Four Unfortunate 3D Printing Crowdfunding Ventures

By on January 2nd, 2016 in Ideas


Launching a new product on a crowdfunding site can be quite challenging. Today we’re looking at four unfortunate ventures that are likely to fall far short of their goals. 

Years ago in the dawn of desktop 3D printing it was far easier to raise money via crowdfunding, simply because there were almost no 3D print options to fund. Those that did appear were often focused on by media due to their novelty and it usually resulted in massive funding. 

Those days are long gone now. Today you have to have a very special product or service indeed to gain even modest funding. Winners today tend to be those in niche areas that haven’t been saturated with products yet. But they will be in coming months and years. 

Today we’re checking out four recent crowdfunding launches that seemed to have fallen flat. 

The first is “Uniqbot”, a “miniature 3d printer for $150” (seen at top). With a very modest goal of only USD$12,000, the project, as of this writing, has gathered only a mere USD$10. Ten dollars?!

Looking at the specs for the Uniqbot reveals a machine that seems pretty standard, with features very similar to many other options. There’s nothing notable about this machine, it seems.

And those options may not carry the risks of a new product/company launch. Thus the public did not get on board with Uniqbot.

The second launch we’re looking at is the “3D Printing business” campaign, which, of a goal of USD$100,000, has raised only USD$5. Perhaps it has something to do with their project description: 

I have already built a 3D printer (RepRapPro Mendel), and I have comlpeted (sic) many successful prints. I want to buy a new printer and set up a printing business. I need the money to set up a business a, rent a shop and create employment.

And that’s about all this project says. It’s no wonder no money has been raised, as nothing is properly explained. There is also a questionable image of a cat included for no explainable reason shown here. Perhaps this entrepreneur should try out 3D Hubs or another community network to get working on a 3D print service? 

Another highly challenged venture is “How to design your own plastic parts”. It seems to be an educational program that explains how to go about designing and 3D printing parts that they say can benefit employment, finance, family and even relationships! 

While it is quite true many people could use some training on 3D design, it seems that this venture has not attracted sufficient attention. As of this writing, the project has raised ZERO contributions to its very modest USD$500 goal. 

Another project that has some days to go yet, but may not make it is “SmartFood 3D Printing”, which hopes to produce “intelligent food” via 3D printing. They explain: 

Smart Foods are those that have been developed through the invention of new or improved processes, for example, as a result of man-made materials/ingredients or human intervention; in other words, not naturally occurring changes.

The project relies on the development of intelligent food products including chocolate and giving them specific forms and customizing them. 3D printing offers a wide potential of possibilities. 

We can create the smart and healthy food for our body and spirit while respecting the environment because we can convert alternative ingredients such as proteins from algae, beet leaves, insects, or spirulina in savory products. 

The project seems interesting, but a bit confusing. Perhaps they haven’t nailed the theme directly enough to attract backers, as they have raised a mere €10 of their €15,000 goal. Perhaps the “With Love” image didn’t resonate with backers?

The moral of these stories is straightforward: if you wish to raise money through crowdfunding for your 3D print initiative, you’d better be very clear, have something people actually want, have something truly (really) unique that no one else has our could have and have a low price for it. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!