For­mer Gore en­gi­neer opens 3-D print­ing store

Cecil Whig - - & - By KARIE SIM­MONS

ksim­mons@ches­pub.com

— The say­ing “when one door closes, an­other opens” is ring­ing true for 3-D print­ing busi­nesses in Ne­wark.

Af­ter al­most two years in Pomeroy Sta­tion, the city’s first 3-D print­ing shop, Sovereign Air, has closed its doors, leav­ing room for Printed Solid owner Matthew Gor­ton to take over the mar­ket with a new store on Ogle­town Road.

Gor­ton, who lives in Pike Creek with his wife and two chil­dren, started his 3-D print­ing ser­vice and sup­ply busi­ness online a few years ago when he worked at W.L. Gore and As­so­ci­ates. As an en­gi­neer, he said, he was fa­mil­iar with the tech­nol­ogy, which uses com­puter soft­ware to de­sign a 3-D ob­ject and send it to a printer. The ma­chine then uses a noz­zle to “print” the ob­ject, one thin layer of plas­tic at a time.

His role at Gore even­tu­ally switched to qual­ity as­sur­ance, but Gor­ton missed the cre­ativ­ity of be­ing an en­gi­neer, so he de­cided to buy a 3-D printer of his own and be­gan print­ing ob­jects for peo­ple on the side. The more he learned about 3-D print­ing, the more he re­al­ized his pas­sion wasn’t in man­u­fac­tur­ing things for oth­ers, but in teach­ing and

NE­WARK, DEL.

trou­bleshoot­ing.

“I started find­ing I had a knack for ex­plain­ing to peo­ple how to do things,” Gor­ton said.

He re­cently quit his job at Gore to fo­cus on Printed Solid full-time, and now has a store­front at 2850 Ogle­town Road that serves as a show­room for his website. He sells print­ers, a wide range of fil­a­ments (the “ink” for 3-D print­ers), parts, tools, soft­ware and up­grades, and also meets with first-time to ex­pe­ri­enced users to show dif­fer­ent mod­els, print sam­ples and give ad­vice.

“Start­ing your own busi­ness, it’s risky and it’s scary, but I’ve made the best de­ci­sion that I can,” he said.

Gor­ton’s shop is a re­fec­tion of his quirky per­son­al­ity. The shelves are lined with 3-D-printed Star Wars and Don­key Kong fig­urines, tiny ro­bots, crys­tals, pump­kins, cof­fee mugs, ear­rings, a life-size Yoda head and a de­pic­tion of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. The clock on the wall is 3-D printed, and so are the lights in the bath­room and the stands that hold his busi­ness cards and pam­phlets.

“I sur­round my­self with the things I like to print. I tend to make a lot of the geeky stuff be­cause that’s what I like to do,” Gor­ton said, adding that it’s hard to pick a fa­vorite ob­ject. “I choose to print things be­cause they’re neat, so they’re all my ba­bies in some way.”

He of­fers classes in his shop as well, in­clud­ing one-on-one 3-D print­ing tu­tor­ing for $30 an hour, twohour soft­ware ses­sions for $20, free “Skill Builder Sun­day” classes for ad­vanced users to get help re­solv­ing is­sues and a $550 course on how to as­sem­ble a printer and use it. Stu­dents get to keep the printer and a spool of fil­a­ment at the end of the class.

Al­though Gor­ton’s main fo­cus is help­ing peo­ple make things them­selves, he also of­fers de­sign ser­vices that range from $25 to $80 an hour, de­pend­ing on the skills re­quired for the project. Print­ing starts at $5 an hour, de­pend­ing on the tech­nol­ogy and ma­te­rial used, and Gor­ton said he can make pretty much what­ever a cus­tomer can dream up.

“3-D print­ing is print­ing in lay­ers, so any­thing that can be made in lay­ers can be 3-D printed,” he said.

Printed Solid is open at 2850 Ogle­town Road from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day, and from 12 to 7:30 p.m. on Thurs­day. The shop is closed Mon­day and week­ends ex­cept by ap­point­ment.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY KARIE SIM­MONS

Matthew Gor­ton, owner of Printed Solid, poses with a 3D-printed Yoda head inside his new shop on Ogle­town Road.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY KARIE SIM­MONS

An Ul­ti­maker 3D printer at Printed Solid makes a pair of ear­rings.

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