By Anthony Wyatt
Hi-tech manufacturing usually conjures up images of white lab coats, enormous warehouses and international teams of engineers. Instead, for 3D printing pioneers GorillaMaker, local production provides the best avenue to high quality products, motivated employees and close community relationships.
Glenn Warner, founder of GorillaMaker, points to an American flag sticker on the front of a GM3D500, the company’s flagship model.
“We stick these on everything we make,” he said. “We get parts from around the world, but everything that can be made by us in Kentucky, we make. I bleed red, white and blue, and we want that flag to be on every machine that goes out of here.”
From a small workshop near his home, Verona–based GorillaMaker carries on the American entrepreneurial spirit, making state-of-the-art 3D printers for local and national use. GorillaMaker products can be found all across the area and throughout the country, from schools and small businesses to the homes of hobbyists and the factories of large companies.
Three years ago, Glenn was working on a project in southern Kentucky for his IT company, American Computer Solutions, when he needed to replace a costly plastic bracket. “I laughed at the vendor,” Glenn says, “and said, I could make one of those myself on a 3D printer.”
Without hesitating, he bought a printer, made the brackets and sold 600 to the company.
Orders came in fast for his products, but Glenn was relying on 3D printers that lacked quality. They constantly broke and needed expensive repairs, so Glenn decided once again to take matters into his own hands. He designed and built his first 3D printer, dubbed “Lulu,” and has been innovating ever since.
Although production started in the kitchen of Glenn and his wife and co-owner Shelley’s home and took a few months to turn a profit, GorillaMaker now leads the industry and produces more than a dozen machines a month.
GorillaMaker stands out among other 3D printer manufacturers for a number of reasons, not least of which is the printers are designed, machined and built right here in the Bluegrass state.
GorillaMaker individually makes most of the parts for its products, and all of the work that goes into creating a printer happens within the tri-state.
High-touch approach to high tech
Once the products are sold, GorillaMaker remains innovative. “The difference between us and a big-box company is that everybody who buys one [of our printers] gets four hours of training,” Glenn explained. Each buyer receives hands-on instructions about how to use the printers and how to make functional designs.
“I don’t want to say we’re full service, but in the 3D printing market we will do a lot to help our customers out,” he said.
Price and quality also set GorillaMaker apart from competitors. One competitor is Italian brand MakerBot, which retails products for around $6,500, while GorillaMaker sells its printers for $5,500. The Verona company offers an unheard of three-year warranty on all its printers, although none has ever broken and no parts have needed replacement.
GorillaMaker also produces some of the largest printers available, and they include unique features such as anti-stick printing plates.
“If you were a 3D printing guru,” Glenn says as he casually pulls the latest plastic gorilla from the printing plate, “you would almost pass out right now because you would not believe that this just popped off.”
Glenn attributes the success of the company and its products to his six employees and his “perpetual inventory” assembly line approach to manufacturing.
“A lot of [business owners] think that you manage people, and that’s furthest from the truth,” he says. “We manage processes.”
GorillaMaker allows employees to work flexible shifts, and every worker keeps a log of the shift’s accomplishments and ideas for improvement. For a good laugh, there are even kitschy signs above each workstation with phrases like, Wire Assembly: Look the Part, Be the Part.
“It’s not to keep track of anything,” said Glenn, pointing to the daily production sheets. “It’s to empower the employee to be successful.”
This innovation and commitment to workplace ethics has gained Glenn quite a reputation in the business world, so much so that CelebrityPress recently asked him to co-author the book Ignite Your Life with Bryan Tracy, a renowned motivational speaker and professional development expert. Glenn has a passion for helping businesses grow, increasing their profits and most importantly empowering and listening to employees.
In spite of the national and international attention GorillaMaker has received, the company remains committed to helping Northern Kentucky by promoting and encouraging problem-solving. The firm partners with local schools to supply libraries with 3D printers, and it supports the Boone County MakerSpace.
In the upcoming months, Glenn will go to Kentucky State University in Frankfort to demonstrate how GorillaMaker designs and assembles its printers. He will also teach students basic business and manufacturing skills, such as managing internal communication, staying organized and performing assembly tasks.
Even though GorillaMaker sales continue to rise, the company’s motivation isn’t purely financial. Instead, it wants what’s best for the community.
Take Keith, one of GorillaMaker’s recent customers from Ohio, who makes lanyard holders and belt clips for EMS badges. At first, he wanted to buy a printer, but Glenn suggested that he print a few prototypes of the product first. When the products exceeded expectations and demand grew, Keith bought a machine to keep production going. Now, he tells Glenn that he will probably have to buy a second printer soon to keep up with demand.
Growing economy one entrepreneur at a time
Glenn’s business philosophy of educating and supporting clients, students and the community not only fuels GorillaMaker’s sales, but it also grows the local economy one entrepreneur at a time.
“If you can dream it, you can make it with a 3D printer,” Glenn says, “and you can become an entrepreneur very quickly.”
Have a great idea for a new toy, vase or plastic sculpture? Owning a 3D printer of your own or having GorillaMaker print products for you allows you the opportunity to turn that dream into a reality. Anyone can design and print a product, sell it locally or on the Etsy website and start a business overnight.
The enterprising spirit afforded by a 3D printer has philanthropic effects as well. A few weeks ago, Glenn heard about a design idea to make low cost fans for some of the world’s hottest environments. A large board is covered in dozens of small funnels with fans attached to the back, all being powered by solar panels. Due to the shape of the funnels, the air being pushed through changes in pressure and can cool spaces by up to fifty degrees.
Instead of printing funnels himself, Glenn has a unique idea for turning this design challenge into a community project. As he explains, “What happens if I get together with schools and say, ‘Here is a free design. Print this out with your students, send them to me, we’ll bundle them together with the fans and solar cells and donate them to a worthy cause’? How cool is it that 3D printing can change the life of someone in another country, and how cool is it that kids in our country could be part of that movement?”
From a Fortune 500 company to a small-town workshop, Glenn Warner has seen all sides of the tech manufacturing industry, and for now, the futures of 3D printing and GorillaMaker look bright. “Next we’ll have to buy the farm next door,” Glenn jokes, “and then there will be a lot of Kentuckians with jobs.”
As one of the few locally owned and operated hi-tech manufacturers in the area, GorillaMaker’s success has the potential to serve as a catalyst for the growth of similar companies. “Instead of seeing 3D printing as a fad or a toy-making machine, you can make parts for your multi-million company to sell a multi-million dollar machine,” Glenn says. “You wouldn’t be able to do that five years ago.”
At the moment, production shows no signs of slowing, and designs are under way for new GorillaMaker printers that use lasers to create models out of resin and even print using steel. Wherever his company goes, though, one thing remains certain: GorillaMaker will always be locally made, value each and every employee and spread the entrepreneurial spirit.
Glenn Warner will team with Brian Tracy and several leading experts from various industries to release the new book, “Ignite Your Life: The World’s Leading Entrepreneurs and Professionals Reveal Their Secrets to Ignite Your Health Wealth and Success” by CelebrityPress.
Verona, KY- December 9, 2015 – Glenn Warner has joined Brian Tracy and a select group of experts and professionals to co-write the forthcoming book titled, Ignite Your Life: The World’s Leading Entrepreneurs and Professionals Reveal Their Secrets to Ignite Your Health, Wealth, and Success. Nick Nanton, Esq. along with business partner, JW Dicks, Esq., the leading agents to Celebrity Experts® worldwide, recently signed a publishing deal with each of these authors to contribute their expertise to the book, which will be released under their CelebrityPress™ imprint.
Ignite Your Life is tentatively scheduled for release in early 2016.
About Glenn Warner:
From a very early age, Glenn Warner had the drive to understand what made things tick. He needed to know how to make things tick better. Growing up, he saw the dawn of the technology revolution, which only added to his passion for understanding creativity.
Having worked up the ranks of a Fortune 500 company for over a decade, Glenn ultimately found “big business” slow to change. As a firmly established Information Technologies expert, he struck out on his own and founded American Computer Solutions. With a standard for providing the very best solutions for his clients’ needs, ACS took root.
Always seeking the next challenge, Glenn knew there was more to do. Seeing the unlimited potential and endless capabilities in a barely tapped industry, Glenn dove headlong into 3D printing and thus GorillaMaker was born.
With many successful businesses flourishing at the same time, many people asked two questions: “How does he do it all?” and “Can he help me succeed too?” Glenn has worked with many companies that have started out very small and watched as they doubled and tripled their income. Glenn loves working with broken companies to help them succeed as large as they can dream. Over the past five years, Glenn has helped many companies grow. One company had over a million in sales “pre-Glenn”. Two years later that turned into five million. Glenn spent countless hours working with owners and their staff giving the tools they needed to be successful. He believes it’s all about changing the culture so the company can prosper for years to come.
Glenn is a big believer in the BNI concept of ‘Givers Gain’. With that, Glenn will give any company 30 minutes of his coaching for free. Glenn has had many people help him over the years. Michael E. Gerber, the author of the EMyth, changed his life. He took time out of his day to lead Glenn on the right path and gave him the tools to become successful. He not only guided but inspired Glenn, even going so far as to saying he has many books in him yet to be written.
Glenn loves to visit his clients so he can see the progress for himself. Inevitably, they all tell him how their sales have increased as well as productivity. That type of results is what drives Glenn to take them to the next level.
When you first meet Glenn, you will undoubtedly find his energy infectious. In just a few hours, he will have numerous avenues to getting your company on the right track. Even if you think your company isn’t broken, you will find that there are many things you can do differently to make your business more successful.
Call Glenn Warner at 859-918-9900 or visit GorillaMaker.com.
About Celebrity Press™:
Celebrity Press™ is a leading business, health and wellness book publisher that publishes books from thought leaders around the world. Celebrity Press™ has published books alongside Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, Dan Kennedy, Dr. Ivan Misner, Robert Allen and many of the biggest experts across diverse fields. CelebrityPress™ has helped launch over 1500 best-selling authors to date.
Learn more at http://www.celebritypresspublishing.com
Dicks and Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency®
What do you do when you’re 268 miles above earth, no hardware store in sight and you need a ratchet wrench to make repairs on your space ship? If you can download a file and it fits on your 3d printer, problem solved. While this isn't the first 3d printed object made in space, it is the first created to meet the demands of an astronaut. NASA was testing how tools could be printed, on demand, in space.
I remember back when Scotty needed an odd tool to fix their star ship. They had a library of parts to choose from and their replicator would make the part or tool. Will space missions generate tool libraries so astronauts could save space and print on demand? Think of a vast library of parts and tools to meet any needs in space. This could also be done here on earth for ships at sea or even the outback. Like you’re going to find a hardware store in the jungle? With internet and email availability, options are limitless.
NASA provided the STL for download and we printed one out of red ABS. We chose ABS over PLA as we have found PLA doesn’t flex well and is not very strong. Printing took 3 ½ hours with no raft or support and used almost 15,000mm of filament. That’s almost 50 feet! Our testing shows the wrench can withstand 3 inches per pound of torque. Not too shabby for a 3d printed plastic tool.
STL File from NASA : http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/wrench-mis
Thingiverse link to NASA Wrenches : http://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=nasa+wrench&sa=
Width = 33.13 mm | Height = 26.00 mm