One of our favorite companies to follow in the last couple of years has been Ilios 3D, creator of such printers as the Ilios Photon, the Ilios Ray, and the Ilios Beam. It’s not every day we get to look at the 3D printing scene on the tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus, and the story of Ilios 3D is an unusual one. The company’s formation was a surprise even to its founder, Demetris Zavorotnitsienko, who simply wanted to design a 3D printer that met his own needs for an affordable cost. When the Indiegogo campaign he started to fund his personal project took off, raising 266% of its original funding goal, he realized he had a potential new business on his hands.
And it’s been a good business, too, with its printers remaining wildly popular. However, it’s a harsh truth that sometimes popularity isn’t enough to keep a company afloat. Maintaining a successful business is incredibly hard, especially when it’s a business you started from scratch on your own, and we were heartbroken to find out yesterday that Zavorotnitsienko is selling Ilios 3D, citing a depleted budget, competition and unsuccessful attempts to obtain additional funding as reasons why he cannot keep the company going anymore, despite his best efforts over the past year.
In an emotional letter to customers, a clearly frustrated and disheartened Zavorotnitsienko explained that it has become impossible to keep up with demand for his products, lacking both the time and money to continue exporting printers as well as developing software and researching further projects. Ironically, while he started the original Indiegogo campaign, his intent was to raise enough money to build a printer for himself, but the response was so overwhelming that he never got the chance to have his own – every printer he built was immediately shipped out.
“Since making these machines begun with absolutely no budget and only the funds collected from the initial IndieGoGo campaign, i always had hopes that at some point i would get the chance to find the funding Ilios really needed to grow and compete with other manufacturers,” he continued. “Unfortunately my attempts to find any funding failed, leaving me with empty promises and pointless discussions. I always tried to create a design without copying work of others and never used technologies from manufacturers which would conflict with anyone’s interests as i truly believe that innovating and making something original is the honest way to do things.
“At this point due to just too much competition, Chinese knockoffs, cheap quick builds, pointless identical crowdfunding campaigns which try to strip to bare minimum with hopes to outbid the previous manufacturer and the constant news posts about astronomical funds being spread to other manufacturers, Ilios has never been lower and i can’t keep hoping for the best at the end of each month. 18hour workdays, constant stress and lack of any sort of funding has drove me to bare minimum at the workshop and in my personal life in general since all i had i poured into Ilios including my heart in soul, making sacrifices and loosing gradually what i built over the course of time.”
Zavorotnitsienko is selling the entire business, including the mechanical designs for each printer, electronic designs for boards and printer control, software, source code and firmware. All current orders will still be delivered as promised, with additional accessories and upgrades as the business still has extra parts in stock.
We’re truly sorry to hear about the closing of Ilios 3D – it’s a sad day when a fresh, innovative company ends up not making it in an incredibly competitive industry. If you’re interested in purchasing Ilios 3D, you can contact Zavorotnitsienko here. Discuss in the Ilios 3D forum at 3DPB.com.