “non-commercial” licensed designs.


From what they have already said there will be a market place with both free and premium designs. I can’t speak for them but I’m sure that the plans they provide will also cross reference their own materials. So you’ll know just what you’d need to order to
Make what you want.

Kyle: please share where you found info on the market place.


Darrius, I’ve been scouring all thing glowforge over the last few days so I can’t completely remember but I’m pretty sure they at least mentioned it in the tested video.

I’d hope there is a free section. I put my 3d prints on thingiverse. I give all my designs for free.

1 Like

We’re in the specification stage for the catalog so feedback is very welcome. Our two priorities are:

  • Letting creative people make a living selling their designs, and
  • Helping Glowforge owners who want something custom, beautiful, fast.

Speaking as someone who’s spent many frustrating hours on Thingiverse trying to find something I wanted to make, we’re looking to err on the side of “less things, but better things” versus “hey everyone look I 3D scanned my elbow”.

Speaking as someone who’s 3D scanned his elbow and put it on Thingiverse (because hey, why not?) I realize that we’re not optimizing for freewheeling impulse sharing, which is also kind of a bummer.

Of course, anyone will be able to freely share their designs, with or without our software - you can always email a PDF to a friend. So just to be clear, we’re talking about what we highlight in a browsable catalog, not any limitations on what you can make!

Your thoughts and feedback would be most appreciated.


They state this in the ‘Tested’ video.

I think perhaps a paid and a free section for the catalog would be useful; paid could contain anything from just ‘complex designs’ to full ‘make this thing’ tutorials with a listing of featured items while the free section could be the glowforge equivalent to thingiverse with items both ‘in development’ and ‘ready to print’ listed and available for community contribution/remixes etc.

Further down the track perhaps you could offer a laser cut service similar to what 3DHubs has done for the 3D printing world; where someone can make their Glowforge available locally to print/cut designs for people and a way to pick a design from the catalog and send it to your local Glowforge owner to make.

Personally, I’d like to see the catalog be as unconstrained as possible, because all sorts of interesting things can pop up. That being said, Thingiverse has had to deal with the flood of low-value things (e.g. designs that are unprintable). But there’s value in letting people design and share things before they have a printer to validate with - in the early years on Thingiverse the large majority of things were “aspirational” designed by people who wanted to get a 3d printer. Low value, sure, but not zero value.

I’d suggest splitting it into two collections:

  • Make “the Catalog” be a curated collection of good things to print, with good photos, in write ups, etc., so it’s clean and professional for new buyers. Like the Thingiverse ‘featured’ list. This could include both free and paid things - the distinction is quality, not paying.
  • In parallel, have a “Community Catalog” that’s the same structure, but contains ‘everything’. It’d be great to have voting, etc. Everything would flood into this, and you’d pick things to promote into “the Catalog”. This could include both paid and free stuff.

There should be a filter to see only free stuff, searching, voting, tags or categories, etc.0

One thought - if paid stuff can go straight into “The Catalog” - which I am guessing might be desirable - then you’ll need editorial standards, so the photos, writeup, etc., are of consistent quality. Otherwise you could get the catalog flooded with low-quality stuff that people are trying to charge for, which could really turn people off on the idea of paid stuff. IMO you’re better off, as you said, with fewer, better designs in “the Catalog”. Which means you’ll need human beings to review and pick things to accept.

If the Catalog/Community Catalog is integrated into the software even better. Imagine, for example, that someone could draw on paper, scan it into a design to cut, and if they’re happy with how it comes out they could click a button to upload it to share the design and a picture of the object, with the ability to add a writeup, etc., if they desire. Yes, there will be a flood of random stuff, but that’s GOOD!


How about just a simple way to pull a design from say github for the free stuff?

I second @laird here. Give us a curated section of quality goods, and then a free-for-all section where people can upload on a whim. People with great ideas and terrible mechanics become strong community members quickly when they get the technical support they need through comments on their otherwise amazing designs.

Instead of forcing staff at glowforge to curate a catalog from the myriad uploads, you can make it a 3-tier process:

  1. GlowForge official - This holds only designed vetted by Glowforge to work appropriately, and the vast majority incorporate custom capabilities of the Glowforge, like designs which auto-adjust to material thickness, or are meant to be applied to curved surfaces like phones and computers.
  2. Wild West - Every random thing uploads here. Basically a Thingiverse which is just for lasers (it gets hard to find laser stuff over there anymore)
  3. Program Based Curation - Items which are also in the Wild West, but have passed some pre-determined checklist of requirements to be considered “likely to be high quality” - This could be a number of users have actually printed them (easily monitored since the printing software is cloud based. Heck, printer has a camera, so you can even verify that they cut properly before counting them), or a number of users have “upvoted” the design as functional (hmmm… could even only count upvotes from people who have actually made one of them)

I think that’s too much work. Having a two-tiered setup would be fine. Glowforge curated selections, and the free-for-all; a simple rating system would let users separate the wheat from the chaff.


@jrnelson: I have always taken objection to people throwing out the “too much work” argument about projects which are not their own. Because unless you have full technical proficiency in the fields required to implement the idea, and complete knowledge of all backend already in place for the project… you do not know exactly how much work is required.

And of course, since “too much” is already subjective, it would be nice if people said what they really mean instead: “I don’t personally value that”

Which is totally valid. My third idea essentially boils down to a pre-selected filter in a search through the second idea. But with a few extra checkboxes and ratings which may not naturally exist, and which may indeed take a lot of work to design (but again… depends on the backend already in place, it could actually be insanely trivial to do most of the ideas I mentioned)

1 Like

Please don’t put words in my mouth. It’s not at all that I don’t value that. When I say it’s too much work, I mean that I don’t think it’s a smart use of limited time that can be better spent with a more robust catalog - it’s more efficient for them to harness the crowd to do the evaluating, in my opinion.

Moreover, while I’ve obviously never had to put together a catalog of design projects, I do have a little experience with machine vision and the like, and using a camera to verify that a project was properly cut isn’t going to be all that easy.

But you at least see the flaw in that argument I hope?

After all, for absolutely any laser cutter before this one, “it’s too much work” is the exact response that would be immediately tossed to anyone saying “Can we get a camera system to do the alignment for me?”

Lots of work? Sure. Too much? Apparently not.

Having a free “starter Collection” of projects that can be made from simple materials, in order to get people acquainted with the Glowforge, would be a good idea. I like the idea of limiting the collection, so it doesn’t end up like the App store, having so many useless things it’s impossible to find anything useful.


Honestly I think Glowforge should take the same approach as Apple made with the App store. If it’s free, it’s free. If we pay for it, Glowforge get’s a small percentage.

This would also make sense due to the fact you’re selling at 50% discount. You wan’t as much people as possible to get into it so that when you go full price you’ll have a rich catalog, and people wanting it even more just because of it. Also this way they pay for the Google Cloud service which runs the whole software for us subscription free.

1 Like

I think there are many good points and ideas here and it’s always easy looking from the outside at what ‘they’ should do.

I know that I am looking forward to creating designs and being able to sell them. It would be great to be able to share free stuff here but you can also do that on Thingiverse – people already do that or on Instructables or heck maybe it could exist here in the forum under its own section. The one thing I hate about Thingiverse is when I go on there searching for something specific I can hardly ever find it and I am overwhelmed with iterations of the same project or sometime just plain garbage that have nothing to do with what I’m looking for.

I guess if your design is good and there is a possibility of making some money then maybe users will be more willing to do a good write up and take some good photos and to make sure the thing works before uploading.