Mar 29, 2016 | By Kira

In a sombre letter addressed to the once-thriving Solidoodle 3D printer community, company founder and CEO Sam Cervantes has announced that after nearly five years as one of the leading manufacturers of affordable yet high-quality consumer 3D printers, Solidoodle is suspending its operations.

The Solidoodle Press 3D Printer

The Brooklyn-based 3D printer manufacturer is most known for its line of extremely consumer-friendly desktop 3D printers, priced as low as $599. Founded in 2011 by industry vet Cervantes, Solidoodle quickly grew to a team of 70 employees working diligently to manufacture and ship over then thousand units from its Brooklyn factory.

However, that quick rise to success may just have been the cause of its downfall. In 2014, Solidoodle sought to expand its manufacturing operations and partnered with an outside assembly factory in China. “We had been largely successful purchasing components in China, so manufacturing our entire product there seemed like the next logical step,” explained Cervantes. “This proved to be much more difficult than expected.”

A string of complications including poorly manufactured units and the 2014 West Coast Port labor dispute kept hundreds of pre-ordered Solidoodle 3D printers from reaching consumers in time for the holiday season. "We stumbled on the launch of our 5th generation product, the Solidoodle Press, which fell short of our high standards for providing an outstanding consumer experience," he continued.

The Solidoodle 3 3D Printer

By the end of 2015, the company had hit the bottom of a “downward spiral of declining sales and layoffs.” It was out of cash, out of employees, and had suspended all new orders. Cervantes even admitted to using nearly all of his personal savings to try and get the company back on its feet, but at the end of the day, there was just no money left.

While Solidoodle has done its best to fulfil outstanding orders, there remain a few dozen customers still owed a refund that, at this time, Solidoodle is in no position to repay. And yet, the 3D printing community remains a tight-knit, understanding, and overall good place to be.

Stepping up in this time of need, New Matter has offered to send a MOD-t 3D printer at absolutely no cost to all Solidoodle customers who are owed a refund. “I am very grateful to Steve Schell and the New Matter team for their generosity and dedication to the industry,” said Cervantes. “They were under no obligation to step up and are receiving no financial compensation from us.” It’s not the first time New Matter has demonstrated outstanding generosity, but considering the circumstances, it’s an extremely touching offer nonetheless.

Though Cervantes maintains that, had the Holiday 2014 Solidoodle 3D printers arrived on schedule, they would have had more time to realize crucial cash flow and potentially save the entire company, there’s really no telling whether this situation could have been avoided or not. Like any business, the 3D printing market can be volatile, unpredictable, and at times, seemingly unfair.

“While the Solidoodle chapter is unfortunately coming to an end, it’s important to remember that together we achieved many successes,” wrote Cervantes in a touching blog post. “Since 2011 we showed the world that 3D printers could be made both affordable and accessible to put the means of production into the hands of average citizens.”

“Customers have used those 3D printers to unleash their creativity, teach children about technology, and even print prosthetic hands for amputees. Together, we played an important part in advancing 3D printing from a relatively unknown technology into a powerful force of creation. While the Solidoodle era is ending, the digital manufacturing revolution is only just beginning. I’m grateful to have taken this journey with all of you and I have great faith in the human spirit of creativity to continue using technology to build a smarter, happier, more sustainable society.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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L06 wrote at 4/16/2016 5:52:19 AM:

Who is China company? What about parts and an opportunity to revive the company through dood folk that have had success with the product? Spare parts alone could get a trickle revive started. The customer service factor was near criminal. Whoever - whatever compelled that scenario was asking for failure. Having someone prepay without a committal or even pay as shipped like Amazon, was the crash. How many small folk on the edge had that killer idea they wanted to rapid prototype, scavenged up the cash... Placed the order -cuz it said in stock, then to be dodged, wait 2 months and get a 2 day notice its on the way. This is no way to do business anywhere! Bailing in the way it has - is purely Pitiful and Abusive. How about a bit more. I have one, - it works... I need parts, who's got my spare parts. You will find me in your data base.

jgould wrote at 3/29/2016 5:47:55 PM:

This company was spiraling down before the Christmas debacle hit...big customer service issues, poor docs...outcome was inevitable.

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