As one of the original leaders in desktop 3D printing, Brooklyn-based Solidoodle has been a name brand in the industry since 2011. Today, a cryptic message has appeared at the top of the company’s website which may be a harbinger regarding the future of Solidoodle. It reads, “Attention Customers: Ordering is currently disabled on the site. We’ll be providing more information over the next few days. We appreciate your patience during that time.”
Established by former MakerBot COO Sam Cervantes, Solidoodle has steadily kept pace with the rest of the industry, improving its printers with each new generation and maintaining a lively community of dedicated users. Their last big release was in 2014, when Solidoodle announced three new systems: the Solidoodle Press, the Workbench, and the Workbench Apprentice, all targeted at different market segments. However, since then, we’ve heard little in the form of news from the firm. Looking further into it, 3DPI learned that they haven’t published any new tweets since mid-2015 and that their blog has since been deactivated. This, together with the message on the site and the struggle that many companies in the space have been facing in the post-3D-printing-hype era, does not bode well for the Brooklyn firm. All signs point to a possible shutting down of operations, a trend we’ve seen in even the largest and most established businesses in the industry.
I’ve reached out to Mr. Cervantes for a comment and to perhaps shed light on the state of the company, but to no avail. If the worst is confirmed, I know that they will be sorely missed. I also know that their staff and management will have bright futures ahead, given the talent that they brought to the company and the industry as a whole. If any readers happen to have any information on the state of the company and would be willing to comment, please reach out to me at [email protected].
Update 3/8/2016: Since we published this article, a few folks have emailed me with their own stories. For instance, the reader in the comments below posted a link to a reddit forum on the topic, in which someone claiming to be a former Solidoodle employee writes:
Former Solidoodle employee here, saw this thread and felt compelled to let everyone know what’s going on – at least as far as I know, since Solidoodle doesn’t say anything unless it’s good news. You guys have pretty much figured it out though, Solidoodle is out of cash.
It started with the Press, which without getting into too much detail, was/is a complete disaster. Production tapped out most of our funds and the port delays meant that we weren’t able to re-coup those costs as quickly as we needed. Plus, the Press pre-order campaign meant that we were pretty much shipping the printers at a net loss.
Around this time they started sporadically missing payroll here and there, but there was talk about bringing in investors so I figured we would tough it out until the round closed and once we had some operating capital we’d be able to recover. Well we closed the round, hooray! I see another poster did some digging and noticed that we refiled as a C-corp, this was part of finalizing the investment.
Turns out most of the funding was used to pay off debts and it wasn’t long before the prospect of missing payroll again became a reality. Last month they called a company meeting and laid off pretty much everyone (myself included) except for those with shares and the accounting department (who were put on part-time).
Obviously there’s a whole lot more to the story but the bottom line is that things don’t look good. If you have an unfulfilled order, unfortunately, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. If you’re looking for a refund, I would start exploring other avenues to recoup (bank, credit card, etc) because there isn’t any money there, and even if there was, refunds are not very high up on the list of priorities. Spare part orders are a craps shoot depending on the part.
So that’s that. I wish I came here bearing better tidings but that’s the truth. I love the community here at Soliforum and it was frustrating that we weren’t allowed to share with you all the realities of the situation, so I figured it was the least I could do.
Those that have emailed me have said that they gave money to Solidoodle, in exchange for new printers, but either never received their machines or the machines didn’t work. In the case of the customer who received their Solidoodle Press, six months after it was ordered, the printer “never worked”. They tell me, “When I contacted support they asked me to send it back to them for repairs which was OK with me at the time. And, unfortunately, once they received it, they stopped answering my emails and I never got my printer or money back. In hindsight, I should have asked them to send me the parts that they think needed replacement. Since I’m in Canda, they know that I can’t do much against them (I can’t bring them to court to get my money back very easily from up here) so I guess that’s why they decided to keep my money and ignore me.” In the end, this customer feels that they were cheated out of $600.