July 2023 Monthly Update: It's a big day here at Glowforge!

You’re busy. This post is long. Here’s the good stuff.

  1. We’re launching Glowforge Community Chat that appears while you’re printing, and you can access from anywhere.
  2. We have a ton of new Proofgrade materials for your Glowforge, including Iron-On that lets you create custom clothing.
  3. We have 500 new catalog designs, plus a celebrity collection from Lia Griffith.
  4. We have two new free starter designs.
  5. We made this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2kdLr1-hjk

OK, now - for the details. Strap in. I’ve got lots to share.

Is your Glowforge a toilet plunger or an iPhone?

When Mark and I founded the company, we talked about what kind of company we wanted to be. We divided hardware companies into three categories.

First are toilet plungers. If you sell toilet plungers, you hope for two things. First, that your customer buys your toilet plunger. Second, that they never talk to you again. Because nothing good ever comes from a customer who wants to talk about their toilet plunger.

Second are iPhones. The iPhone business model is based on one simple goal: to convince you that the iPhone they sold you last year is trash, and you should throw it away and buy a new one this year. You can make gobs of money by selling hardware that you obsolete every year, but it wasn’t something we felt good about.

But there’s a third way: Nintendo consoles. Nintendo launched the Wii in 2006, and concluded sales more than a decade later, in 2019. They launched the Switch in 2017, and it will probably be going strong for another half a decade at least. If you buy a Nintendo product, you get to enjoy your product for years. They support you with software improvements and new content, which is one of the reasons they’re so beloved.

We don’t want to be a toilet plunger. And really, we don’t want to be an iphone either.

And today is a great example of this.

As you know, we’ve constantly rolled out new features and services for your Glowforge, the same way Nintendo releases content. Higher print speeds, alignment and positioning tools, and the Glowforge Premium set of designs and benefits, to name a few.

Today, we’re announcing some new hardware - the Glowforge Aura. But we’re also reflecting our commitment to you and your Glowforge with a host of new benefits and products that will give your Glowforge new powers and abilities.

Let’s jump in.

Glowforge Community Chat, featuring live support, helpful bots, and introducing Emily Huh

At Glowforge, we have an informal motto: “WHTBC”. We have the best customers. And it’s true. The community around Glowforge is unlike any other.

To date, the Glowforge Forum at community.glowforge.com has been the best place to see that in action. Tens of thousands of Glowforge owners visit regularly to talk, share stories, get tips, and more.

The forum is fantastic, and it’s not going anywhere. At the same time, we’ve heard many owners ask for better ways to connect and learn about their Glowforge.

And, personally, once I hit the “print” button, there’s nothing I would rather do than share my excitement with kindred souls!

So, we’re introducing something new - Glowforge Community Chat. While you’re printing, you’ll see the conversation in the community chat happening in realtime. And for the full experience, you can join the Glowforge Discord server.

Discord is one of the most popular chat communities in the world with over 350 million users. But this Discord is just for us - only Glowforge owners can post. And we’ll be in there with you. You’ll find Glowforge employees hanging around, and especially watching the “help” channel, where you can get assistance from other Glowforge owners or from Glowforge staff.

We’re also creating helpful Discord bots to assist in chat - experts on various things Glowforge, to offer advice and pointers on even unusual and esoteric topics.

But most importantly, I’m excited to introduce you all to Emily Huh, our new Head of Customer Innovation. Emily’s full time job is working with Glowforge owners like you to make your Glowforge experience even better.

I say “introduce” but Emily’s actually been a part of Glowforge longer than almost anyone. She is one of the original investors in Glowforge, back in 2014. And she’s been a close personal friend since she was part of the founding team at humor site Cheezburger - I can’t think of anyone in the universe better suited for the role.

So - fire up a print, and click the “Don’t miss the conversation” button to come join us!

So many amazing things to print

During our 2023 annual customer survey, we asked 637 of you a host of questions about your Glowforge. One discovery? 96% said you like to print designs other people have created. I mean - me too; I love designing stuff, but sometimes it’s amazing to just hit print and kick back!

To support that, we’re adding over 500 new designs to the catalog this week. These are all available for one time or unlimited use, commercial or personal, and they’re all free if you are a Glowforge Premium member.

To see them, head over to the new Graphics collection in the Glowforge Catalog.

And on top of that, we’re adding a new section - the Lia Griffith collection. You’ve probably heard of Lia - she’s an incredible designer, maker, artist, and author. Lia and her team have developed thousands of templates, designs, and tutorials for crafters of all kinds. You can see more of her incredible work at LiaGriffith.com.

Finally, we’re adding two new free designs for everyone - a paper gift box and a paper-plus-plywood tea light. They’re both beautiful!

Oh - one more thing. You’ll see that some of the designs are labeled with “Glowforge Performance Series Only”. That means that they’re perfect for your Glowforge Basic, Plus, or Pro - but they cannot be printed on the new Glowforge Aura. (More on that shortly!)

New materials to create with

One of the most popular crafting materials in the world is iron-on Vinyl. The only problem? Vinyl’s made with nasty chlorine, which is bad for the environment and will instantly destroy a laser.

Eco Iron-On to the rescue!

Eco Iron-On is a new material to create with. It works just like classic “heat transfer vinyl”, but it’s better for the environment and for your laser. It lets you create custom designs for fabric sweatshirts, ceramic mugs, and metal water bottles. You just need to score your design, remove the excess material, and heat it to bond it to the surface. We’re selling it in 3-packs including white, primary red/blue/green, pastel pink/blue/beige, and shimmer silver/gold/pink. Our family loves this stuff.

We’re also releasing a new line of acrylics that are even better for jewelry and decorative applications, because they’re only 1/16th of an inch (1.5mm) thick. That makes them lighter, faster to create with, and easier to work with. They’re available in 12”x12” (30x30cm) sizes.

And one more thing…

Please meet the latest member of the Glowforge family… Glowforge Aura.

The Glowforge Aura is available right now at Michaels and JOANN stores across the country for just $1,199 - you can find the closest store here.

We’ll also be airing on HSN today - most likely around 5pm PT, although their airing times can vary since it’s live TV.

You can read all about Aura here, but let me give you the key bits you’ll need to know. Aura is a craft laser - affordable, portable, and adorable. It’s our new entry-level option.

But as excited as we are about the new product, your Glowforge is better in every way. Compared to the Aura, your Performance series laser is:

  • About 7x as powerful
  • About 5x-15x as fast
  • Almost 2x as big (12x20 vs 12x12)
  • Cuts through material about 2x as thick
  • Able to cut through clear materials
  • Designed to support a classroom or business (Aura’s only designed for personal use)
  • Able to print unlimited size files for free (Aura supports up to 100k files unless you subscribe to Glowforge Premium)

That said - if you know anyone who simply hasn’t been able to afford one of our Performance models yet, Aura might just be perfect.

A small request?

We’re going to keep working hard for you, making your Glowforge better. Aura is going to be a big piece of that - since it shares software with your Performance series laser, it means we will have even more resources to innovate.

So there’s one thing that would really help move that forward: could you share the Glowforge Aura launch video with your friends and family? We think it’s delightful, and getting the word out early really helps.

Here’s the link again to share:

Thank you for everything. I can’t wait to see what you’ll create!


Update: We wanted to share some amazing press mentions from today’s Aura launch!

  • USA Today: “I’m confident in saying that this new model is going to make a lot of crafters out there very, very happy.”

  • SlashGear: “Nothing has come close to how user-friendly, safe, and approachable the Aura is.”

  • GeekWire: “It’s ready to work right out of the box.”

  • CNET: “It’s clear this is something you’re going to see in the background of many home crafting workshops.”