QOTD: Will you make money with your Glowforge?

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#1

Hey all!

We always expected that lots people would start/expand businesses with their Glowforge, which is why we asked a bit about this in our survey (if you haven’t done the survey, we’d really appreciate it!)

For those of you that plan to make any money with your Glowforge (or are even pondering the idea) we’d love to hear more.

Specifically, are you thinking side business or full-time? Are you thinking of selling items made with your Glowforge or renting time on it (or both)? Is this supporting an existing business or would you be starting a new one? Are you aiming for meaningful income, a side-income, or just a few bucks here and there? How will you market your business? Are there any features that we could build that might make your life easier?

Thanks in advance!


#2

While I plan to use it mostly for my own projects, I think I’ll also use it to generate a few bucks here and there …

I’m particularly interested in making a line of custom plywood parts for R/C aircraft builders. You can make a lot of tiny pieces out of a 12x20 sheet!


#3

I definitely plan to do some part-time moneymaking. I already make handmade books, leather goods, papercut cards, etc., but rarely sell them because of the time they take to build and market. If the laser can dramatically shorten my cutting and prototyping time, I can spend a lot more time designing and selling. Also, we’ll likely rent time on the Forge for things like Mac engraving.


#4

Definitely a minor part. It would be nice if I could clear enough to keep me in scrap stock, but that’s the most I’m expecting.


#5

While my main business plan is a little on the secret side at the moment I will be doing some side gigs and hope to eventually build it to be equivalent to a full time income. All in good time. Marketing will be a lot of word and mouth and online marketing. Will reveal more when I can.


#6

Will be using mine for mostly personal stuff (art) will be attempting to make a few dollars too.


#7

I suspect I’ll probably sell a few things here and there, but I suspect it’ll be mostly commissioned stuff rather than creating stock to sell. I spent my childhood in the craft show circuit (my mom was a calligrapher) so it’s sorta soured me to the idea of making a bunch of the same thing and trying to sell it.


#8

I’ll be using my Glowforge for a mix of personal projects and money-making. What usually happens is that I’ll make something for myself, others will ask for one of their own, and I’ll make a few more. Right now that’s a hassle because I send out for my laser cutting. With my own, I’m more likely to take small orders since I can produce on demand. Definitely at the level of a side project, though, unless an idea takes off.

The first feature that comes to mind to make the side business easier would be job logging. Let me enter details for a job and pull a report at the end of the day (or week or month) to see how much laser time was spent on a particular project. Not just filenames, but categorized by tags or keywords I could enter myself, because a project may have multiple files.

On the topic of losing money to Glowforge, rather than making money with it, I was selling at a local craft show last weekend and overheard complaints from some of the vendors whose businesses are based on laser cut goods. They’re very worried that the Glowforge is going to take away their bread and butter. If laser cutters are affordable and easy enough to use that anyone can, who’s going to need to buy laser cut necklaces and pins from them?


#9

I’m not sure how I’ll go about monetising my GF. One of my first projects will be to build a large scale model of a de Havilland Mosquito. By my reckoning there will be enough different cuts, woods, and sizes to fully test out a GF Pro, wrt wood at least. It had occurred to me that there may be others that would be happy to buy an airframe kit to build their own, even more so if they could see one up and flying.

Accurate re-positioning/re-acquisition/registration when using the passthrough!!!


#10

I have some very small idea’s but if I can think of something to defray initial cash outlay I would shocked and happy enough


#11

I currently make and sell knife sharpeners, I started by 3d printing them but I am starting to cnc cut them and the gf will allow another way to customize the more upscale ones.


#12

I am going to launch my Glowforge into space and use the laser to extort one million dollars from the U.S. Government


#13

Are you going to use your own design or do you have appropriate plans already? Model aircraft are one of the things I plan to create too :slight_smile:


#14

My primary use case is for my class to make cases and structural components for projects.

But I have recently entertained earning a bit of money by selling time on the cutter. The other laser cutters I am aware of on campus are booked 24/7. So if I allow people to pay for time on my cutter, then maybe I get some extra money in my budgets to buy other nice toys for my class.


#15

The Glowforge is only “affordable” to a very small group of people - not only do you need to have USD$2-5k lying spare, but you need to be able to justify spending it on a laser rather than, say, dental work for your kids.

There are cheap lasers, and have been for many years - either set up an eBay special or rent time from a local maker space. And now there are easy to use lasers, too. But cheap and easy is still some way off.

They should still have plenty of success with goods that are actually creative, and which combine a couple of different processes, too. You just don’t want potential customers looking at an item and thinking “I could copy that on my friend’s laser in two minutes”. If it really is that simple, then you can’t really complain when people stop buying it.


#16

I will definately be making money from my investment. I will use it as a complimentary device to streamline and solidify the high quality standard of the work I currently do. Also I will be using it to mass duplicate pieces that I make and use on a daily basis and supply other shops these pieces at an affordable price. I might also get involved in the comicon/collector stores community and capitalize on that also.


#17

Unlikely. I want to learn, and I want it to prototype my own stuff.
But I do know a lot of cosplayers and crafters frustrated with the overbooked lasers at the local makerspace…


#18

My thought is to build a large model, I’ll be creating my own plans but using, adapting and borrowing from designs for smaller models.


#19

It was definitely a business expense. Which is why the December ship date frustrated me so much… I start creating for the Christmas crowd in September.


#20

When i get my GF im going to find a shark and strap it to its head… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh7bYNAHXxw