3D printing and Crowdfunding… They have both thrived off of one another, especially in the past several months. We have seen 3D printer after 3D printer successfully funded, and in many cases breaking crowdfunding records in the process. Different 3D printer manufacturers, and manufacturer ‘wanna bes’, have been creating new campaigns for new products on an almost daily basis. Whether it is Kickstarter or Indiegogo, it seems like every other day there is a new 3D printer launching in hopes of being funded.
The recent trend in crowdfunded 3D printers, is that of affordability. Ever since M3D launched a Kickstarter campaign a few months ago for their Micro 3D printer, and surprisingly brought in $3,401,361 in backer funds, other manufacturers have been trying to ‘one-up’ them. The Micro was priced starting at a mind bending $299, with some early backers grabbing one for only $199. Then came the MOD-t which launched an Indiegogo campaign for their innovative new 3D printer, which utilizes a whole new type of technology. Priced at $249 (as low as $149 for early backers), it dropped the price floor even further on the 3D printing market.
Since then we have seen several other 3D printers launch crowdfunding campaigns, some of which have been funded, and some of which have been struggling to find backers. We recently reported on two of these, that unfortunately recently had to announce the cancellation of their campaigns, due to some very interesting reasons: The Tekma3D Printer and the MOTA 3D Printer.
The MOTA 3D Printer tried to drop the price floor even lower than that of the MOD-t. They launched their Kickstarter campaign with a limited number of 3D printers available for only $99. Only the first 50 backers could grab this printer at that price, but later backers could also purchase it for only $299. Just this past Wednesday, backers of the project were sent a very disappointing email from Kevin Faro, the co-founder of MOTA. In the email he explained:
“I wish there were a way to offer truly high-quality, high precise 3D printers at incredibly low prices. That would bring about the mass-market adoption that this technology so needs. The reality is, like any technology, it is expensive to develop and manufacture. At MOTA, our vision is to always bring you the best of what technology offers at the absolute minimum price possible. We don’t want to promise something that cannot be delivered, or whose quality is anywhere below outstanding, and the fact of the matter is that delivering this high standard of quality would cost a premium.”
He went on to explain that MOTA has learned a great deal from user comments, and they realize that they need to go back and “work harder, and find a way to reduce the price even more, as well as make the technology more open.”
The campaign was cancelled and backers will not be charged.
Then just yesterday, more bad news came from another campaign. The Teckma3D printer which eerily looked very similar to the MOD-t, had originally launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $25,000. The printer was priced starting at $1,199, and they had received $10,000 in pledges so far.
The way that the Tekma3d worked, like mentioned above, was very similar to the way in which the MOD-t 3D printer works. New Matter, MOD-t’s manufacturer, has claimed to have a patent pending on the technology. Someone brought this up to New Matter via our 3D printing forums, and one of their representatives claimed to be “looking into it”.
Just yesterday, Tekma3D sent out an email to backers:
“We’ve decided to cancel our Kickstarter campaign for the TM1 effective immediately. Based on lots of great feedback from our potential customers and our beta testers, we’ve come to the conclusion that the pric–to-performance ratio for this machine makes it a poor fit for Kickstarter. We are continuing development of the TMI and will begin online sales in the Fall.”
Very little other details were given. Backers will not be charged.
Are we finally starting to reach a point where things will begin to slow down, as far as 3D printers seeking funds via crowdfunding? Perhaps backers are getting tired of seeing basically the same technology over and over again, just with a new label on it. Perhaps manufacturers have previously jumped into these campaigns without really thinking through the pricing and manufacturing aspects of these machines. It should be interesting to see what becomes of the previously funded 3D printers which have not begun to ship as of yet, including the M3D and the MOD-t. Will they be able to deliver on their promises? Only time will tell.
What do you think? Are we reaching a point of saturation and boredom when it comes to the crowdfunding of 3D printers, or will this phenomenon continue? Discuss in the 3D Printer Crowdfunding forum on 3DPB.com
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