(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.
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.”
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.