Design Catalog?

This is really helpful feedback.

One thought: it would be great if they software made it easy to upload the designs, including the photograph of the resulting part taken by the camera inside to GlowForge cover. On thing averse, the presence of a photograph of the printed part is a huge indicator of quality – many uploaded designs haven’t been printed, and likely can’t be printed as is. If glow forge catalog designs automatically included pictures of printed parts, that would certainly creates the confidence that the design is ready to use.

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As far as I can see, anything that is in a catalog must be approved. Someone needs to print it and test it. Then and only then, approve it. And there should be a submission fee of some type. After all, Who is going to pay for the time it takes to test everything? And GF needs to get about 50% of each sale.

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I think anything that’s available in the form of a marketplace for designers as well as a freely shared GPL or other licensable area will be fine with me. My only concerns are that it have plenty of sort features to filter out Dan’s elbow scan, and that there be levels of licensing so people are free to share with an unlimited license all the way up to limited commercial licensing.

I know this machine will be in a lot of homes, but my guess is it’s going to be in a lot of kiosks in malls as well. I also understand that this is going to be a bit of a headache for Glowforge as people will inevitably take files from somewhere else and share them on the Glowforge catalog trying to pass them off as their own. As for me, I will be converting my 3D objects into PDFs with slices to put together puzzles, and I want to be able to sell them at different levels depending on what people want to do with them.

I agree with @Fridgecritter, I also want to be able to sell my designs at different levels depending on what people want to do with them.

I’m concerned with a maker space buying one of my designs and then making it freely available to 50 different people. I would obviously much prefer if those 50 people downloaded and paid for my designs individually. I assume we can put something in a license that prevents this, but people don’t always read/follow the license terms. Having something built into the catalog software that helps prevent this would be very useful to designers.

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Just a note that I’m reading everything here, and more importantly so is @Tony. This is immensely helpful so we understand your needs!


Glad to hear it! It’s nice to know we are being heard by the people who are designing the system. :smile:

I think the idea of an inexpensive “print once no download” tier is critical!
Many people will want to try things out, and many more will only ever want one Catan set/dice tower/Christmas tree topper/whatever.

This also helps with the mall kiosk issue since it means that the kiosk could offer simple access to items without worrying about license restrictions, and also provide more expensive local custom work (since not everything has to be in the catalog). Perhaps there could be a Volume Printer role that costs more but gives a discount across the board.

At the same time more expensive “full download” commercial/non-commercial tiers means that those who want to modify a given design will have the ability to do so.

If there is going to be a free section then user/design flagging along community care and moderation are going to be crucial. The only way that Glowforge could actively monitor a large free collection is to charge access fees, and I don’t think that is what we are looking for. If we have the tools to police the collection ourselves (or at least flag for moderator review) then there is a chance we can limit the number of license violations and thus the quality of the overall catalog.


One thing…some Silhouette bundles came with a set of free designs. They were basic, but they helped you figure out the store, how to download, and got you started with a few designs to play around with. So, 15ish free ones (basic) that do different things and show different capabilities would be appreciated.


I personally like the shapeways model. (I will admit right now that its not a perfect copy and paste to GF use) But here is what I like about it.

  1. Setting up personal shops to sell you ideas
  2. Ideas need to be proofed out before selling (Usually, but now you can buy untested things but they warn you)
  3. Simple fee structure
  4. its up to the individual seller for the ability to download the STL file. If you want people to mod it, let em have it. If not, don’t check the box and they don’t have to buy it.
  5. if a customer wants something close to a product I have listed, but a little more custom (or the rights to mass produce), contact me and we can work it out 1 on 1.

I know this thread has gone way more in depth, but here is my 10 cents on the issue.


Cool idea about “I like this thing but want a custom version of it”.

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Hey there,

I am thinking about the argument that someone has to prove the quality of all uploaded designs.
I’d suggest a feedback system where customers that have bought a Design are able to vote. They could vote for criteria like, qualitiy, price, if the estimated print duration is right, support in Case of questions etcetera.

If you provide such a system I’d appreciate to be able to sort according to the rating of other customers.

Otherwise glowforge has to hire scores of QC/QA guys. From experience I can say that this kind of catalog will rapidly be bursting at the seams.

Greetings from Germany

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The upside of crowdsourcing the validation process is far less time on the developer side, meaning we aren’t looking at a 5 year backlog of un-vetted entries.

The down side is people gaming the system and giving false ratings.

Though in the case of the catalog for the Forge, it should be possible to link votes to GlowForge machines, one vote per machine only. Then you don’t have people making fake accounts to give themselves (or friends or customers) tons of positive marks.

Features I would love to see:

  1. Coupon codes. If we create a for sale model, also allow us to generate codes which give it for free. Always nice to have promotional events popping up on the forums.
  2. Gifting: Really ties into the first one I suppose, but allows anyone to generate a code for a “free” catalog item. Allow us to buy paterns for others to use straight from the store. Yeah… we could buy a downloaded file and send that file to someone, but having them pick it up from the store feels better (in a digital rights sorta way).

Will you be putting up instructions in the catalog. For example, I would really like to make a curved thing like that iphone holder you showed a picture of, but it seems like that would be hard to make b/c if I wanted to make it in wood, like you showed… well, I can’t find anyone who actually sells curved wood pieces like that. Can you really make something like that on a glowforge without having to buy a pre-bent piece of wood?

Are you talking about this guy?

Because nothing in that requires pre-bent wood; it’s all cut pieces glued together.

Excellent suggestions. Re: the phone stand, it’s actually held together with screws, so you don’t have to align the inner layers. Then the end pieces are glued on so you don’t see the screw heads.


That is why you hire a graphic designer to review, edit, and assemble a professional presentation that is relevant to all designers, and just as relevant to a beginner or hobbyist.

I’d suggest that there’s value in letting experienced users view everything, un-vetted, etc. And there’s value in having a curated collection of things that new users can reliably print, which take advantage of the GF’s special capabilities (customization), etc. pulling out things that are validated by an editorial staff, who can make sure that it’s an easy “print” and assemble (or whatever), has good photographs, etc. This collection could be fairly small, as long as they add enough over time to keep things interesting. For people who are really into it, there’s the ocean of un-vetted designs, right?

Wow, you guys have put some serious thought & discussion into this—well done! I’m not sure if this does much more than perhaps reiterate what’s already mentioned, but here’s something I thought of in regards to the catalog as I was scrolling through all of your comments:

  1. My initial impression of the catalog is similar to what you see from things like Envato Marketplace: designers/photographers/coders offer what they make for others to purchase and use in their own stuff (whether personal or commercial), but with a license for a single end product that says they can’t resell the assets even if they have modified it (in this case, the plans for whatever you want to print). What you get from them can either be used as is or if you have the knowledge/ability then you can tweak it to print what you want, but either way you only use it once. If you wanted an extend license you pay the premium fee to use it in an end product that gets sold. In return, the original content creator gets a percentage of the money back. There’s some garbage imagery/designs that come through these sites but the searches are filtered by popularity by default so the stuff nobody buys or wants just doesn’t get seen unless you dig.
  2. As you’ve all pointed out, there’s plenty of options for other ways to buy/sell/purchase stuff outside of the catalog, so it makes sense to me that it’s left up to the individual how they want to distribute their designs/products. For example: people know they can go to Envato to get quality designs, so some designers use it to sell their work. Others sell products or assets directly through their own website or something like Etsy, not to mention giving it away for free. Some use Envato as a way to fund their ability to give other cool stuff away for free on other sites (think instructables in this case). Some use the free giveaways other places as a chance to attract attention to their Envato products for when people are ready to invest in higher quality.

Again, nothing very new or earth shattering here, but like I said, this is kind of the impression I figured would happen with the official “Glowforge” catalog.

Maybe I’m missing something, but with the way the glowforge works (having to go through the cloud) there is no real need to download a file from the catalog: buy and print.

A license works on two levels. 1 - the licensee has an obligation to restrain him or herself to the agreed upon terms and 2 - the licensor has to monitor the world for infringements on his or her intellectual property and then take legal action. In a world where you have to go through a central piece of software to use the licensed property said software takes away the temptation of the licensee to break the terms and a lot of the work of the licensor in monitoring the world.

Issues like, “it didn’t cut right the first time” are details that can be worked out. Customizing a design is where this falls apart as the source file(s) would have to be downloaded (unless we’re only talking about changing the dimensions of a parametric design.) Of course some designers don’t want you customizing, so being able to restrict that through the buy and print model works great for them, while those that don’t mind customizations of their work are in no worse a situation than they are in now by allowing the source files to be downloaded and trusting you to not violate the license. The buy and print model does not solve every problem, but it certainly would clear up a lot of them. Heck, one day glowforge could become the Netflix/Spotify/Amazon Prime of laser cutting.