For many people, Printrbot was their first 3D printer. What started out as [Brook Drumm’s] Kickstarter idea to make 50 printers turned into over a thousand orders backlogged. To quote [Brook], they went from zero sales to about two million in the first year and then twelve million a few years later. As is often the case, though, the rapid scale-up didn’t survive a drop in sales. [Thomas Sanladerer] has a great interview video with [Brook] and you can see it below.
It is both nostalgic and sad to see the Printrbot headquarters all empty with quiet machines. [Brook] was always one of us and often gave back to the community and it is interesting to hear his perspective about what brought his company to an end.
Predictably, one of the villains in the story was cheap imports. Of course, other companies have found ways — at least so far — to survive that, so that can’t be the whole story. Can’t help, either, though. [Brook] tried to make as much as he could locally and while that’s great for quality control it isn’t always great for costs. The truth is, this isn’t a new story. It is often difficult for young companies to survive a big surge that doesn’t sustain itself.
At the end [Brook] says he’s down but not out and hopes to start another 3D printing company in the future. If you ever owned a Printrbot, or you want a glimpse into what life is like after your Kickstarter catches on fire and then burns itself out, you’ll want to watch the video.
We covered the Printrbot closing, of course, but this interview is a fitting eulogy from [Brook] himself. If you want to rewind back to the heady days in 2011 when Printrbot was born, we covered that, too.