The lights are fading on the crowdfunded Tiko 3D printer

The Tiko 3D printer which was crowdfunded on Kickstarter appears to have reached a new low. For months, even years, backers have waited to receive the machine and only few have received anything at all. The unibody 3D printer was retailing for $179 and received a massive $2.9 million in funding two years ago.

3D Printing Industry reported Tiko’s woes as part of our Sliced 3D printing news digest, in this we voiced fears for the company. However, an update from Tiko on Kickstarter this week, seems to have confirmed the worst.

Tiko’s fate is now similar to other crowdfunded projects before it, like Pirate3D, Peachy, NexD1 and the continues delays in shipping around Glowforge. The NexD1 machine was eventually suspended on Kickstarter after concerns from the 3D printing community, and a promised demonstration of the 3D printer where the company failed to turn up.

Despite this, there have been many success stories for 3D printers on Kickstarter. Formlabs used the crowdfunding platform to kick-start their Form 1 machine and have gone on to bigger and better things with the release of the Form 2.

The suspended NexD1 project. Screenshot via Kickstarter.
The suspended NexD1 project. Screenshot via Kickstarter.

Is Tiko really dead?

Despite the morbid update from the team, there may still be an element of hope. In the update they respond to the question (is Tiko dead?) saying,

No, at least, not yet. We made countless mistakes, and we are now in a tough place, but it doesn’t mean that everything we built is suddenly worthless.

Their optimism is displayed as they say, “Tiko as a platform is exceptionally well positioned for this future.” Looking to the future, they say,

We are doing something we should have done a long time ago. We are speaking with investors.

However, “these discussions cannot be rushed. It’s a lengthy process, and it could take months for us to reach something conclusive.” According to Tiko, they have been so secretive about their issues because, “headlines of our failure would hurt the odds of reaching a deal, so we did what was best for the project and kept quiet.” While the news is quite clearly public now, the team have reportedly, “already made good progress, so it might not be a dealbreaker.” We will have to wait and see how this will turn out.

The company's original timeline. Image via Tiko on Kickstarter.
The company’s original timeline. Image via Tiko on Kickstarter.

Backers of the project

Despite all this gloom, Tiko seem to believe backers should, and would, want an opportunity to, “have a say in all this.” In the update they say that,

Over the coming weeks, we will be in the comments section to collaborate on a variety of ideas. Everyone is welcome to participate, and we hope you will join us as we work together to define the next chapter of the Tiko story.

Unfortunately they have said that they will not be refunding backers, since they would be unable to because they cannot refund everyone.

Our priority is still the successful delivery of all Kickstarter rewards, and the remaining funds will be used for the turnaround effort, in line with Kickstarter’s Terms of Use.

However, as many in the comments have expressed, the backers should at least receive a refund on their shipping costs. Tiko reportedly asked backers to pay for shipping separately from their Kickstarter funding and yet clearly this fund of money was never required to be used. This whole situation is very disappointing for the 3D printing community and the state of 3D printer crowdfunding.

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Featured image shows the Tiko 3D printer. Photo via their Kickstarter.