Joe Otto is closing his 3D printing shop next week - Technical.ly Delaware

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Apr. 20, 2016 12:04 pm

Joe Otto is closing his 3D printing shop next week

Bummer: Newark's Sovereign Air is shutting down April 30.

A couple of 3D printers in the Sovereign Air shop in Newark.

(Photo by Lindsay Podraza)

Joe Otto has become a familiar face in Delaware’s tech scene — he’s the guy who opened the 3D-printing shop in Newark in May 2014 and often brings various 3D printers to demo at events.

Otto has a bummer of an announcement: He’ll be shuttering his shop, Sovereign Air, April 30.

“I think I was probably just a few years early,” he said, adding that while it’s a booming global business, 3D printing hasn’t quite caught on to be a household staple in Delaware.

“I was spending my time educating everybody about what it can be used for instead of actually running equipment,” he said.

Joe Otto stands next to a 3D printing machine at his shop that creates personalized action figures and characters.

Joe Otto stands next to a 3D-printing machine at his shop that creates personalized action figures and characters. (Photo by Lindsay Podraza)

Most of Sovereign Air’s business came from industrial customers, Otto said, and much of that business evaporated when two of the shop’s larger customers liked it so much that they bought their own printers.

This weekend, he’ll finish the shop’s final order, which is for a large automotive manufacturer, Otto said. “That’ll be the last job we’re doing.”

An industrial 3D printer at Sovereign Air.

An industrial 3D printer at Sovereign Air. (Photo by Lindsay Podraza)

Otto, who ran the shop with his wife, Ruby, said he doesn’t know what he’ll do next and that he’s weighing his options. “I spent a lot of time in the aviation industry, I have a lot of useful experience, but I don’t know if I want to go back to that industry,” he said. “We’ll see.”

After the shop closes, Otto said he plans to remain an active part of the tech community, and he might consider some consulting work in the future.

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Lindsay Podraza

Lindsay Podraza is formerly the lead reporter for Technical.ly Delaware in after writing as a contributor. She is an ex-newspaper reporter turned freelance writer who moved to Wilmington in June 2014. The Charlotte native studied journalism at the University of North Carolina, loves proper grammar and has a weakness for sweet tea.

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