USCutter, a leading reseller of 3D printers and national distributor of equipment and supplies for the sign-making, vehicle and garment customization industries, has announced that it is now the exclusive distributor of the Phoenix 3D printer, developed and manufactured by Ez3D.
Owned by Jerry and Jacob Wood, Ez3D launched the Phoenix last year through Kickstarter, hoping for a goal of $20,000, which would have meant approximately 48 printers sold. The campaign ended up with pledges for 266 printers totaling slightly more than $109,000 (minus Kickstarter and Amazon fees).
The campaign's success and enthusiasm for the printer design was exciting, but it left the father and son team with a bit of a conundrum. 48 printers could have been manufactured RepRap-style, with printers printing printer parts. A thousand printers could have been traditionally mass produced. But, 266 meant too many printers for the RepRap method and not enough money for injection molding. This led to experimentation with resin casting for manufacturing and while that was taking place, other improvements to the printer design were implemented. The end result is a printer that is superior to the one initially offered on Kickstarter, which is a good thing for campaign backers and those who want to buy a Phoenix in the future. However, it also means the pledges have been getting delivered late and the extra R&D and manufacturing changes burned through capital faster than expected for a printer that was underpriced in the first place.
Regular followers of Kickstarter know that late delivery is the norm, not the exception, but Phoenix backers understandably want their printers sooner rather than later. Enter national retail powerhouse USCutter and a more realistic price of $699.95 for the Phoenix.
"This deal allows us to start moving forward from a stronger position, enabling us to finish fulfilling our Kickstarter orders sooner and also make inroads into the retail market," says Ez3D cofounder and vice president Jacob Wood.
The partnership gives USCutter, already a distributor of Leapfrog 3D printers, a strong "first time buyer" entry into the market.
"We've run dozens of 3D printers through our labs and were impressed with the feature set of the Phoenix," explains USCutter president Karl Bowman. "It compared well – not just with other printers in the value-end of the 3D printer market, but also against printers priced at $2,000 or more. The big build bed and support for multiple filaments is something you don't see from other products in the price range, and the way it works to help users recover from common printer errors removes frustration from the learning process."
The Phoenix has "print recovery," the ability to recover from print failures that might otherwise cost the user significant time and materials. In addition to the unique pause and rewind feature, the Phoenix has a heated bed, can employ ABS, PLA, Nylon and HIPS filament, and prints 100 micron layers in a 9.8" x 8.5" x 7.9" build envelope. And now through USCutter, free phone and online support plus a 1 year limited warranty on parts and labor are included.
"USCutter has a strong service reputation as well as the resources and infrastructure necessary for us to meet high demand for the Phoenix printer," says Wood. "Thanks to this partnership, the Phoenix printer will be the only 3D printer in its class with free support, which immediately adds value, and eliminates worry, for our customers."
USCutter is offering a $100 discount on Phoenix orders through Christmas.