Homegrown 3D printer maker fails, 60 per cent of backers left in the lurch

Singapore startup Pirate3D, maker of the world's cheapest 3D printer, has failed, leaving about 60 per cent of its backers without the promised 3D printer they funded.
Singapore startup Pirate3D, maker of the world's cheapest 3D printer, has failed, leaving about 60 per cent of its backers without the promised 3D printer they funded.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM KICKSTARTER.COM

SINGAPORE - Singapore startup Pirate3D, maker of the world's cheapest 3D printer, has failed, leaving about 60 per cent of its backers without the promised 3D printer they funded.

Pirate3D broke into the limelight in 2013 when it started collecting funds on crowdfunding website Kickstarter to create a budget 3D printer for consumers.

It raised a whopping US$1.5 million ($2 million) in just a month with the support of over 3,300 "backers" worldwide, who pledged and paid money for the product, on the promise of receiving the finished product. It has since only shipped 200 machines as of last September.

In a post on Kickstarter last Tuesday, the company's chief executive officer Brendan Goh said that the company had frozen operations for the last two months. It would need to do so for another three months due to a cash flow issue while sourcing for more funding. Any additional funding will not be used to fulfill the back orders.

In an update today, Mr Goh said that the company will stop building too many of its current machines based on technology from two years ago, and will start working on a new model. It did not provide any timeline, or clarify whether current backers will get their machines.

The Straits Times has contacted the company for more information and will update the story when a reply is received.

sherwinl@sph.com.sg