The botObjects Conundrum Continues – Pics, Prices and Pre-orders but Nothing Conclusive

By May 23, 2013. 3D Printers, Featured, News

botObjects has stuck to its word and, late yesterday (even in the EST time zone where the company is based), released further information on its ProDesk3D 3D printer, which is now ready for pre-order with a shipping date of October.

The new information includes slightly greater visibility on the specs, which are as follows:

  • Full color FDM-based printing system
  • 5-color PLA cartridge system
  • PVA support material cartridge
  • ABS supported with additional cartridges (not included in standard package)
  • PLA/PVA/ABS filament diameter 1.75mm
  • Exterior case dimensions 475mm, 365mm, 365mm (H,W,D)
  • Build platform dimensions 300mm, 275mm, 275mm (H,W,D)
  • 175mm/s max printing speed
  • 25 micron printing accuracy in z direction
  • Fully automatic system set up – plug and play
  • Auto levelling heated build platform
  • Dual extruder head
  • Tri-fan air system.

More interestingly, they have also released three images of different products in different colours, which the company claims were printed on the ProDesk3D. All of the designs, quite rightly, are fully credited, and they do look nice. We are treated to a tri-colour twisted floral vase (designed by cmetzel); a multi-part tri-colour, bi-pedal robot from Project Biped – printed and assembled by botObject’s own Mike Duma, according to the credit; and, rather originally, a child’s recorder, designed by Joseph Larson, in 5 colours, as far as I can tell. The images are shot professionally, from a distance and they “look” authentic — but still, there is no actual evidence of a working machine — no mid-build images, no video, nothing that will curtail the speculation / skepticism once and for all.

BotObjects PhotoBotObjects Robot Photo

botObjects has also come through with the limited edition version of the ProDesk3D, which Martin Warner had suggested to me was a possibility when I spoke to them a couple of weeks back. It’s blue. Looks pretty (better than the orange IMHO), but yet again, nothing concrete — it’s all imagery.

BotObjects Blue

Similarly with the update on the software — some ‘screenshots’ are presented that look very cool, friendly and not intimidating at all. But once again — no walkthrough, nothing remotely concrete that suggests this goes anything past what it all looks like.

BotObjects Software

It does look as though they have garnered enough interest to proceed without crowd-funding — no sign of a Kickstarter campaign. The early order price for the standard orange ProDesk3D is $2,849 (plus shipping) and includes one starter 5 color cartridge set and 1 support material cartridge. The full price for the machine will be $3,249. The limited edition blue ProDesk3D comes at a premium: early order price is $3,349, with subsequent RRP being $3,749, however this does include three starter 5 color cartridge sets and 3 support material cartridges.

Would you pre-order one of these on the information provided so far? Or do you need to see a working machine in action before taking the plunge?

  • Kevin Quigley

    Rachel, in answer to your question about ordering one on the basis of information supplied so far. No. Definitely not.

    Let’s look at facts. So far we have had renders, and a few tiny photoshopped images of parts that are claimed to come from the printer (the size of the images does not allow you to zoom in to see any detail). They also have a close up view of the vase on the website that claims to show the print resolution, but to me all it shows is a blurred organic surface: this tells us nothing.

    The software “screenshots” are mockups. Why? Well look at the vase perspective on the top image relative to the build platform perspective – it is two different perspectives (which in itself is acceptable if they had said “this is what the software will be like” but if you claim it is there, at lease show screenshots, not poorly composited visuals).

    The print cartridge system will retail at $49.95. They say the maximum capacity of the system is 180m of filament. For 1.75mm filament that equates to about 216g of material (source Faberdashery). So you are talking $231 per kg. Not cheap. Also with that build platform size, you will not be able to build a large model in one run of filament – which is definitely not good for quality.

    They say they have a PVA based support material system. Again, no evidence. This feature alone is key to creating some part geometries and is the feature that makes Stratasys machines stand out.

    I would like to believe all this is true and they can deliver all this by October. If it is, I will buy. No question. But, this is just one of a long line of over hyped 3D printing systems to try to break onto the market in the last 2 years. These guys might well be great businessmen and have successful investment track records but to be frank their marketing strategy on this is poor. There are too many little errors. Some of us who do product development for a living tend to notice these things. Picky? Perhaps, but if you position yourself at the top of the mountain there is only one way to go.

    I want to believe this is all true, but I’m not signing up for this until I see the printer in the flesh. The reality is, for those of us in the UK, if this thing is genuine, and if it takes off, there will be resellers in the UK selling it by Christmas. If I order it now – sight unseen – I save $400 on the RRP. Well, having tried to order a FormLabs machine last week, I can say that the likely shopping cost from the USA is around $475 then add import duties. I’ll wait, and deal with a local supplier.

    I wish the botObjects guys well, but they need to start deliverying verifiable data now. They need to show independent people actual machines and prints.

    They are claiming deliveries will commence from 1st October. Well TCT is on in September. That is the ideal opportunity for them to reach a huge audience of buyers and potential resellers from Europe. If they are delivering in October, they MUST have stock or at the very least, pre production trial units available for TCT.

    The ball is in their court again.

    • ToyKonstrukt.com

      Look closely at the orange color of the floral vase print and then at the images of the pre-rendered floral vases in the software screenshots. You will notice that the orange color matches perfectly. I’m sorry, but a real world object under natural lighting is not going to have a perfect color match with its computer render–it’s impossible.

      I would wager that the company is fake. They don’t have “tons of engineers” working for them, but they do have a graphic artist.

      If you give them your money you’ll likely never see it again.

  • Rachel,

    It’s hardly worth a reply, as it’s more ‘information’ built on sand, this is still a concept product – concept software and still just colour banding across the Z axis of the printed model.

    I would have been so much more impressed if they had showed sharp rapid colour changes as this would show a level of control.

    The robot’s feet for example can be produced by just using Red and Yellow filament joined together or fed one after the other, the hot-end does the blend from red to orange and then yellow as it purges out the colour. makers have been doing this for years and I’m not sure it’s actually what people want in finished objects, it’s just a bit of artistic fun.

    Again, sharp transitions, or colours blended vertically or on angles across, around or through the object would show control and a level of accurate colour design capability.

    The questions over the colour ‘cartridge’ now have more relevence as it’s an expensive to run system and has very limited build capacity.

    If you wanted to print in pure white for example then it looks like you have just ~30m of 1.75mm filament – then what do you do? reload just the white? or change the whole cartridge? will it tell you you don’t have enough material to complete the job? then what?

    This is all again rather disappointing, I was expecting so much more from the build up.

  • CornGolem

    The photos of the printed object looks fake to me. The vase doesn’t look it was printed in plastic. Its orange and red colouring look 2 dimensional not 3. What was under it seems to have been erased so it can be put on a table. The table has no texture and looks fake too. The flowers look like an incrustation of a real picture. They have added virtual shadows and virtual light sources to make the assemblage look natural.
    Same thing about the robot.

    I don’t believe in their product anymore and think it is a money scam.

  • Belkacem Jemmel

    Hi Rachel,
    I really think we don’t need to be a Photoshop expert to see that the pictures are rework and that the promise of this 3D printer is not up to expectations.
    It is pity and unfortunate to see these people non serious and non-professional growing on the web, asking charity to undertake a project into crowd-funded website like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and so on.
    I am more and more disgusted to see this people wanted to make money without doing anything !
    I smell the end of the crowd-funded communities with this hooligans online.
    i can called it FakeObjet now ;-)
    When we think there are good ideas for future 3D printing projects
    To the wise, tchao …..

  • Krunoslav Knezic

    Hmm, this sounds to good to be true, in specification is stated that accuracy will be 25 microns (0.025 mm) in FDN technology, which is huge accuracy for FDM technology, its closer to Polyjet and SLS then fdm.
    For now printers based on FDM technology have max accuracy around 0.1 mm.
    And before you buy any type of printer, firt you will order sampless to see it in real, then you show you money ;)

  • Geoff.H

    This has become comedy, or perhaps a case study in delusional behaviour, or worst-case (and to my mind least likely but we shouldn’t rule it out) — fraud. Is it worth the time and the pixels it’s getting? Possibly yes, as entertainment.

  • disqus_xLtoki61U2

    I have just received a message from Stephen Bird of Bot Objects in reply
    to my questions. The reply is just full of links for me to pre-order –
    curiously though the email (outlooks own doing) has included: MailScanner
    has detected a possible fraud attempt from “botobjects.mailgun.org” claiming to be http://botobjects.com. that is before every link. EVERYONE BE WARNED the overoptimistic part of me still hope though.

  • Cam Macduff

    Rachel, have you seen the new BotObjects video? Not entirely swayed yet as its shot extremely close up so you can’t see the rest of the printer.

  • Stephen Miller

    And the Conundrum continues… I pre-ordered a printer from botObjects, but it did not ship. They sent an email increasing the warrantee to two years since the printer was not shipping out on time. I am curious if I was just lucky, or are they not shipping the printer at all.

  • Leif Plith Lauritsen

    Any thing new ón this printer?? No tests, no reviews? Was it a hoax?
    Best regards: