This is the story of how Thunder Laser Canada came to be. Shannon and Maria Hoover didn’t expect to run a laser cutter company. In fact, they already had their hands full running Fuse33 Makerspace in Calgary AB, but their love of lasers was so infectious, that everyone they met was inspired to get one for themselves!
Shannon and Maria Hoover didn’t set out to become Thunder Laser reps, but they did spend a lot of time around lasers at the makerspace they co-manage in Calgary. For those who don’t know, a makerspace is a shared workshop where people can pay for a monthly membership to gain access to tools and machines they couldn’t otherwise afford, or fit into their home. Many types of makers have memberships at the makerspace, from artists, to small businesses owners, to tradespeople to hobbyists. Community groups use the space as well to create a wide variety of projects like outdoor furniture for public spaces, festival goers create art and installations, and small businesses owners develop their product ideas.
Shannon and Maria met Ken from Thunder Laser while they were in China in 2018. At the time, they were participating in a fashion show with Make Fashion with their lighting company NLiten which makes lighting for sculpture as well as wearable art and maker projects.
During their conversation, Ken explained how the company was using easy-to-find parts to make the machines easier to use and maintain for everyday makers. As a regular user of laser cutter machines, Shannon was intrigued and went on a tour of their factory. Later, at the next Make Fashion event in 2019, Thunder Laser offered to allow them to use their machines to create clothing and art for the event.
Thunder Laser Canada was born during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rules around distancing and shelter in place, members at their makerspace had more time on their hands, some wanted to start businesses, and others were concerned about sharing tools at the space.
From there, things took off! Since then, Thunder Laser Canada has grown a small dedicated team of laser nerds and makers who are here to help you get your hobby or small business off and running at lightning speed (or Thunder and lightning speed?)
Shannon is co-owner of Fuse 33 Makerspace as well as Thunder Laser Canada. He and Maria have built and nurtured the maker community in Calgary (and internationally) for over 10 years, producing countless events and programs such as Calgary MakerFaire, Make Fashion, Artist Residencies and more.
As our lead laser nerd, Shannon works in sales where he nurtures customer relationships and gets people excited about their new laser machines.
Maria is co-owner of Fuse 33 Makespace and Thunder Laser Canada. She is a trained graphic designer with her finger on the pulse of all things ‘maker’. Maria lovingly cares for all makerspace members and Thunder Laser customers she interacts with.
You’ll find Maria behind the scenes processing laser orders and making sure everything is smooth as butter.
Tess is an acro yoga fanatic and certified laser nerd.
You’ll talk to Tess if you contact sales and she will tell you everything you need to know about lasers. She can help you setup the details of your order and get your new laser shipped right to your door so you can start making right away.
Zee Kesler is a maker educator with a love of of hands-on learning. She currently runs a felting company Magic Trout Imaginarium and home decor company Curio Cabin. Previously, she also led the social impact project Makers Making Change where she taught thousands of people how to design, solder, needle felt and make.
Reade is a published author, laser nerd and heavy metal fan. Not only does he serve on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Tool Library, but you can also find him hosting demos of our lasers there and replying to your support tickets behind the scenes.”
Ben is a super maker, problem solver and tech nerd. Ben uses his analytical super skills to help create Thunder Laser Canada’s systems and processes.
You’ll sometimes find him answering support tickets behind he scenes as well.