Glowforge delays shipments again after $28M crowdfunding campaign for 3D laser printer

Geekwire | | , 2016

Glowforge 300x255 - Glowforge delays shipments again after $28M crowdfunding campaign for 3D laser printerGlowforge is delaying initial shipments of its 3D laser printer again.

The Seattle startup, which set a crowdfunding record by raising nearly $28 million from thousands of backers who pre-ordered the printer in October, sent a lengthy email to customers today notifying them that shipments are being pushed back to December 2016.

The company’s original plan was to start shipping the “first units” in December, two months after the crowdfunding campaign ended. But in February, Glowforge said those shipments were delayed, telling the initial backers who pre-ordered during the 30-day campaign that they’d now receive their printers this June.

Now the shipment is being pushed back another six months.

“It’s an awful feeling to let so many people down,” Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro told GeekWire.

Shapiro told backers that a power supply issue is the primary reason for the delay.

“We could hit the gas and start churning out huge numbers of printers in time to meet June,” he wrote in the email. “We would love to do that. We want you to have your printer. It makes us feel terrible to contemplate letting you down. But we’d feel worse about compromising on quality. We just got this power supply. Everything has been working well together, but we haven’t had enough time to feel confident that it will meet your expectations.”

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Glowforge is offering backers $150 of high-quality free materials designed specifically for lasers; a $50 gift certificate to its design catalog store; and Glowforge “Founder status,” which offers 10 percent discounts on materials and design catalog orders through 2017.

Those who ordered after the crowdfunding campaign — you can still order a printer today — will receive their product some time in 2017, Glowforge said. Shapiro wouldn’t say how many customers ordered after the campaign versus before, but he told GeekWire that “we know that more than ten thousand people are counting on us to deliver their Glowforge, and counting on us to make it amazing.”

One backer recently received a beta version of the printer, which retails for $4,000 (basic level) but sold for $1,995 during the crowdfunding campaign and is available for $2,395 today. Others in the community have organized monthly virtual meetups.

Shapiro told backers that they can email for a full refund if they don’t want to wait any longer.

“I worked very hard to deliver your Glowforge on time, and I am sorry that I failed you,” Shapiro wrote in the email. “Our team has been amazing and done everything possible. This is on me.”

Asked to explain what he means by “this is on me,” here’s what Shapiro told GeekWire:

“When I say to our backers ‘it’s on me,’ I have a lot running through my head. First, the weight of responsibility I feel of letting people down. Second, the deep commitment and immense work the team did to bring this together; the shortcomings are mine alone. Third, while I want to share the reasons behind what happened, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m trying to make excuses or avoid blame. And fourth, the unfortunate recollection that when I wrote a book called ‘Hot Seat‘ about the experience of being a startup CEO, I knew I’d wind up here again someday – and here I am.”

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