What’s going on with the 2019 Midwest RepRap Festival?

The Midwest RepRap Festival (MRRF) is a free, annual gathering of 3D printing enthusiasts and makers held in Goshen, Indiana.

Since its foundation in 2013, the festival has been hosted by 3D printer manufacturer SeeMeCNC, headquartered in Ligonier, Indiana.

With MRRF 2019 just around the corner, event organizers (@MidwestRRfest) announced that they would be releasing the dates for next year’s festival. However, following a tweet teasing these dates, @MidwestRRfest found that a new Twitter account, @MRRF3DPFest, complete with website, Facebook and all-new branding, was already touting the dates of MRRF 2019.

As expected, a great deal of confusion ensued. Having been tagged by the new twitter account (@MRRF3DPFest) in a promotional post 3D Printing Industry initially requested further information, without success. 

We then sought comment from Steve Wygant, the President and CEO of SeeMeCNC, and organizers at @MidwestRRfest to find out more.

Nothing to SeeMeCNC here…

The new MRRF 2019 website and social media accounts have been claimed by Steve Wygant, the President and CEO of SeeMeCNC, in a post on the company’s official Facebook page:

“SeeMeCNC is proud to HOST the #MRRF2019. I can assure you the event is paid. Dates are real. Website real. SeeMeCNC is NOT putting on this event,”

“Like every year since the beginning, Steve Wygant has written the first payment for the fairgrounds, to kick off MRRF.”

Still, this statement, and ensuing comment thread has done little to diffuse the situation. And with several comments on social media suggesting people had booked hotel rooms or sent sponsorship fund, clarity is required.

When asked for comment to clarify on the post, Wygant said, “There is a misunderstanding with a former employee who quit my company last year,”

“I am working toward resolving this soon.”

Self replicating RepRap festival rapped with bad rep

The former employee Wygant seems to be referring to is John “Oly” Olafson, former Vice President and credited co-founder of SeeMeCNC. Oly and colleagues Thomas and Sonny are the managers of the @MidwestRRfest, twitter account associated with the earliest MRRF.

In a public response to Wygant’s MRRF accounts, Oly responded, “Only two people [to have] even considered emailing Adrian Bowyer, asking for permission to use his namesake,” i.e. RepRap in the name of MRRF, “that we know of.”

In reply to a question from Thomas Sanladerer, of Tom’s 3D printing Reviews and Guides, @MidwestRRfest also tweets, “Thomas, John and Sonny here, the organizers of every #mrrf event since its inception. We’re just as confused as you 🤷🏼‍♂️

Collecting information on the discord between the two Midwest RepRap Festivals, Sanladerer has put together a thread of the likely events that led up to the confusion which can be viewed here.

3D Printing Industry has requested further comment from the organizers of MRRF 2019.

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Featured image shows RepRap 3D printer at MRRF 2018. Photo via Midwest RepRap Fest on Facebook