Maker Faire made for many interesting memories. We had a great show with Steadcraft and are already looking forward to next year. If you haven’t been before, put it on your calendar now. For anybody used to toiling in relative obscurity with some strange obsession, you probably have had the experience of finally connecting in person with someone who really understands what you do. Maker Faire is where all of these people find their tribe.
I didn’t get to range very far from the booth and there are several things I’m already feeling sorry for missing, but I made a couple discoveries I’m excited to share.
CNC embroidery attachment at Printrbot
First off, this amazing attachment that the folks over at Printerbot made which turns an ordinary sewing machine into a CNC embroidery machine. I didn’t see it in action, but from what I understand, it has a microcontroller and mechanics which allow it to accept SVG files (vectors) and to sew those patterns by moving the embroidery frame on the XY axis. I did’t see results from this machine either, but am looking forward to something that I can share with you here.
I loved this levitating sculpture from Nick Dong at Studio Dong
Other highlights included this electroluminescent Tesla with a FLIR camera and powerful digital projector being shown by Racing Extinction, an important documentary project depicting the plight of Earth’s species.
I didn’t make it over to see the La Attrata sculpture being constructed by Therm for Burning Man, but I found this photo and can’t wait to see the gorgeous stainless steel moth lighted and enlivened.
Lastly, I have to share this amazing looking update of the Printrbot Metal that is due to ship soon. Highlights include a linear rail motion system, increased build size (to 6″ x 8″ x 8″), and touchscreen.
Peachy Printer has posted an “uncut video” to prove to the world that they actually have a working prototype. It is not terribly surprising to see it function, as the technology is basically all there and cheap. Still, backers have never seen a start to finish print video like this and it has made a lot of people feel better right as they were starting to think the whole crowdfunding campaign and product development was a scam.
There seems to be a fair amount of evidence that development did happen. The prototype shown in the video does have a USB connection rather than the original audio output (for starters). I have been pushed and pulled throughout this process, wanting to believe Rylan Grayston, and understand what could be a true story about his plight, while still feeling fairly well ripped off.
Two problems here. One, this is not the video we have all been waiting for. It is only satisfying under the circumstances. With the camera and print both moving, under inadequate light, with the focus constantly shifting, and then the video ends, it hardly gives a clear enough shot of the print to judge quality.
The most telling thing to me (besides the revelation of seeing the thing work), was the model chosen to print. It was not a true dimensional form, instead being an extrusion of a 2D profile. That’s right, it was a text stamp.
Fourteen years ago I was making photopolymer stamps with nothing more than two pieces of glass, a bit of foam weather stripping, resin, blacklight, and inkjet transparency paper. It gave excellent sharp results. It can be done using either liquid resin or metal backed plate. Discovering this is part of what lead me to 3D printing allowed me to understand and be willing to back a project like Peachy Printer.
So I’m not surprised to see the printer make a stamp. But as far as I can tell, I did a better job with my photopolymer flexographic printing plates.
No doubt many people are relieved to be able to show this video to their friends and family to prove they were not insane or stupid to back a project like this. (I’m glad I can show my family and friends.) However, until I see this printer create true three dimensional forms, I won’t believe that it prints with the quality claimed.
The biggest problem with this specific print, beyond the fact that it is simply a shallow extrusion, is that it can be created by programming the laser to trace the same profile over and over. It doesn’t demonstrate any ability of the printer to regulate the layer height, or know where it is in the print. It also does not demonstrate that the code driving the laser comes from slices of a 3D model. Peachy claims development of a slicer to transform models into layers and translate that into output that drives the laser in sync with the rising layer height. That in fact is necessary for this to be a 3D printer. This print could have been created without a 3D model at all, because every layer of an extrusion is the same. This could have been created by the laser simply tracing the same profile repetitively without any consideration for layer layer height–as long as the layer continued to raise.
It may be that we will see actual 3D printing from this Peachy device. I hope we do. Backers are buoyed by this video and many are clearly ready to give more money to the project to see it to completion. I’d like to see it work. I’d like to see Rylan Grayston out of the hole he is in and to see the backers duly rewarded after their long wait. I’m not going to risk throwing good money after bad though. I’m liquidating my investment in Peachy Printer. The ebay auction on my Peachy Printer Beta Kit closes at 1:13pm Pacific time today.
Standard benchmark print models are freely available in the 3D printing community. They exist to test all of the necessary capabilities of the printer at one time, with one model. Let’s see one of those Peachy Printer. How about this:
The difference here is plain to see. Peachy’s demonstration print tests only a single quality when what we look for in a 3D test print will define the limits of a printer on the following terms.
- size: the object is 2x50x30mm (baseplate)
- hole size: 3 holes (3/4/5mm)
- Nut size: M4 Nut should fit perfectly
- fine details: pyramide, cone, all numbers
- rounded print: wave, half sphere
- minimum distance & walls: 0.1/0.2/0.3/0.4/0.5/0.6/0.7mm
- overhang: 25°/30°/35°/40°/45°
- bridge print: 2/4/8/16/mm
- surface: all the flat parts
Come on Peachy Printer. Live up.
I am furiously preparing for Maker Faire, where I load in just three short days from now. I have a pile of freshly minted Steadcraft earrings for sale and will be exhibiting a range of work. Come see classic necklaces from my book, Polymer Clay Beads, Steadcraft prototypes of embroidered cuffs and mixed-media broaches as well as demonstrations of our latest processes.
See my Printrbot in action, check out sculptural 3D prints from reality capture via the forthcoming Autodesk ReMake, watch my embroidery machine sew 600 stitches per minute, ask me “what the heck is metal clay?”or just stop by to chat with me about the state of affairs in the maker world. I’ve got lots to say about the Peachy Printer debacle, if you have been following that. Or, we can just jam about all the positive things that are happening to bring together hand-craft with digital fabrication.
If you haven’t planned to attend Maker Faire yet, get tickets! It is May 20th-22nd and is the largest and longest running multi maker mashup in el mundo!
Those were David Boe’s words April 14th, 2014. David just stopped by the Beta Testers’ Forum to say hi–one month after he was apparently done spending $320,000 of Kickstarter backers money building a house instead of a 3D printer.
“I would like to say thanks to all of our Peachy Printer team and everyone who has helped bring our little printer along this far, and am looking forward to seeing where it all goes!”
Right after spending half their magically huge haul on a house he couldn’t even finish. He says that after meeting Peachy Printer creator Rylan Grayston randomly in his driveway one day that they
started talking, sharing idea’s (sic) and everything seemed to just “click.”
“Click,” indeed. And click by click a million dollars went down the drain. One wonders what ideas were really shared that day.
Did you hear the one about the Peachy Printer? Guy asks for $100,000 to build a $100 3D printer. Raises over a million dollars between Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Backerkit, the Canadian government and his family for his dream. Partner secretly spends over $300,000 on a house. CEO covers up theft to apparently maintain face, recoup funds, continue development. Recovers $100,000 from thief who defaults repayment agreement. Spends the vast majority of the rest of the funds on salary. Goes broke. Blames theft. Releases taped “confession” from thief that he has been holding over his head for 18 months to extract payment. Thief said he was coerced to confess. Project dead in water. Inventor very bummed. Backers? (pissed). Canadian authorities notified 6 months ago but don’t know what to do with this new fangled crowdfunding thing.
Eric Greene, director of consumer protection with the province’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority, is working to determine what people thought they would get in return for their money.
“Was it a gift, a donation, an investment, a contribution or a purchase? Was the promise that you would get a product at the end of the day dependent on a variety of issues?”
There are a few big questions here. Is it legitimate to blame the loss of a portion of funds for the failure of the project? There was much more money spent on the salaries of the developers than was left ultimately outstanding to the embezzler. Only a portion of the funds are included in the peachyprinter.com mea culpa fancy graphics. How much was raised by Backerkit? Critically, how does Backerkit’s lack of user facing terms of service regarding such transactions as “pre-orders” affect the transacting parties? We know that funds given to Kickstarter and Indiegogo have basically no guarantee of returning any reward. What about Backerkit’s blurring of the lines with the concept of a pre-order? Is this any different than an order?
When I contacted Backerkit to tell them that I had been defrauded by Peachy, they replied that they were very very sorry, but
“due to the recent developments in the Peachy Printer project, we are unable to handle cancellation or refund requests at this time.”
I explained to them that I was under the impression that my transaction was framed as a pre-order, and asked them if they could clearly define this concept for me. Their answer?
“Unfortunately, BackerKit does not currently have a public-facing Terms Of Service for Pre-orders, and this debacle is definitely pushing that to the top of our to-do-list.”
I’ll bet it is.
Here is how Backerkit promotes the concept of pre-orders on their site:
Expand your fan base
A crowdfunding campaign is an exciting event, not a store. Kickstarter has been clear about their position on this, and we think it’s a good idea to retain the sanctity of that event, too. But offering preorders doesn’t actually reduce the value or excitement of this event—it’s just a way for you to allow more people to support your project.
But just to make sure to retain the sanctity of the original campaign, you can always create a little bit of differentiation between pre-order backers and your original backers. Most pre-order backers are excited just to have the option to get in on a campaign that they missed out on, so the easiest way to differentiate is usually to offer slightly different pricing options for pre-order rewards. Rarely have we heard of a campaign’s original backers actually being upset that the creator offered pre-orders after the official end-date. In the end, you’re just allowing more people to get on board and broadening the reach of your project.
Just down the same page, they say this:
Pre-orders also allow you to keep momentum going outside of Kickstarter and Indiegogo. With the added convenience brought by the new Kickstarter Spotlight feature, you can easily lead backers to your own site for pre-orders, whether it be via the BackerKit Pre-orders Widget or your personal online store.
So if Kickstarter is not a store, and Backerkit is differentiating itself from that “event,” what is a pre-order from a store if not just an early order? Where, pray tell, is the sanctity?
This case has serious implications for the crowdfunding community. The story broke two days ago and the thousands of backers are dying for answers. I, for my part, backed the project both because I wanted the product and because I thought the innovative cost-cutting design choices the inventor was working with deserved support. This was a scrappy project from the start and appear to have been simply unprepared for the amount of money that came its way. Clever inventor does not equal successful CEO. Apparently heavy equipment mechanic makes really bad CFO.
This is how embezzler David Boe introduced himself to the forum of Peachy Printer Beta testers back in April 2014:
In other words, backers are supposed to accept that they have been hung out to dry because our Fearless Inventor parked his car in this strangers driveway, then Kickstarter deposited $587,435.73 in his personal account. And the inventor was too absorbed tinkering to notice.
The internet seems to divide in three on the matter. There are those that see Rylan Grayston as the victim he claims to be, who only did what he had to do–who had no choice under the circumstance. There are those that think his cover-up hurts his credibility even if he was in a very tough spot. Then there are many who don’t believe a word he says (or for that matter the video-taped confession of the thief, David Boe).
I have been following this project closely ever since its inception at the end of 2016. I backed it at the Beta tester level both because of the promise to send me a Beta kit immediately and for the opportunity to become part of a community of people supporting the development of the product. The community never materialised, and the company was making revisions fast enough to make the kit obsolete almost as soon as I got it. I continued to follow updates over the following two years. Knowing now that the money was missing from the start makes me call into question whether or not the makers were truly making a good-faith effort to bring the product to backers. Only an investigation will clear this up.
As angry as I am i still believe Rylan Grayston–mostly. He strikes me as ernest, amateur, and truly heartbroken by this affair. But I can’t reconcile his blaming the Peachy failure on David Boe, his partner who stole the money. Nor can I get over the fact that I pre-ordered when they made that offer after the Kickstarter. The money had already been stolen. The company continued to raise money from the public and the government despite being aware of the internal fraud. That is the worst part. Unfortunately for Rylan, I’m afraid it also may put him in the position of answering criminal charges. It most certainly exposes him to severe legal liability. It damns his credibility. Nevertheless, I’m inclined to think that he did what he felt he had to, and maybe even was trying to limit damage to his remorseful former friend.
This does not make matters any better really. I can’t forgive the fact that I contributed when asked, after it should have been clear that the money was not where it should have been. This was a practice that continued throughout the life of the company, run low on cash–scramble for someone else to buy in. Bad news. Ever hear of a pyramid scheme? I first received this opportunity on Jan 08, 2014, and I made payment on 2/12/14. I’m not accusing Rylan Grayston of knowingly defrauding me–yet. The fact remains however that when I paid in $620, David Boe had already spent almost $320,000 on building a house. What was Rylan doing with his portion of the funds during this time?
The answer is he was spending almost $400,000 on salary and wages. Oops. No wonder Peachy decided to announce seven months later that the “Peachy Printer is Now Available for pre-order.” They sent this email on 10/15/14:
That was a year and a half ago folks. Peachy Printer was totally broke then. This was three weeks after Peachy hit rock bottom. Three weeks after the September 18th date that Rylan gives as the day he finally demanded the remainder of all corportate funds from David Boes personal account–and received only $30,000. This left $320,000 outstanding. That is why they said the printer is available and offered it for “pre-order.”
When I look back at the email that I got asking for money, three months after the theft, it does say that the terms of transaction are essentially those of the kickstarter. It’s not exactly legal language but the idea is that there is no obligation to deliver put upon Peachy. It is a risk. That email came from Kaleb Dunlop.
I can’t find much on Kaleb, but he seems to be some young kid that was working for the Peachy team. When I google him I get this link for a Google Plus page,
Strangely, clicking the link leads to the following page:
Is Kaleb Dunlop actually Nathan Grayston? What does this mean? It seemed suspicious, so naturally I googled to see if Superman and Clark Kent were ever seen together:
Dunlop is the big kid in this 2012 photo, holding the Skateboard. Nathan Grayston (Rylan’s brother and also a Peachy employee), is on the far right. Two totally innocent kids at a community skatepark groundbreaking. They look well intentioned. Why the link for Kaleb’s Google Plus page apparently leads to Nathan’s page is anybody’s guess. I’m sure the authorities will be talking to everybody who worked for Peachy. Rylan says when the fraud was discovered that he and his brother took massive paycuts and moved out of their commercial space into a shared home that they worked out of. You’ve got to wonder what they were all being paid before–and WHY?
As for other failures, too much time and money was actually spent towards the product relative to original estimates. Like any project, there were unforeseen challenges and delays. However, either the prototypes presented in the Kickstarter were far-under developed, successive generations failed to focus on minimum viable product, or the whole project was doomed from the start by it’s insistence on being the worlds first $100 3D printer. There are reasons that there wasn’t one before and still isn’t now. Clever innovations piled on top of each other might make a great story, a good pitch even, but there are reasons that existing technology incorporates the design choices that it does. It’s one thing to reinvent the wheel, but when you add in better mousetraps and discovering fire you might just be setting yourself up for failure.
I, like many in the backer community are struggling with how to frame this story. Is it a criminal caper or a tragedy? It looks like both.
Oh, and by the way, my Peachy Printer Beta kit is up on ebay–brand new, unassembled, highly collectible.
I’m appreciating this take on this particular scandal from Makers Muse:
Summarizing my thoughts almost exactly–with the exception that I’m somewhat lacking in sympathy for Rylan Grayston at this point. If his story is true then he has been victimized by his partner David Boe. Regardless of his story, the fact remains that Peachy burned through a million dollars before it was all done (not including the $200,000 allegedly outstanding to Boe). They only asked for $100,000 via Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They were over-funded by a factor of 12. The missing money is 16% of their total take.
I waited patiently all along because I believed everything Rylan was reporting. It has been a long haul but I would rather have them make the best possible product rather than get something unfinished. No doubt it has been a massive undertaking, and scaling up to the size of production required is a challenge. It was clear from the start that prototypes were rudimentary. The appeal was the number of innovative things being done to cut cost. Unfortunately many of those decisions cut quality as well. The revisions that were made in development clearly went to address key shortcomings (“innovations” like driving laser mirror galvanometers with an audio signal).
Many “clever” innovations were actually a huge challenge that needed to be overcome by substantial design revisions and had the potential to be fatal flaws (see top down build). It was more like a really cool science fair project than anything. I wanted printers out of it, but I also backed it because any level of success it had was going to drive competition and lower prices across the board. The fact remains that if you want quality, it will cost money.
Two years later, Peachy has been surpassed by more important innovations. Many bottom up resin printer technologies have come to pass. Layerless printing ala Carbon. Barrier technologies that reduce mechanical force for layer separation from the vat surface. LCD curing like the Uniz Slash.
I don’t doubt that Rylan was unprepared for the level of success he found with his campaigns. It may be that he was simply hamstrung by his ambition for the project and he overreached on development. Maybe people got paid too much. There has been some debate on this fact and it will be telling to have some analysis of the numbers. What seems evident is that 70% of detailed funding went to salaries of 8 people.
For his part, Rylan claims to be near to shipping printers, stuck at 70% completion on the first run of 600. I have been following development closely and find this credible. He claims as he has done all along that the team is doing everything to push forward and beyond the parts and assembly time needed for the additional printers, all that is required is to pass the laser certification process which has begun, and is required to ship to the majority of backers. This also is credible on the surface.
What is difficult to swallow is this idea that the whole thing is falling apart because of the 16% David allegedly retains. Yes, Rylan is earnest, and believable to those of us that have followed him all along. His claim that he hid this theft to wrest control of the company from David, maintain public dignity and continue development does make sense, even if it is the wrong choice. That choice hurts his credibility and I think it can only be restored via thorough investigation.
Crowdfunding has no guaranteed payoff. It is ripe for scams because no one is required to actually deliver. I’m inclined to believe that the worst thing that I have suffered is a somewhat pricey lesson in due diligence and desire. Perhaps I should have thought better with my money. I will definitely not back anything in the future because I feel like I need it. You can’t need something that doesn’t exist yet. If you need it now–better get something real.
Still, if the battle is between imaginary $100 resin printers of tomorrow and the fully functional $400 filament printers of today, it won’t be long before they come head to head.
I’m sorry to see such a catastrophic demise for the Peachy Printer project. No doubt Mr Grayston would like to attract investors to push the project forward. I’d say that probably ain’t gonna happen. He has at least followed through on a promise to open source everything. So you can build your own Peachy. There’s that. He has also posted updates answering many of the questions people have.
Meanwhile, bidding is open on my Peachy Printer Beta Tester Kit. Someday there will be a movie about this (I’m sure Rylan will sell the rights). The story it would tell is still unraveling. Who knows what this kit will be worth someday. Just imagine.