Former Gore engineer opens 3-D printing store
— 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
“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.
Matthew Gorton, owner of Printed Solid, poses with a 3D-printed Yoda head inside his new shop on Ogletown Road.
An Ultimaker 3D printer at Printed Solid makes a pair of earrings.