Many 3D printing startups have failed, but none in quite the way that B3 Innovations has just announced.
The company launched in 2013 and quickly fired up a Kickstarter for a then-unique all-metal 3D printing hot end, the Pico. The intention was to provide a powerful upgrade for the many kit-based desktop 3D printers of the time.
Their Kickstarter from 2014 was successful, as they reached their fundraising targets and delivered the hot end. It was a hit with those who used the device. One commenter, Leon Grossman, said:
“I’m just coming back here to give a follow up after several months of use. This hot end has given me many hours of flawless printing in PLA, ABS, Bronzefill and T-Glase.
Anybody who stumbles across this in their search for a hot end shouldn’t hesitate to go order one.”
The company then proceeded to work on their next version, the Pico Hybrid.
It never showed up.
Then this week we received an email from them with a rather strange story of what happened. They explain:
“It is beautiful, even tinier, more capable and unbelievably reliable. It has been through the (unintentionally) longest beta trial imaginable, a small private production run, and has been proven, even sought after, by notable fellow printers in our community. But sadly, this is where our story goes dormant. And the reason, as hard as it may be to admit, we have stumbled upon a different path.“
That’s not totally unique; many startups end up pivoting into something related, but different. But B3 Innovation’s pivot is a bit saucy.
During the development of the Pico Hybrid, the company was obviously doing a lot of test prints. One of the objects they were printing was a prototype dipping sauce holder, called the Saucemoto dip clip, designed to attach to almost any vehicle’s air vents. The design, from Milkmen Design, solves the universal issue of trying to manage misbehaving dipping sauce containers in your center console while driving. Cleaner, tidier and tastier!
They explain how it happened:
“It started with a mutual acquaintance begging us to 3D print a prototype Saucemoto, that was conceived years ago. We printed some and friends just could not stop stealing the printed prototypes from our cars (haha). The luring effect of this product grew and grew and eventually we launched a successful Kickstarter.”
B3 Innovations unexpectedly found the Saucemoto to be incredibly popular. They even found friends stealing them from their vehicles! The demand was such that they had to reconsider where they were allocating their time.
In the end they seem to have decided to suspend Pico Hybrid development and put all their resources towards the Saucemoto. Thus, no Pico Hybrid will be forthcoming unless someone picks it up from them.
This is not surprising, because everyone knows dipping sauce trumps 3D printers!