Yes, somehow this problem isn’t going away soon: another questionable Kickstarter project to launch a cheap 3D printer has died.
This case involves the Mag ICreatum, the “All-in-One 3D Machine”. It’s a delta-style device that was to provide not only 3D printing, but also laser engraving, CNC milling and ink plotting.
Those are functions that are offered in combination by some other vendors, such as ZMorph, whose machines are quite a bit more expensive than that posed for the Mag ICreatum.
How much was the Mag ICreatum to cost? Starting at €99 (USD$108).
Just USD$108. That’s all.
I don’t know what the other specifications of this machine might be, but that price is spectacularly too low to present a feasible machine and project, particularly for a startup company. And this machine included a heated print surface, an LCD screen and an enclosure.
That price was for the basic 3D printing-only version. For the full, “does everything” version, you’d have to add a bit more with the optional components. With them, the total for this unit would be €276 (USD$300).
That price is virtually one tenth of ZMorph’s cost for a similarly equipped machine.
This project is clearly not financially feasible.
Yesterday, Kickstarter suspended their campaign, which we didn’t even cover as it seemed dubious right from the start. The following was sent to the backers:
This is a message from Kickstarter’s Integrity team. We’re writing to notify you that the Mag ICreatum : The All-in-One 3D Machine (Suspended), project has been suspended, and your €238.00 pledge has been canceled. A review of the project uncovered evidence that it broke Kickstarter’s rules. We may suspend projects when they demonstrate one or more of the following:
A related party posing as an independent, supportive party in project comments or elsewhere
Misrepresenting support by pledging to your own project
Misrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator
Providing inaccurate or incomplete user information to Kickstarter or one of our partners
Accordingly, all funding has been stopped and backers will not be charged for their pledges. No further action is required on your part.
We take the integrity of the Kickstarter system very seriously. We only suspend projects when we find strong evidence that they are misrepresenting themselves or otherwise violating the letter or spirit of Kickstarter’s rules. As a policy, we do not offer comment on project suspensions beyond what is stated in this message.
A good way to judge the financial feasibility of a 3D printer project is to compare their pricing with that of Printrbot. That company has made a good business by precisely judging what it truly costs to build a low cost machine. It’s leader, Brook Drumm, is exceptional at this type of management and the results show in the low-cost equipment they’ve been able to market for many years now. All of their machines cost more than this.
Another comparison would be Monoprice’s line of relabeled machines. Their pricing is quite low, USD$199 in some cases. But remember, this is a massive company ordering thousands of units from inexpensive Asian manufacturers delivering proven equipment. A startup cannot hope to match their buying power.
You might want to review our checklist of things to look for in a 3D printing startup.
As I have said previously, the time for low-cost 3D printing Kickstarters is now long over.
Those creating such ventures should know better at this point.
But even more importantly YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS! DO NOT BUY ULTRA-LOW COST 3D PRINTERS! Low cost machines do not sufficiently support a startup company and they are most likely financially infeasible to continue.
Somehow, the public is still hooked on the idea of really low cost 3D printers from startups, and they simply don’t exist. The real pricing is now known through numerous projects and you cannot innovate around them unless you imply an entirely different 3D printing process.
And in this case, they did not.