One of Kickstarter’s more notorious 3D printing campaigns has finally called it quits.
Remember the ONO 3D printer? I hadn’t thought about it in years now. In 2016, the OLO 3D printer debuted, promising an easy, portable resin-based 3D printer powered by your smartphone. Renamed the ONO shortly thereafter, the project drew great interest, gaining huge popularity on Kickstarter. A glance at the long-since-ended crowdfunding campaign notes:
“16,180 backers pledged $2,321,811 to help bring this project to life.”
Well — the backers pledged, but the project didn’t come to life.
I was, as it happens, backer #6,192. I pledged $129, which promised me:
- OLO – 3D PRINTER + PRO PACK + EXTRA RESIN including:
- 2 x OLO RESIN (WHITE 80 / 100g bottle)
- OLO PRO-PACK
- OLO STICKER SET
- Dark Shadow Edition Printer- KS campaign only limited
Delivery was estimated for September 2016.
By the summer of 2018, it was abundantly clear that there was something majorly wrong with the ONO 3D printer campaign.
Now it’s three years later. Time to revisit the ill-fated campaign, apparently. Backers, myself included, received a message this week — the 72nd update to the campaign, and the first in more than two years.
Let’s back up to update #71, from March 2019, when backers were told:
“We are completing about 100 units a day, it was our goal, we succeeded. Now we are aiming for quality: we have reached 2% and we are working for 1% defect rate (which, industrially speaking, is an excellent result). We had to select a team of workers to be sure that the quality of the machines is constant: as you know, in fact, to reduce the cost of production, we decided to control in person all the processes: suppliers, assemblers, warehouse and logistics.”
Filippo Moroni, ONO’s CEO since late 2018, added into the lengthy message:
“Now I clearly reply to everyone about the state of the company and trying to clarify some things I read online. To accelerate the production and make possible the delivery of your printers, ONO needs capital injection through investors and through the market. ONO must be in good financial health even after the machines have been delivered, otherwise the servers fail, the app fails, production stops, resin distribution dies, no accessories or consumables and no software updates.
If we do not survive, sending the printer would be like sending you a brick.
Personally, I have invested 4 years of my life and all my economic resources: I sincerely have no desire to send you a brick.
ONO is not just a 3D Printer, but a 3D Company: it has to sell, capitalize and find oxygen to continue produce, ship, care, assist all the customers and ONO worldwide. And develop the new ones.”
The idea was to make a company. The result was less than a brick, as it happens.
It sounds like Filippo has thrown in the towel with this week’s update. As the full text is available on Kickstarter only to backers, we share here the message in full (addressed to the dear backers, dear patient supporters and angry detractors, dear tech lovers and weird ideas freaks, dear creatives, dear students, dear friends and dear haters):
“We invented a new printing technology 5 years ago and created a wonderful product together with our team. Thanks to all of you we have collected the interest and the financial support of a huge community from 52 different countries. We have worked like crazy with dozens of people to make this project real, we faced unexpected complexities, unfaithful suppliers, consultants who took advantage of it …and obviously made several mistakes, like so many other projects.
I personally made the biggest mistake giving the management and control of the US funds to the wrong person and for this we respond morally to all of you, but despite all that, two of us struggled to the end with our own resources to avoid disaster, saving peoples’ jobs and recover from this nightmare.
After a long absence and an incomprehensible but inevitable silence due to legal issues, I managed to got rid of the CEO and partner, take back 100% of his shares of the company, close the pendings with suppliers for almost usd 600+K out of my own pocket. So I have saved several jobs, paid off tax debts and secured all of the merchandise.
The tragedy is that ONO is now a bankrupcy safe but resourceless company, with a warehouse in China full of components, about 5K ready-made printers, and a monthly server and warehouse costs that we can no longer afford without a perspective.
The ONO project and related patents are now yours, all the supporters, and I have therefore decided to release them to open source: for anyone of you who has interests, energies and resources for the ONO future and the Direct Display Daylight 3D Technology is more than welcome to this technology by writing a proposal at: [email protected]
To All of You, for your trust, for your criticisms and advice, for your help to elevate an idea to a product, and to give us such a challenging opportunity: THANK YOU.
(for now) This is The End.
Filippo and the ONO Team.”
Looking through the many updates, it seems that in August 2018 a whopping nine backers did receive their ONO 3D printers. One German backer even went to Shenzhen to see the factory for himself and claim his ONO in person, following an open Kickstarter invitation to do just that. (Apparently it was a surprise to the team that the gentleman, Frank, took up the invitation.)
Now there may be a future for ONO in the open source world. However, as many commenters have pointed out…nothing has actually been released. There’s no GitHub link or other sourcing for the open source decision.
All we can really say anymore about the ONO 3D printer is… well. Oh, no.