Right now is a bit of a difficult time for Kickstarter, as well as for anyone who wants to launch a new product – particularly a 3D printer – on the crowdfunding platform. This year has already seen two initially successful Kickstarter campaigns fall apart after their creators realized their products weren’t yet ready to meet customer demand. The now-infamous Tiko 3D printer campaign, which was launched in 2015, finally collapsed completely just last week after stringing backers along for two years. Barely a month before that, Kickstarter itself canceled the lucrative NexD1 3D printer campaign just before its end, as questions arose about the company’s integrity and whether it actually even possessed the machine it was promising to deliver.
Those are only two examples of recent Kickstarter implosions – several other young companies, after raising sums far beyond their funding goals, have found themselves unable to deliver on their promises to backers. Understandably, would-be backers are becoming gun-shy (or fund-shy?). The growing hesitancy of Kickstarter supporters has been evident through campaigns like the NIX… from NiXTEK, which was only a few days away from completion when backers began to question whether the company really did have a patent as they claimed, and if the printer could truly do everything they said it could do. NiXTEK responded with several videos demonstrating the printer’s capabilities, easing backers’ fears enough to push the campaign past its fundraising goal.
So what’s a Kickstarter hopeful to do in order to win the trust of backers? It helps if you’re already an established company, and it can’t hurt to address backers’ fears right off the bat, admitting that you’re aware of recent Kickstarter disasters and providing reasons why your campaign won’t fall apart like the others. That’s exactly what STACKER has done with their new campaign for the STACKER S2 industrial-grade 3D printer – and they also have the benefit of having run and delivered on a successful campaign in 2015. They are also taking note of previous issues with nonresponsive failed Kickstarters and have made it known that backers should “expect LOTS of updates!”
“Hi everyone,” Norston from the STACKER team updated on Kickstarter yesterday. “Thanks to your backing we made our funding goal on the fist day, wow! This is all because of you! From these early kickstarter numbers we have adjusted our forecasting, and we are now moving full speed ahead on ordering all the parts so we can deliver AHEAD of time, if possible. We will be posting our first update tomorrow. Stay tuned here and on facebook and twitter! Thanks again backers, we really appreciate it.”
The 2015 Kickstarter for the original STACKER 3D printer raised over four times its funding goal, and, unlike other explosively successful campaigns, STACKER didn’t bomb afterwards. Instead, they’ve gone on to become a successful company, upgrading the original printer to the STACKER S4 and now offering the more modest – but still huge – S2.
The STACKER S2 is essentially the same design as the S4, only smaller. The dual extruder printer has a build volume of 395 x 325 x 525 mm, and can print with multiple materials or fabricate two of the same item at once for double production speed. Designed for the educational, industrial and design markets, the S2 features a sturdy aluminum chassis, quick-change stainless steel nozzles, and an open filament system, plus a built-in mobile base for easy transport.
“With its capabilities and print quality, the new S2 is the most affordable industrial grade quality printer on the market today. Our goal is to establish the S2 as the new standard for high-performance industrial printing,” says the STACKER team. “For users of hobby grade printers, the S2 is a major upgrade in performance and reliability —with larger capacity, faster printing, better quality print
s, and mobility — while still within their budget. On the other end, owners of industrial grade printers no longer want to pay for service contracts and high prices for materials. The S2 requires no service contract and exceeds the print quality of commercial grade printers that cost thousands of dollars more.”
lt all looks and sounds great, but if backers are still feeling hesitant, STACKER offers several reassurances:
“After seeing recent crowdfunding failures, it’s clear that designing a great product is just half of the equation,” the team continues. “Knowing how to build it in production quantities, with enough profit margin, is equally important. We have a successful track record with Kickstarter and are currently building and shipping S4 printers.
We are confident in delivering the S2 on time for these additional reasons.
The S2 shares the same engineering and many of the same components as its bigger sibling, the S4, which we have shipped to customers since August 2016. The S2 is already a proven design. We also sent production level S2 printers into the market for testing by actual users.
The S2 is built on the same assembly line as the S4, using parallel methods (MAC MFG). The build process for the S2 is nearly identical to the S4. We are able to use the same QC protocols, tools, etc.
We are able to leverage the vendor and supply chain relationships already established with the S4.”
STACKER’s proactive measures and experience have clearly been effective: after launching yesterday, the Kickstarter campaign has already far surpassed its funding goal. Early bird rewards are already starting to disappear, but you can still get in on some significant discounts, with prices ranging from $5,495 to $7,495 for the printer, two rolls of colorFabb filament, and a license to Simplify3D (it looks like the printer will eventually retail for $9,995). You can also place pre-orders on the STACKER website or with partner colorFabb. Watch the Kickstarter video below:
Discuss in the STACKER forum at 3DPB.com.