Breaking: Solido Folds

Breaking: Solido FoldsVery disappointing news today: desktop 3D printer manufacturer Solido appears to have ceased operating. Reports indicate they’ve laid off their entire workforce (some thirty people) and are being liquidated by receivers. 
 
Solido had a very unique approach that we’ve written about several times: ultra-thin plastic sheets were glued and cut to patterns, gradually developing into unique models. This approach enabled Solido printers to attempt different types of models not possible on most other 3D printers. Also, Solido offered a recycling service for plastic sheet scraps.
 
We’re not sure what might happen to this recycling program now, and with that the fate of existing Solido owners is in jeopardy – unless alternate sources for usable plastic sheets are identified. 
 
The ten-year old Solido’s troubles evidently began recently when prime investor Fortissimo stopped financing after transferring only a portion of the intended USD$8.5M investment round. According to Globes sources:
 
… Management and investors had concluded that heavy investment would be needed to develop the technology and market, and to turn the company into a market leader. The sources added that the market “was amazing with great potential”, but that huge resources were needed to be the leader in it.
 
If this report is true, Solido now joins Desktop Factory on the side of the road to personal replication. We thank them for their ingenuity and efforts. 
 
But now we’re wondering: who will take up the challenge to produce a true, consumer-ready 3D printer? 
 
Via Globes
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4 Responses

  1. To answer this question: "But now we're wondering: who will take up the challenge to produce a true, consumer-ready 3D printer? ". I am happy to introduce you to Create It Real (www.createitreal.com/index.php), a danish based company that has been developing the last 2 years a low cost 3D printing technology. The focus as precisely been put on building a low cost, consumer ready desktop 3D printer. We are going to release this year (2011) our first product: the Platon 3D printer. So in short, the answer to the question is: Create It Real 🙂 . Keep an eye on us this year since lots of interesting things will be happening. Cheers -Jeremie

  2. To answer this question: "But now we're wondering: who will take up the challenge to produce a true, consumer-ready 3D printer? ". I am happy to introduce you to Create It Real (www.createitreal.com/index.php), a danish based company that has been developing the last 2 years a low cost 3D printing technology. The focus as precisely been put on building a low cost, consumer ready desktop 3D printer. We are going to release this year (2011) our first product: the Platon 3D printer. So in short, the answer to the question is: Create It Real 🙂 . Keep an eye on us this year since lots of interesting things will be happening. Cheers -Jeremie

  3. Lots of uncertainty here. So far all reports seem to trace back to the Globes article, whose details are a little muddled in spots. SolidoUSA and their other regional affiliates haven't made any public comments so far.

    The crown jewel of Solido's build process is their distinctive glue & anti-glue formula which enabled the SD300 to utilize inexpensive PVC film. As of October 2010 that worked out to less than $0.04 per / cc of raw material. Any conventional PVC film could work in the machine so long as it's the right size, but it absolutely requires Solido's proprietary glue & anti-glue to work the magic.

    Even without Solido's recycling program, the plastic scrap can be trivially recycled at any recycler that accepts vinyl; it just has to be delivered and identified. (I can't just mix it with household recycling.) Solido's SolGL glue is really a pressure-welding solvent, so it doesn't leave any contaminants in the plastic. And their water-soluble Anti-Glue is washed away during the recycling process.

    More puzzlingly, what about 3D Systems' distant role? 3D Systems re-branded the SD300 as Invision LD and sold it under their own livery until 2008. And they offered training courses for the machine at 3D Systems University well into 2009. Did they relinquish responsibility of their Invision LD users to Solido when that partnership ended? Are Invision LD users facing a similar limbo?

    I'm curious, and I've got lots of questions. But I'll try to be patient and watch for updates when they come.

  4. Lots of uncertainty here. So far all reports seem to trace back to the Globes article, whose details are a little muddled in spots. SolidoUSA and their other regional affiliates haven't made any public comments so far.

    The crown jewel of Solido's build process is their distinctive glue & anti-glue formula which enabled the SD300 to utilize inexpensive PVC film. As of October 2010 that worked out to less than $0.04 per / cc of raw material. Any conventional PVC film could work in the machine so long as it's the right size, but it absolutely requires Solido's proprietary glue & anti-glue to work the magic.

    Even without Solido's recycling program, the plastic scrap can be trivially recycled at any recycler that accepts vinyl; it just has to be delivered and identified. (I can't just mix it with household recycling.) Solido's SolGL glue is really a pressure-welding solvent, so it doesn't leave any contaminants in the plastic. And their water-soluble Anti-Glue is washed away during the recycling process.

    More puzzlingly, what about 3D Systems' distant role? 3D Systems re-branded the SD300 as Invision LD and sold it under their own livery until 2008. And they offered training courses for the machine at 3D Systems University well into 2009. Did they relinquish responsibility of their Invision LD users to Solido when that partnership ended? Are Invision LD users facing a similar limbo?

    I'm curious, and I've got lots of questions. But I'll try to be patient and watch for updates when they come.

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