Suspicious Signs on 3D Printer Kickstarters

By on March 31st, 2017 in Ideas


 Making 3D printers look good 
Making 3D printers look good 

There have been numerous crowdfunding failures for small-scale desktop 3D printers recently, and I found another signal to find them. 

Recently I wrote a checklist of questions to ask before committing to a 3D printer Kickstarter or Indiegogo project. The intent was to provide you with some perspective on the viability of the project. 

Too often people get fussed up over the mechanical specification and forget that there also must be a viable company behind the product that can legitimately and reliably produce said product. Often that turns out to be not the case. 

The checklist included dozens of questions, many of which seem to be forgotten by hyped-up project backers. My hope was to introduce some cold, sober analysis into purchase decisions. 

But I saw another factor to consider that is a bit more subtle. A recent unnamed Kickstarter project proposed what appeared to be a basic resin 3D printer, of which there are many competing models. 

That’s not unusual, but hardly a revolutionary product. However, as I read through the details of the machine it became apparent that their marketing strategy was to compare their resin machine against plastic extrusion machines. 

This is not a valid comparison, as the two 3D printing processes are utterly different. One can be fast, the other slow; one can produce strong parts, the other weaker; one is high resolution, the other not; one can print large and the other prints in small volumes. 

These are NOT directly comparable. The answer depends on what you intend on making with the device, not that “one is more high rez” than the other. That’s an invalid comparison. 

But at the end of my read, it became apparent that this company may have realized their product had little to distinguish it from other comparable resin-based 3D printers and therefore they changed their marketing strategy to place a completely different set of machines. 

To me, this is not a sign of confidence in either the machine nor its management. 

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!