To the surprise of few, the highly controversial NexD1 desktop 3D printer project was suspended permanently by Kickstarter last night.
The project was beset by accusations of fraudulent portrayals of their machine. Those accusations, combined with an inability of the company to properly react to them, generated a downward spiral of funding on the crowdfunding site.
At one point the project had raised over €500K (USD$540K) in backers, but as an increasing number of backers withdrew their support, the total raised dropped to €364K (USD$390K). It’s likely this drop alerted the authorities at Kickstarter to either investigate or trigger automated suspension proceedings.
The company’s reaction to the controversy was obviously insufficient, but was continuing yesterday prior to the suspension. They posted a image of what they call the “test rig”, a prototype of the system, shown here. It looks rough, but ok.
They also posted a video supposedly showing the printing of one of the controversial prints that had been scrutinized closely by the backers and analysts.
This is a still image from the experiment shown in that video, and there’s something quite interesting here.
If you recall in our prior post on this unfortunate affair, I noticed that the printed object had no support material showing, which is impossible in a liquid resin process as they describe it.
Now the video shows support material in an appropriate position.
Perhaps that looks better, but again, it’s far too little and far too late.
This entire episode is terribly unfortunate, as the proposed 3D printing process is indeed viable – it has been used by Stratasys for many years. If someone thought they could build a machine with a similar printing process, that would be a fantastic gain for the community, as it could provide high quality output at a much lower cost.
But Next Dynamics, the company behind this debacle, was unable to execute properly. While they may (or may not) have had the technical skills to build the machine, they certainly did not have the managerial expertise to run a company in launch phase. They were perhaps too early in the development, too optimistic on their product and capabilities, unaware of how or unable to react in adverse conditions, misunderstood the knowledge of their buyers and apparently misrepresented what they were doing.
It’s also possible their investors pressured them to move forward and they were unable to get the product ready by the required dates, forcing a very uncomfortable launch.
The concept was very good; The execution was terrible.
Someone should make a machine with this process, but it should not be Next Dynamics.