On January 9, 3D-Printing firm Glowforge announced the release of a new line of state-of-the-art materials designed to be used together with its celebrated 3D laser printer.
According to Bailey Nelson, a Senior Marketing Manager at the Seattle-based startup, CEO Dan Shapiro came up with the idea for the product, called Proofgrade™, which was built by the firm’s operations team and laser design experts.
Although Proofgrade™ was not crowdfunded like the Glowforge 3D laser printer, it was well-received by participants in the Glowforge Beta program. Nelson attributes its success to features such as “smart” QR codes which allow for fine-tuning of the product and hardwoods and leathers sourced from “the highest quality standards.”
(A Glowforge press release distributed via Business Wire notes that the materials are also compatible with other CO2 laser cutters and engravers.)
The new product is currently only available to Glowforge customers via Proofgrade.com, but Nelson stated in an email that it will soon be purchasable by all.
“We’ll continue to expand the range of Proofgrade material offerings,” she said, “and plan to open the store up to the public.”
Print-buying is often a difficult task for people new to business to wrap their minds around, especially smaller establishments.
They are typically unfamiliar with the jargon and conventions of the print trade, such as the capabilities of a commercial printer like the Renton Printery.
The key to understanding print-buying is to have a solid idea of what you want to buy beforehand. It should be a given that you have a PDF file to give to the printer that is properly formatted for bleeds and CMYK. But the three steps below should help you to get a better grip on what you need to know to hire a printer.
1.) Know What Kind of Printing You Want
You should know whether what you want to print is suitable for the printer you have in mind. If you’re looking to print a small batch of wedding invitations, a commercial printer like the Renton Printery is not the best choice for such a job. A better option would be a retail printer such as Staples.
On the other hand, if you want a large mailing campaign, a commercial printer like the Renton Printery does jobs like that all the time, and would be an excellent choice.
2.) Know How Much Printing You Want
Related to the above point, you should know if you want one copy or one-hundred. The size of your order will determine whether you should hire a small retail printer or a mid-sized to large commercial printer.
For example, if you just need a copy of a set of building plans printed out, your best option would again be to go to a retail printer like Staples. But if you want to print out one-thousand copies of a multipage, full-color newsletter, then a commercial printer like the Renton Printery is your best bet.
3.) Know When You Want It
As a print-buyer, you will need to know when you want your order completed. Along with how large it is and what you want, this will decidedly influence which printer you should hire.
For example, suppose you place an order Monday and need it filled by Thursday. A commercial printer like the Renton Printery will probably be able to do the job.
But if you need the order fulfilled sooner than that, then you have two options: You can pay extra to have the order rushed, or you can go to a printer which specializes in printing around the clock.
The chief problem with the second option has to do with the trifecta of Cheap, Fast, and Quality. Regarding a product, you may pick any two while excluding the last.
In this case, hiring a printer specializing in speed to do a large job will be Cheap and Fast, but not Quality.
Also, avoid placing an order prior to a three-day holiday. Huge rushes of orders occur around such times, and yours might get lost in the jumble. Wait a few days, and then order.
There are more gym memberships purchased in the month of January than in any other month, with the month of February bearing most of the corresponding attrition rate.
To the best of my knowledge, this phenomenon is distinctly American, and correlates with our culture’s tradition of New Year’s resolutions.
While you may or may not be serious about shedding a few pounds this year or eating more green vegetables, you are definitely serious about the one thing that’s still going to be there when you finish chugging that last bit of eggnog: work.
If you own a business, you are probably thinking about taxes right now. If you are a small business like the Renton Printery, this probably causes you a great deal of worry, sending you pouring over this year’s balance sheet, trying to figure out what to cut and what to keep.
It may be advisable, therefore, to make a new year’s resolution about your business. Maybe you used company credit cards too much this year. Perhaps you haven’t put as much effort into marketing as you should have.
Whatever ails the old store, you should approach a new year’s resolution for your business much more seriously than how you might resolve to buy and use a gym membership.
As with all goals, you should be able to measure your resolution’s success, or lack therefore. Also come up with a specific definition of success, and perhaps work with a partner to keep you accountable. Two heads are better than one, especially in a business venture.
My new year’s resolutions for the shop are to attend a networking event every month this year and to watch two Lynda.com instructional videos a day every weekday.
With luck, I will remember to follow my own advice and to deliberately approach this task with a sober mindset. I wish the same to all of you!
Marketing Director at the Renton Printery. Providing advice on print-buying and business, along with notes on the state of the shop.