Just last week at the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo in NYC one of the keynote speakers stated “No one really knows how many 3D printing companies there are now”. It seems like almost everyday a new machine, many based off of the now defunct open source Rep Rap project, but sometimes something comes along in a slightly more elegant package. This week a new company, Pirate3D, appeared with a slick webpage and a PR blast, but very few other details about their Buccaneer printed.
The company, Pirate3D, launched only days ago but already is starting to get a little bit of buzz despite a lack of any real detail. A flashy splash page and a few nice renderings from an industrial designer are all it takes to draw some interest and without any machine specs there is nothing to get excited about. The images shown on their site showcase a few nice parts, but the description of “a 3D Printer everyone can use” may draw people in.
At least a few of the available details point to this machine having some potential. The co-founder named in the press release shows up in LinkedIn as a recent graduate of a Material Science program in Singapore. A handful of social media sites have also picked up the story and run with it, probably because the images that are available have a professional look. Facebook is the primary draw with over 1000 likes on their fan page, but there is a signup gimmick that is driving this (signup to enter a contest).
The initial response is partially because of the lack of information; they are even running a “contest” in order to announce their base price. Anyone who has developed a product knows this could mean one of two things.
- The printer is not fully designed and there is no way to know the final cost that will be profitable.
- The printer is not at all designed and there is no price for a theoretical concept.
Either of these scenarios should create hesitation for anyone looking to purchase a machine soon. The links to their youtube page are still broken and there are no demos of the “Smart Objects” design software shown on their landing page. When asked over email and on the forums for more details the response has been, “The pricing will be revealed next week”. Thankfully Pirate3D has not actually announced the machine is for sale, their webpage has a signup for more information but not pre-orders.
With the popularity of 3D printing on the rise, the US President mentioning 3D printing in his annual State of The Union, and 3D printer OEM stocks on the rise, there is amble opportunity that this is a bubble around the slick output of an industrial designer. When things get to the point of being over-hyped all it takes is a nice picture and a professional looking website to make things take off. Right now there is no way of knowing if the Buccaneer is the real thing but we will be watching closely to see what comes of it.