QOTD: Will you make money with your Glowforge?

I am one of those depending on my GF to start a business. Curious about how the pass through slot will work. It would be nice if there is a feature to guide the material through the slot.

3 Likes

My GF will augment my growing side business in hopes that it will be part of what allows me to make it a full time business. I do a mix of producing my own designs which I sell in local stores and doing production for other local businesses.

The bulk of the products I’m currently selling in local stores are my designs produced by other local businesses (t-shirts, embroidered hats, postcards). I produce some of my t-shirts and most of my decals. I have been working on some CNC routed products that I hope to get in stores soon. I have a list of over 50 product ideas to make use of the GF.

I currently run my printer/cutter an average of 8 hours per week with an occasional 40 hour week. The bulk of that time is subcontracting production of decals and heat transfers for a local screen printer. Initially, I expected the bulk of the printer’s use would be producing my own designs and producing other’s designs would be a minor supplemental part of the picture. I’m finding I mostly use the printer/cutter to produce short run designs and prototypes of shirts. If they prove popular, I get them screen printed. I’d say 75% of my income from the printer/cutter is producing others’ designs and 25% is from producing my own designs. With that in mind, I expect the same with the GF.

Right now, I market my products through word of mouth, a Facebook page, being in local stores, and having a booth at a couple buy-local shows a year. I just recently joined a buy-local trade group that should open some new doors. On the subcontracting side, it’s mostly through word-of-month and networking with other local businesses. I already have a local jewelry maker chomping at the bit to get some time on the GF and a ceramic artist thinking about how he can take advantage of a laser.

The biggest things I can think of right now that would help me earn money with the GF would be a CorelDraw add-in and a good job log that tracks laser time on each project for billing purposes.

EDIT: I will also use the GF for plenty of gifts and projects for use around the house so I’d say the breakdown will be 20% personal use, 30% producing my designs to sell at local stores, and 50% producing things from other’s designs/renting time to crafters.

10 Likes

Hard to separate ‘fun’ from ‘business’ in my world - pretty much the same.

We did invest in a GF Pro with the expectation that it will pay for itself through making prototype parts, packaging mockups, leather samples, even custom marking some of our Stainless Steel & Titanium tools.

We’d ultimately like to develop a collection of simple, ‘on-demand’ products that we can add to our catalog that we can quickly produce at the time of order.

7 Likes

Will likely incorporate lasered pieces/parts into items that are being sold but I have an informal agreement with the tax man. Outgo will be very close to income eliminating any need for the IRS to hire another auditor.

6 Likes

I’m hoping to make wonderful artwork with the GF, and then sell it in galleries and art shows.

6 Likes

I want to do cool nerdy stuff with mine.
I’ll be working part time until the point I can justify working full time.

I live in a community with a sci-fi/fantasy convention that is growing insanely fast. This year we have Gates McFadden(Dr. Beverly Crusher), Jeremy Bulloch(Boba Fett), and the North American voice actors of Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon Toby Proctor, Linda Ballantyne showing up! Those are only the people who have been announced so far! With a convention like that there are always a lot of people that get into cosplay and I already have a bunch of them looking for custom commissioned leather stuff. In the discussions I’ve had with them I feel like I’ve barely even scratched the surface with what I can do.

On top of that I want to do custom engraved wood phone cases and wallets on the spot at events and conventions (someone brings me an image and I tell them to come back in a while for the finished product) as well as do a bunch of keychains, wallets, phone cases, cool edge lit signs, toys and cool art made with multiple materials and stuff along those lines pre-made for sale. I plan on setting up a store and already have a facebook page set up for my company (shameless plug sentientrobot.ca)
I also want to expand my personals set of wargaming terrain and use that to market custom one off runs for the local (and not so local) gaming groups.

I’m going to combine 3D printed and lasered parts a lot but I think if the business goes really crazy I’ll need to instead do silicone molds of the 3D printed parts so I can resin cast them which takes a LOT less time.

5 Likes

My plan is to mainly work on projects for my friends and family. But i also hope to start making some more thing to sell on the side to help fund the larger project i would love to take on.
Maybe something like make 5 of all the larger projects, one for me and four to sell to help offset the cost.

1 Like

I’m hoping to add more specializations to pieces that I already make with my woodworking hobby and then add a charge for the designs. I’ll also be selling Laser time to try and make enough money to buy more supplies and toys and stuff. I’ll also be doing a LOT of custom work for myself and gifts for family members.

1 Like

I am really hoping to make money with my Glowforge. I have never made and sold items so it’s totally new territory. Too many ideas of what to make at the time, so I need to narrow it down. Plans are to get rent booths at local conventions and see how that goes. Most likely an etsy shop as well. I am happy with my day job, so there’s no big rush for me to turn it big quickly, but the long term goal is to grow it organically into something that could replace the corporate world for me. Based on feedback from friends and family after seeing its capabilities, I will also be customizing people’s items and selling time on it in addition to the from-scratch creation. As i think it was pointed out in a different thread, something to track time for when we are selling time on the machine would be nice. Maybe if there were user profiles that time could be billed to and data could be exported for a date range telling how many minutes (or hours) they have on the laser for that day, week, month, etc.

2 Likes

My intention is for personal use. My wife may have other ideas and want to monetize. My thoughts are that it isn’t much effort to maintain an Etsy shop or something and just throw up anything that I feel would sell. Once the file exists, it’s just a matter of obtaining the materials and time to cut, so it doesn’t hurt to essentially have a “hobby” business. My guess is that Etsy costs money to host a shop… but I’ll deal with that when I have something to sell. :wink:

7 Likes

I think, I would like to make some money with my GF but I just bought it on a whim, when I first saw the " VIDEO ". Laser ? ooh ooh ooh Shinies !I am reading all the chats etc. on the forums…and some of the stuff talked about " hurtz my brainz "but I look up wordz…sooo I am learning !

10 Likes

New Business

I’m aiming for just a side business for now. It would be amazing to achieve a total transition to full time but I doubt that will happen very quickly.

I plan to sell things I have designed, and offer custom projects to customers. Custom engraving is a big one that the local market doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of. I’ll be happy if I can pay off the Glowforge in a reasonable amount of time and continue from there. I plan to market with social media linked to a website, and local adds.

I would just like to see the features currently promised for now. I can’t wait to see the flip feature in action.

3 Likes

I’m planning to make a small business with it along side the Form 2 printer. Im planning to do multiple prints with the 3d printer and making custom made standing base plates for my models. My brother is already working on his models that we’ll be using to print, so we’ll be ready once we get the GF. Really excited for this! :heart_eyes:

3 Likes

Primarily, it will be used for personal use.
My wife or I might end up making a few things to sell on etsy.
I will also probably end up selling time on the Glowforge as well. I have some family and friends who are artists who have already expressed some interest in using it. My mother-in-law does scrap booking and already has some stuff she wants made…I may or may not charge her :smirk:. Also, I’m not too far from Tufts, so I could see selling time to students.

On that note, I want to echo the above comments on Job logging/tracking. I would love to be able to print a report that shows the jobs printed and the time in use.

2 Likes

True enough. There’s a fairly large divide between most people’s skills and software (& therefore hardware) ease of use. Just look at the threads here about tips & techniques for AI, Corel & Inkscape here. And we’re a group that is (or is motivated to be) good at using design software.

GF takes care of the easy part especially for catalog designs. Somewhere down the road I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone modding a cheap Chinese laser and software to do a fair amount of what GF is accomplishing. I’m guessing that’s a 2018 likelihood.

1 Like

My original intent had no business related use.
Though I did suspect my daughter would produce art work to be sold.
The more time I spend in the forums the more my head is spinning with ideas.
Leather products, wood, acrylic signs. I just need to figure out how much time I want to commit and the best way to market my hobby produced items.

4 Likes

Me. Ditto. :relaxed:

3 Likes

My thoughts and ideas have been evolving since I hit the buy button and now I have many things I’d like to try. My journey will be in definite stages, though. A) I need to figure out how to use the Glowforge and learn more about how a laser works…firsthand. After I’m comfortable with use and concept then, B)…make a few things and see if there might be a market for them. If there is, try some selling locally or perhaps on Etsy. It won’t be a big business venture, but hopefully a few dollars here and there. And C), I’ve already done a bit of preliminary checking around my little town here (just under 10,000) and find that there are no laser services here, so I’m thinking I might eventually offer my services to people needing specific things. 30 minutes away, in Salem…the capitol, there are laser services, but this would be much more convenient for people, with less traffic, less travel time, etc. My space is much too small to rent out time, but I could definitely charge for services.

3 Likes

The listing itself is really cheap. According to their site, etsy’s fee is just $0.20 to list for 4 months or until an item sells. Tack on a 3.5% transaction fee and 3% + $0.25 in payment processing fees for a sale.

4 Likes

I’m excited to hear what you’re doing. Or rather, I’m looking forward to it when you are up and running. You’ve mentioned your ramp up plan and getting ready. All the best to you. I bet it’ll take off!