It’s been just over four years since Digital Reality, Inc. made a rumbling about, what was at that time, the first web-based 3D customization to appear. Of course since then, countless online customization sites for every sort or 3D digital design has been established. Now, Digital Reality is back, with a new plan and a new name for their new online customization portal, KraftWurx. They are currently signing up service bureaus with plans to bring on designers in two to three weeks. However, there is something strange and a backstory to all of this that is sure to add a little drama to the 3D printing scene.

Digital Reality 3D printing service

Kraftwux is launching under Digital Reality’s Digital Factory software platform which is mentioned on their site as being “a revolutionary new approach to Enterprise Resource Planning Software. Designed from the ground up, exclusively for 3D printing.” So, it’s more than just a 3D printing service. Digital Factory brings in production focused additive manufacturing capabilities and platform-independent 3D modeling control.

However, there are some odd bits to this. I received this from Digital Reality CEO, Chris Norman this week:

Houston Texas – October 6 2011.

Digital Reality, Inc. a software and web development company with ties to engineering an product development has announced a new product called Digital Factory™ and the launch of a new 3D print service powered by Digital Factory™.

Digital Reality™ is keeping a tight lip on their product so we don’t know what is under the hood yet. What we do know is that they call Digital Factory™ a “Made-To-Order Digital Manufacturing Enterprise™” software solution and it will be commercially available in 2012. Digital Reality™ is a Solidworks™ Research Associate so we expect some ties to Solid Modeling.

Digital Reality™ has issued a press release and put up some information about Digital Factory™ here:

Digital Factory is being showcased through

According to Chris Norman, CEO of Digital Reality, Kraftwurx is an idea he first started working on in 2004. It was first publicized on Make Magazines website in mid 2007, the same year Mr. Norman started raising capital to develop the software. You can see the original article here:

While we don’t know much else about what they are up to, we do know that Digital Factory™, according to the website is patent pending and that it is apparently a robust software system modeled after traditional ERP tools like Oracle and Agile but tailored for Direct Digital Manufacturing.

I can’t find anything online or on their site that says this is an actual press release, nor can I find any place else that has this or news of it posted. Who knows who all it was sent to. What is it meant to do? Raise awareness perhaps.

I also received this from Chris in June 2011 that dishes a little history on the 3D printing scene and the plans for Digital Reality:

Digital Factory™ is the trademarked name of the business process patent Digital Reality filed in 2006 for customization and manufacturing via 3D printing.

I believe that Shapeways came from Makers Fair 1 year after I disclosed my idea (see attached [below]). Jeremy Toeman and Adam Berg were in California and involved with Makers Fair and Shapeways showed up the next year. They got the web portion pretty much correct but not the system.

I would be happy to have a phone discussion that leads to any publicity later in the year ahead of our launch.

All a bit interesting as will be their take on a 3D printing service, the software the goes along with it and how their system plays into all of it. If anyone has more details on this, definitely shoot over an email.

Here is some additional detail found via the Kraftwurx Facebook page. A flyer detailing the service.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.