Founder, CEO and Lead Developer Demetris Ruslan Zavorotnitsienko of Cyprus-based Ilios 3D has proven himself to be an excellent example of perseverance in the face of setbacks and frustration. In mid-December, Zavorotnitsienko announced that he would be selling the business he had built from a successful Indiegogo campaign, due to a depletion of both funds and time. His passion for his company has always been evident, however, and less than a week later he stated that he would be making one more attempt to stay in business through the development of the new Ilios Photon 2 DLP printer.
Today, Zavorotnitsienko contacted us with some much more positive news – the development of the Photon 2 is going well, and he reiterated that he is not ready to give up on Ilios 3D. The irony of the struggles he had been having with the company was that originally he hadn’t planned to start a company at all – the Indiegogo campaign he launched was simply to help him raise funds to build a 3D printer for himself and sell just a few. The printer was met with so much enthusiasm, though, that he never got a chance to build one for himself – he was too busy trying to keep up with all the orders that came in.
He won’t be allowing that to happen this time. In a letter posted on the Ilios 3D website, he stated that he will be building the Photon 2 for himself first, as he needs a reliable, quality 3D printer to help him continue to build reliable, quality products for others. He’s also focusing more on the average user.
“At this point I would rather have one product, not the cheapest out there, not the most popular and not the most funded but make it reliable, fast enough and make it produce 3D prints on demand,” he told 3DPrint.com. “Essentially make something good and reliable. I am not saying that other Ilios products are not that but they were mostly made from requests that I received from Research institutions, laboratories and very specialized fields. Those fields use Ilios products with success, however I must admit they are not for the everyday user, something I want to change.”
He has responded to requests he has received from specialized clients such as educational organizations, jewelers and dentists by adding features such as an RFID door lock, UV protective surroundings, variable resolution and a removable vat (“which was requested basically by everyone,” he adds). He’s keeping the features that have made previous Ilios models so reliable, though, such as a fully functional Linux OS and HTML server alongside the user interface, allowing users to control their printers from anywhere in the world.
Right now, Zavorotnitsienko’s focus is on perfecting the Photon 2, rather than spreading himself thin trying to develop too many new products. He’s regained some confidence, too, after becoming discouraged last year by the number of competing printers springing up through crowdfunding campaigns. While it can certainly be intimidating to try to stay ahead in a field where everyone seems to be trying to offer something flashy and new, it’s ultimately reliable quality that matters, as many people who have supported failed Kickstarters can attest.
“…I just thought that everything for making a good product is already here.The workshop if fully equipped and there are enough parts to make something good,” he told us. “Things were really tough at some point in 2016 with campaigns for new 3D printers popping up like mushrooms almost every day but after a while, a very reassuring pattern started to appear, which essentially revealed that most of those who are making the campaigns, don’t seem to have experience in 3D printing and no amount of funding is going to change that. 3D renders are good and fancy specs but trying to overpower the next guy with the little bit of extra speed, resolution and price is not the way to go in my opinion. I guess after 5 years in 3D printing you can ‘sense’ if something isn’t right.”
That’s a true statement, and Ilios 3D has amassed many loyal fans who can vouch for the quality of their printers. Zavorotnitsienko states that he has found a good supplier for a compact UV-based DLP projector that doesn’t overheat or require lamp replacements, and that users can expect speed and quality from the Photon 2, along with plenty of support and updates as he continues to work on improving the fifth generation of Ilios printers.