We have been contacted by a backer of the Genesis desktop 3D printer by XMachine, who has some complaints, which appear to be legitimate.
The Genesis Uno and Duo desktop 3D printers are one of many low-cost desktop 3D printer options. This one involved a single or dual extruder, automated calibration, WiFi connectivity, remote operation and apparently high print speeds. All provided at very low cost, around the USD$300 mark.
The project was launched on Kickstarter in 2015 and raised an amazing USD$500K, from 1,525 backers. Roughly, that corresponds to approximately 300 units.
The problem is that today, November of 2016, it’s one year past the original estimated delivery dates for the machine. As you might imagine, the backers are not happy and this is quite evident from even a brief dive into the 4,600+ comments on the campaign page. Some selected comments:
This campaign is just another examples out of hundreds that show the cowardice of the creators. It will be a hard road of some years for the creators to understand that they have to include the backers into their strife for success AND not treat them a stupid retail buyers that can be lied to again and again and again.
I am interested in visiting your facility on Friday November 4th. What is the address and what time will the facility be open for a tour?
XMachines, this is how you lose people's trust - before you go any further, I suggest you read all that you have written.
It appears that the company has run out of sufficient cash to complete building and shipping machines to the original backers and has instituted some rather unusual steps to recover, including asking backers to promote their product - even though they have not seen the machines as yet.
Also, they’ve indicated they will ship a machine to backers each time a retail machine is sold. This doesn’t seem like a good business practice to me, but companies can make unusual moves when they have having challenges.
XMachines has posted a series of updates on the situation, but one portion of a recent update is a bit disturbing:
XMachines is now at an extremely pivotal point in its development. Without decisive action the Company may not survive much longer. Fortunately, at the suggestion of family friends I was put in contact with experienced business and legal professionals to assist with our current situation. Chester Business & Innovation Law has been retained and is advising on our critical business contracts, strategy, protection and commercialization of our intellectual property, and both venture funding. They believe in the market opportunity for XMachines product technology and are working at NO charge to the Company over the next 90 days.
This suggests the company did not have the benefit of professionals prior to this announcement, which is never a good idea when starting a serious company.
Nevertheless, the company has listed a series of steps they feel will right the ship, including:
- Start Selling Printers NOW
- Raise Additional Capital
- Contract Manufacturing
- Deliver more than expected to Kickstarter backers
I have no idea how the XMachines saga will turn out, but it does appear bleak at this point.
But there is something to be gained here: experience. We’ve always recommended caution when considering the purchase of very inexpensive desktop 3D printing gear for a variety of reasons, as the prospect is risky and you may in fact lose your investment.