RIP Tiko?Posted: February 24, 2017
Kickstarter is a great adventure in the democratization of business finance. Not everything on Kickstarter succeeds, to say the least. I’ve backed a couple of projects over the years, and actually received my rewards. There’s one project I was watching over the last year, that I did not invest in, the Tiko 3D printer.
It was fun watching this story unfold. They ended up being a year late with their delivery, went through many trials and tribulations, and essentially failed to deliver in the end.
Looking at this picture now, in retrospect, we can assume that it was a complete fabrication. Having printed such an engine block on my very commercially available printer, I know that they could not have possibly generated those pieces given the state their printer was in. Without a cooling fan, they would not have been able to generate the intricate detail, and with their components overheating, they would not have lasted through a print.
But, that’s retrospective. When you’re watching the train wreck happening, you’re rooting for them, giving them the benefit, and hoping they’re actually doing as well as their arrogance would lead you to believe.
For those few thousand who received their units, I’m betting it will turn out to be their MakerBot Cupcake. A first printer, not many good prints out of it, then they’ll move on to a real printer, and this becomes salvage in a couple of years.
The saving grace is it was only around $200, so from that perspective, anyone who backed the project was only out a fairly small investment. That amount of money is probably easily spent on getting coffee every morning for half a year.
They did show that you can come out with stylish looking things. I’m sure someone else will attempt something similar, having benefitted from Tiko’s mistakes. They’ll come up with a better solution for cooling the internals, they’ll add a door, they’ll put the filament outside the box, they’ll make it bigger, they’ll add a parts cooling fan, and it will come from AliExpress still for $200. It will support Simplify3D, Cura, and Slic3r instead of their custom slicer, and the world will move on.
Tiko as a company has not thrown in the towel and said “we’re out of business”, but they have essentially put everything on hold as they’ve run out of money.
And so it goes.
Another project I’ve been following is the GlowForge 3D laser “printer”. That machine is similarly way overdue, and they have a similar vibe of secrecy about them. This time I am holding out hope that they do in fact deliver. You can actually cancel your order up to the last moment before it’s delivered, but again, while you’re watching the train wreck, you’re hopeful that they’ll pull it out in the end and everything will be alright.
So, come on GlowForge! I’m rooting for you.
It’s kind of like watching the Truman Show.