Rumors spreading around the untimely demise of popular open-source 3D printer manufacturer Lulzbot are untrue.
Internet speculation has gained pace from an initial post on Reddit earlier today and spread to blog posts. Lisa Ketner, VP of Global Sales & Support at Aleph Objects, confirmed to 3D Printing Industry that the company is very much still in business.
“We did have a staff reduction but are not shutting down Friday,” said Ketner.
Aleph Objects are the makers of the Lulzbot line of FFF 3D printers and will be making a more detailed statement about the staff reduction later today.
The exact figures of how many jobs will be lost are yet to be announced and it is, of course, sad news to hear that this well-liked company will be making people redundant. When we have more information we will bring it to you.
The bigger picture
Without diminishing the impact this news has on people’s lives, the consumer market for desktop 3D printers can expect more of the same to come. Early movers in this space such as Ultimaker and MakerBot now seek to position themselves at a level above the numerous low-cost, and frequently more than adequate, FFF 3D printing systems produced in countries where operating and manufacturing costs are lower.
What happened in the FFF/FDM world is now happening for SLA. While a $300 or even a $100 machine may not meet the standards and requirements for every user, entry-level systems at such price points are doing brisk business.
Whether this is good or bad depends on where you are standing.
The next iteration of Lulzbot will be much leaner, certainly down from the 150 plus members of staff. But how the company responds to the reaction of the tightknit 3D printing community may prove critical to how the brand is viewed longterm.
UPDATE: A statement was issued by Aleph Objects
“Aleph Objects Inc. has reduced its staff as of today. Please be assured we will continue to manufacture and sell the LulzBot Mini 2, Workhorse and Pro series of printers and will continue to service the equipment as we are negotiating new ownership opportunities. All warranties will continue to be honored and the standard one year warranty will be included with all new printer purchases.”
UPDATE 2: The Loveland Report-Herald reports Aleph Objects has made 91 of its 113 staff redundant due to cash flow problems.