“Making History: Applications of Digitization and Materialization Projects in Repositories” – Appendix A

Appendix A: Kickstarter

Methodology

In order to get a sense of how 3D printing is used and envisioned, I ran a search for Kickstarter projects involving “3d printing.” I did so with the intent to use Kickstarter as a tool of cultural history.

This approach has obvious limitations, beginning with the chosen keyword search. I know of at least one open 3D printing project that did not appear among the search results, and there were also a few false positives.1 There is no public API, and rather than scraping the site in an attempt to compile a more complete data set, I opted to continue with the modest sample of a few dozen projects. Nor did I attempt to identify similar projects on other crowdfunding platforms. My data is not the basis for a rigorous statistical analysis, but instead a qualitative and somewhat speculative examination of public opinion and aspirations. Though not an exhaustive analysis, suggestive trends and outliers emerge.

Basic Campaign Data

One project (Michael Kintner’s) appeared twice in the search; I have simply treated it as a single project. I ignored five projects which were actually unrelated to 3D printing—they involved game pieces and printable rules, or 3D modeling or effects in prints of two dimensional artwork. 67 individual projects remained for analysis.

The projects’ closing dates range from October 31, 2009 to August 4, 2013. 29 projects succeeded in reaching their funding goals, and 29 projects failed to meet them. 9 projects were still open, with between 11 and 34 days remaining. One project, Terence Tam’s OpenBeam Kossel Pro, had three hours remaining at the time I performed the search; it had already exceeded its funding goal, so I counted it among the successful projects. One team, 3DThinkTank, ran two projects (one successful, one not) for the same product with different funding goals; I have dealt with each campaign as an independent project.

The majority of projects used U.S. dollars; six used British pounds sterling. I normalized units with Google’s online currency converter, based on Citibank N.A.’s July 1, 2013 exchange rates (£1 = $1.52), and rounded to the nearest dollar.

Most of the projects were based in the United States: Arizona (1), California (13), Colorado (6), Connecticut (1), Florida (2), Illinois (2), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (2), Michigan (2), Missouri (1), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (2), Nevada (1), New York (4), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (2), Utah (3), Virginia (1), Vermont (2), Washington (1), and the District of Columbia (1). Of the projects based in Europe, 3 were in the United Kingdom, 2 in the Netherlands, and 1 each in Germany, Norway, and Spain. One project did not list a location.

See Table 1 for data.

Table 1. Basic campaign data

Project name Creator Result Closed on State or Country
“Torc” – Celtic Boar: Sculpt, 3D(Scan & Print) Project Paul J. Hershey Open 11-Jul-13 CA
3D Printed windsurf, kite, surf, and paddle SmartBoards™ MADE BOARDS Open 4-Aug-13 IL
3D-REX: A 3D-Printed Tyrannosaurus Rex Sculpture namisu Open 3-Aug-13 Spain
Hangar 18 Pinups: Modern Pinup Miniatures, Bawidamann Style! Hangar 18 Miniatures Open 16-Jul-13 CO
Inherently Useful: A 3D Printed Collection Lance Atkins Open 14-Jul-13 CO
Lovecrafted Games: Customizable 3D printed miniatures Lovecrafted Games Open 23-Jul-13 UT
ModiBot Mo: DIY action Figures with 3d Printed accessories Go Go Dynamo Open 12-Jul-13 RI
The Cartel Studio – Art for All! Abbey Charles Open 14-Jul-13 CO
The Maker Girls & the 3D Printing Revolution Deb Chase, Principal at Moxie3D, LLC Open 17-Jul-13 DC
3D print shops in Vermont, and soon near YOU! Daniel Alder Riley Success 5-Oct-12 VT
3D printed kits of the Ffestiniog Englands from laser scans Chris Thorpe from The Flexiscale Company Success 6-Mar-13 United Kingdom
3D Printed Robotic Hand Christopher Chappell Success 10-Apr-13 CO
3D Printing and Porcelain. Discovering a new process Brock DeBoer Success 30-May-11 MO
3D Printing Electronics for Makerbot, RepRap, Cubely, Others makerbench Success 4-Mar-11 AZ
3D Printing for Everyone – Making the RepRap Easier to Build RV Mendoza Success 2-Jul-11 MI
3D Refiner by 3Dprintsexpress.com Ross Yeager Success 1-May-13 CA
3Doodler: The World’s First 3D Printing Pen WobbleWorks LLC Success 25-Mar-13 MA
Artifaekt: Soul Claire Elaine Success 26-Apr-13 PA
B9Creator – A High Resolution 3D Printer Michael Joyce Success 12-Jun-12 SD
Doodle3D Doodle3D Success 22-May-13 Netherlands
Filabot: Plastic Filament Maker Tyler McNaney Success 23-Jan-12 VT
File2Part: Software that Makes 3D printing easy File2Part Success 19-Sep-12 MA
Gigabot 3D Printing: This is Huge! re:3D Success 9-May-13 TX
MakerBot – 3D Printing in a Baltimore HS Engineering Class Weston Shreiber Success 2-Oct-11 MD
Maxifab 3D Printing Framework Ryan Robinson Success 15-Apr-12 FL
MeshUp: Mashup for meshes Uformia Success 18-Nov-12 Norway
OpenBeam Kossel Pro Terence Tam Success 30-Jun-13 WA
Pebble Watch Covers Drew Beller Success 18-May-13 NY
Printrbot: Your First 3D Printer Brook Drumm Success 17-Dec-11 CA
RepRap 3D printer Therminator 5 Hot End tony may Success 18-May-13 OH
RigidBot 3D Printer Michael Lundwall Success 10-May-13 UT
SIMPLY AMPLIFIED 3d Printed SYMPHONY SHELLS 3DThinkTank Success 24-Jan-13 CA
Tapigami presents Hacker Glasses Tapigami Success 9-Mar-13 CA
The Buccaneer Pirate 3D Inc. Success 29-Jun-13 CA
The NEXT 3D Printer: A Full-Scale Exploration of Design Eric Success 1-May-11 MI
The Stelliform Owl Grant Miller Success 22-Mar-12 CA
The Vision: Not Just a 3D Printer… A DREAM Matt Underwood Success 28-Jun-12 IL
Zortrax M200 – professional desktop 3D printer Zortrax Success 21-Jun-13 NJ
360Heros: 360° Video/Photo Gear – 3D Printed for GoPro® Michael Kintner Unsuccessful 28-Jun-13 NY
3D Printed Bummpies…set your iPhone and iPAD FREE…now! Alexander Karp Unsuccessful 2-Mar-13 CA
3D Printer – Bayou Mendel RepRap The Bayou Mendel Team Unsuccessful 14-Jun-11 TX
3D Printing of a Nano Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Robert Reive Unsuccessful 14-Jan-11 NJ
3d Tattoo Body Art Scanner Lee Wagstaff Unsuccessful 22-Apr-13 Germany
3-Dice… The first entirely 3D printed dice game! Warren Bischoff Unsuccessful 10-Apr-13 CT
Bring your children’s artwork to life as a 3D toy-heirloom Dan Garr Unsuccessful 7-Feb-13 CA
Cello Girl Bob Steiner Unsuccessful 13-Feb-12 NY
Create over 250 functional and tested 3d printable files 3Dagogo Unsuccessful 4-May-13 CA
Custom 3D printed iPad Cases Fresh Fiber Unsuccessful 27-Feb-11 Netherlands
Customize & 3D Print Your Favorite Game Characters Sandboxr Unsuccessful 11-Apr-13 UT
Fabroot – Making 3D Fabrication Available to Everyone! fabroot Unsuccessful 31-Oct-09 Unknown
Full Color 3D Printer with Website for artists to Upload FrigidFox Unsuccessful 26-Apr-12 OH
JB Figures Jonathan Bowen Unsuccessful 29-Nov-11 CA
Large Stephen Colbert Head-Bre Pettis Interview-3D Printing Alexander Dick Unsuccessful 24-Jul-11 OR
Old Man 3D print Matt Lambert Unsuccessful 20-Feb-13 United Kingdom
One-to-One : Large Scale 3D Printer Robert Cervellione Unsuccessful 10-Mar-12 NY
Open Source Jewelry lab760 Unsuccessful 26-Mar-13 NH
PotteryPrint: Imagine, Create, Fabricate PotteryPrint Unsuccessful 4-Apr-12 NV
Rapcraft: Rapid Prototyping opensource 3D Printer Rapcraft Team Unsuccessful 13-Jun-12 VA
RepRap: DIY Self-Replicating Rapid Prototyping 3D Printer Caleb Unsuccessful 18-Jul-12 CO
SAIR and DAIR Robots Walt Perko Unsuccessful 18-Sep-11 CA
Student Built Lunar Rover Prototype for Google Lunar X PRIZE Earthrise Space Inc. Unsuccessful 26-Jul-12 FL
Sustainable 3D Printing for Blind Students Matt Jadud Unsuccessful 8-Jan-11 PA
SYMPHONY SHELLS – iPhone Amplification for Your Lifestyle 3DThinkTank Unsuccessful 26-Aug-12 CA
The Daily Print. One 3D Print a Day Brad Ruprecht Unsuccessful 26-Nov-11 MD
The EZ3D Desktop Printer Jake Wood Unsuccessful 21-Apr-13 CO
thrint – inspiring the 3D printing home revolution Simon Donn/Tina Brunner Unsuccessful 24-Apr-13 United Kingdom
Unique 3D Printed jewelry Krish Brothers Unsuccessful 12-Nov-12 MA

Categories

The creators classified their projects using Kickstarter’s taxonomy: Art (3 projects), Conceptual Art (1), Crafts (1), Design (2), Fashion (1), Graphic Design (1), Hardware (21), Open Software (1), Product Design (10), Sculpture (7), Tabletop Games (4), Technology (13), Video Games (1), and Webseries (1). I have also added a Prownian classification.2 Using this scheme, the projects break down into five categories: Art (13), Diversions (9), Adornment (4), Modification of the Landscape (1), Applied Arts (8), and Devices (32).

It should be noted that some projects fit uneasily within a given category. Is a project dedicated to the artistic rendering of a tattooed human form more properly considered Art or Adornment?3 (I have called it Art, based upon the proposed finished pieces rather than the subject matter.) How can—and should?—a project whose goal is software- and service-oriented be classified for material culture purposes?4 (I have simply lumped it into Devices, since the tutoring centers on using hardware and software.) In general, I have categorized projects based upon the nature of the deliverable: printed wind turbine components are a Modification of the Landscape and lighting fixtures are Applied Arts.5 The exercise demonstrates the flexibility of Prown’s categories, and also the temptation to spend excessive time deciding which one(s) apply to a given object. I have sacrificed some nuance in favor of simplicity, and assigned only one category to each project.

See Table 2 for data.

Table 2. Prownian categories

Prownian category Kickstarter category Project name Description
Adornment Conceptual art Artifaekt: Soul A second try at funding! Now focussing on jewelry representing the weight of the soul (and other 3D printing adventures)
Adornment Fashion Open Source Jewelry Accessories with source code! All designs to be released under a Free license for 3D printing or laser-cutting at home.
Adornment Product design Tapigami presents Hacker Glasses The world’s first glasses that use Tapigami lenses and 3d-printed frames to create custom, wearable art pieces!
Adornment Product design Unique 3D Printed jewelry 3D printing is revolutionizing the making of jewelry. We are taking one more step. Making everything unique.
Applied Arts Product design Custom 3D printed iPad Cases Your chance to put your name, logo, text or icon on a 3D printed iPad case. This is the start of mass-customization in design products.
Applied Arts Product design Inherently Useful: A 3D Printed Collection Mixing 3D printing, craftsmanship, & honest design. Writing, lighting, & more. Bringing useful, 3D printed goods into your home.
Applied Arts Product design Pebble Watch Covers 3D printed interchangeable Pebble watch covers to give it a fresh, new look.
Applied Arts Product design SIMPLY AMPLIFIED 3d Printed SYMPHONY SHELLS Custom 3D printed smartphone amplifiers to be made from fully recyclable, ecofriendly material and developed with your wallet in mind.
Applied Arts Product design SYMPHONY SHELLS – iPhone Amplification for Your Lifestyle 3D Printed iPhone Amplifiers: NEW OPTIONS FOR iPhone 5!! Boost your phone’s volume by up to 400%!
Applied Arts Technology Create over 250 functional and tested 3d printable files We will create, print, photograph, and catalog over 250 3D printable items and send you the files on a flashdrive.
Applied Arts Technology The Daily Print. One 3D Print a Day I want to promote 3D Printing. I plan to do so by printing one thing from Thingiverse everyday then share it with the world on my blog.
Applied Arts Technology thrint – inspiring the 3D printing home revolution Creating a shared collection of 1,000 3D print files, to inspire and encourage the 3D printing home revolution.
Art Art 3d Tattoo Body Art Scanner Using 3d technology to capture tattoos & body art to create a 360 degree digital models for 3d printing and an online archive .
Art Art Bring your children’s artwork to life as a 3D toy-heirloom Create a 3D toy of your children’s favorite artwork. We model, 3D print, and mount in a collectible 3D frame to inspire them for years.
Art Art The Cartel Studio – Art for All! The Cartel Studio is a publicly available open studio space specializing in 3D printing, screen printing, and studio photography.
Art Sculpture “Torc” – Celtic Boar: Sculpt, 3D(Scan & Print) Project Goal: To finish the Sculpt, then 3D (Scan & Print) a Celtic Boar variant of a Chinese Guardian Lion (FooDog). (3D “print”:1/3 master).
Art Sculpture 3D Printing and Porcelain. Discovering a new process I will be exploring the use of rapid prototyping to produce original forms to be reproduced in porcelain and other materials.
Art Sculpture 3D-REX: A 3D-Printed Tyrannosaurus Rex Sculpture 3D-REX is a 3D-printed Tyrannosaurus Rex sculpture for your desk or wall.
Art Sculpture Cello Girl Art Sculpture project using Zbrush, 3D printing, casting and hand painting.
Art Sculpture Full Color 3D Printer with Website for artists to Upload Creating a full color 3D print service that will offer post processing options for artists and a website to post and sell designs
Art Sculpture Old Man 3D print Help 3D print my digital sculpture which I will then mould and cast.
Art Sculpture The Stelliform Owl The Stelliform Owl is a sculpture I designed and modeled to be 3D printed and illuminated by a standard LED tea light.
Art Technology 3D print shops in Vermont, and soon near YOU! The first community engagement effort for the world’s first 3D print shop company.
Art Technology Large Stephen Colbert Head-Bre Pettis Interview-3D Printing Technology builds communities. Celebrate Bre Pettis from Makerbot’s appearance on the Colbert Report. Help build a large Colbert head!
Art Technology PotteryPrint: Imagine, Create, Fabricate An iPad app that enables kids to design their own unique works of pottery and export the design for 3D printing.
Devices Crafts SAIR and DAIR Robots I designed the SAIR & DAIR robot parts so home hobbyists can download parts to 3D plastic print and build their own robots … FREE!
Devices Design 3D Printed Bummpies…set your iPhone and iPAD FREE…now! Get your own 3D printed Bummpies months before retail units are available. Enjoy your iPhone and iPAD…not the case.
Devices Design MakerBot – 3D Printing in a Baltimore HS Engineering Class Fund a 3D printer for an urban high school engineering classroom. Inspire future engineers and get one of their creations as a reward.
Devices Hardware 360Heros: 360° Video/Photo Gear – 3D Printed for GoPro® Using GoPro® cameras, capture HD 360° Video & One-Click Panoramas w/ 3D Printed, Plug & Play designs covering a 360×180° Field Of View
Devices Hardware 3D Printed Robotic Hand By using 3D printing we can dramatically cut the cost of humanoid robotics. Make the future happen faster.
Devices Hardware 3D Printer – Bayou Mendel RepRap Download, design, customize and print real physical objects from the comfort of your home, office or evil lair!
Devices Hardware 3D Printing Electronics for Makerbot, RepRap, Cubely, Others Need the latest electronics on your 3D printer? Want to build them yourself to save some $$$? We do, and it’s always more fun to share.
Devices Hardware 3D Printing for Everyone – Making the RepRap Easier to Build The Goal: Make the process of building a RepRap less intimidating for people who are interested but don’t know where to start.
Devices Hardware 3D Refiner by 3Dprintsexpress. com Using the 3D Refiner you’ll transform any 3D Print into a high quality beautifully finished part in a fraction of the time!
Devices Hardware 3Doodler: The World’s First 3D Printing Pen It’s a pen that can draw in the air! 3Doodler is the 3D printing pen you can hold in your hand. Lift your imagination off the page!
Devices Hardware B9Creator – A High Resolution 3D Printer Please help us take DIY 3D Printing to the next level, support this open source photo-initiated polymer resin based 3D printing system!
Devices Hardware Doodle3D With the Doodle3D sketching tool you can 3D print your own personal drawings on a 3D printer! Start 3D printing your own doodle now!
Devices Hardware Fabroot – Making 3D Fabrication Available to Everyone! 3D fabrication is all the rage, but costly machines and slow turn around times hinder innovation. Help us start up the first free 3D printing service
Devices Hardware Gigabot 3D Printing: This is Huge! Dream big, print big! Affordable, large-format 3D printing for your home or business.
Devices Hardware Maxifab 3D Printing Framework Maxifab is a project to develop a 3D printing framework. Build a 3d printer your way. No Limits.
Devices Hardware OpenBeam Kossel Pro A fork of the ground breaking Kossel 3D Printer, with all 3D Printed parts injection molded for ease of assembly and cost reduction.
Devices Hardware Printrbot: Your First 3D Printer A desktop 3D printer you can build in a couple hours. Print plastic parts you design or download – even parts for another printer.
Devices Hardware Rapcraft: Rapid Prototyping opensource 3D Printer 3D printer Rapcraft makes Thankfull 3D things and works just plug&print.
Devices Hardware RepRap 3D printer Therminator 5 Hot End RepRap 3d Printing Therminator 5 Hot End
Devices Hardware RepRap: DIY Self-Replicating Rapid Prototyping 3D Printer I was born and raised in Colorado, am currently working towards a ME degree, and want to help the spread of Open Source 3D Printing
Devices Hardware RigidBot 3D Printer A sturdy, customizable 3D printer that is easy to use and affordable for all. 3D print almost any object. There are no limits!
Devices Hardware The Buccaneer To bring 3D printing technology into everyone’s home by building a quality and affordable 3D printer that everyone can enjoy!
Devices Hardware The EZ3D Desktop Printer The new 3D printer that embodies fun and creativity, with user friendly software and a superior printing experience.
Devices Hardware The Vision: Not Just a 3D Printer… A DREAM Start 3D Printing with an Affordable, Quick Build, Optimized, Large Format 3d Printer. Available as a DIY Kit or Fully Assembled!
Devices Open Software Sustainable 3D Printing for Blind Students This spring, 20 first-year students at Allegheny College will found a business offering free 3D printing support to the blind.
Devices Product design The NEXT 3D Printer: A Full-Scale Exploration of Design I am building a 3D printer large enough to print functional furniture as an exploration of design through the confluence of Art & Tech
Devices Technology Filabot: Plastic Filament Maker Make your own 3D printing filament from recycled bottles and other plastic products. Never run out of 3D printing filament.
Devices Technology File2Part: Software that Makes 3D printing easy File2Part is a powerful program that allows you to load, fix, orient, scale, and print model files on any 3D printer that uses g-codes.
Devices Technology MeshUp: Mashup for meshes Super simple, always watertight, 3D modeling mashup tool for meshes, designed for painless and direct 3D printing.
Devices Technology One-to-One : Large Scale 3D Printer One to One is a project focusing on 3D printing at a large scale, with speed, precision , and durable materials.
Devices Technology Student Built Lunar Rover Prototype for Google Lunar X PRIZE Student built lunar rover for Google Lunar X PRIZE. Get 3D printed or CNC’d models, test-drive the rover or send your DNA to the moon!
Devices Technology Zortrax M200 – professional desktop 3D printer Zortrax M200 is the professional 3D printer that will change the nature and the future of home 3D printing.
Diversions Product design JB Figures Using innovations in 3D printing personal manufacturing to create completely personalized action figures.
Diversions Product design ModiBot Mo: DIY action Figures with 3d Printed accessories ModiBot is a design-your-own-toy system of more than 400 different interlocking parts, personalized by 3d printing & your imagination
Diversions Tabletop games 3D printed kits of the Ffestiniog Englands from laser scans The Ffestiniog Englands are the world’s oldest working narrow gauge engines. We’re laser scanning them to make the most accurate kits.
Diversions Tabletop games 3-Dice… The first entirely 3D printed dice game! R.P.S (Rock paper scissors) will be the first dice game in a series of entirely 3-D printed games! NEW! Get a reward without pledging!
Diversions Tabletop games Hangar 18 Pinups: Modern Pinup Miniatures, Bawidamann Style! Bringing Andrew Bawidamann’s pinups to life in the form of 54mm resin miniatures, using 3D sculpting and printing technologies.
Diversions Tabletop games Lovecrafted Games: Customizable 3D printed miniatures Come join Lovecrafted Games! Be a part of DnD/Pathfinder history. Come 3D print your own custom tabletop experience.
Diversions Technology 3D Printed windsurf, kite, surf, and paddle SmartBoards™ Real-time performance tracking and 3D printed manufacturing of windsurf, kite, surf and paddle boards.
Diversions Video games Customize & 3D Print Your Favorite Game Characters Out of the screen and into your hands…customize and 3D print your favorite game characters with our web and mobile app!
Diversions Webseries The Maker Girls & the 3D Printing Revolution Follow 5-10 young, female role models on their learning paths to becoming our next generation of #3D printing, tech savvy STEM leaders.
Modification of the landscape Graphic design 3D Printing of a Nano Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Fund 3D printing of a nano wind turbine for use in remote rural drinking water, irrigation, heating & lighting projects.

Funding Results

Three Art projects reached their funding goals, with two barely funded and one reaching 142.6% funding. Five of the seven unsuccessful Art projects earned under 11% of their goal, though two others made it past the 50% point. Three projects remained open at the time of analysis.

One of the Diversions projects successfully reached 159% of its funding goal. Three projects failed, with two of those remaining in the single digits and the third failing to hit the 20% point. Five projects remained open at the time of analysis.

Half of the Adornment projects (2) were successful, overshooting their goals by a small margin (107.1 and 116.9% funded). The failures were less than one quarter funded (14.3 and 20.8%).

The single project in the Modifications of the Landscape category ended at .1% funded.

Of the two successful Applied Arts projects, one barely met its funding goal whereas the other received more than double the money sought. Four projects failed; one of those succeeded in reaching nearly 40% of its goal, but the others languished between 5.7 and 26.3%. One project remained open at the time of analysis.

In the Devices category, 21 projects reached their funding goal. Squeak-through projects—100.5, 109, and 112.3% funding—were actually the outliers, with the majority of projects receiving pledges several times greater than their goals. There were 11 unsuccessful Device campaigns, with four falling between 25% and 56% funded.

See Table 3 for data.

Table 3. Funding results

Project name Prownian category Result Funding % Pledge ($) Goal ($)
Open Source Jewelry Adornment Unsuccessful 14.3 286 2000
Unique 3D Printed jewelry Adornment Unsuccessful 20.8 623 3000
Tapigami presents Hacker Glasses Adornment Success 107.1 16058 15000
Artifaekt: Soul Adornment Success 116.9 1520 1300
thrint – inspiring the 3D printing home revolution Applied Arts Unsuccessful 5.7 1043 18268
The Daily Print. One 3D Print a Day Applied Arts Unsuccessful 9.4 282 3000
SYMPHONY SHELLS – iPhone Amplification for Your Lifestyle Applied Arts Unsuccessful 16.7 4500 27000
Custom 3D printed iPad Cases Applied Arts Unsuccessful 26.3 5255 20000
Create over 250 functional and tested 3d printable files Applied Arts Unsuccessful 39.1 1957 5000
SIMPLY AMPLIFIED 3d Printed SYMPHONY SHELLS Applied Arts Success 106.2 5312 5000
Pebble Watch Covers Applied Arts Success 222.5 10013 4500
Full Color 3D Printer with Website for artists to Upload Art Unsuccessful 0.1 27 45000
Old Man 3D print Art Unsuccessful 0.2 8 3806
Bring your children’s artwork to life as a 3D toy-heirloom Art Unsuccessful 4.5 669 15000
Cello Girl Art Unsuccessful 7.4 386 5200
Large Stephen Colbert Head-Bre Pettis Interview-3D Printing Art Unsuccessful 10.4 1825 17500
PotteryPrint: Imagine, Create, Fabricate Art Unsuccessful 50.3 6032 12000
3d Tattoo Body Art Scanner Art Unsuccessful 54.3 12388 22835
The Stelliform Owl Art Success 101.1 8091 8000
3D Printing and Porcelain. Discovering a new process Art Success 103.4 2585 2500
3D print shops in Vermont, and soon near YOU! Art Success 142.6 810 568
3D Printer – Bayou Mendel RepRap Devices Unsuccessful 0.4 85 20000
One-to-One : Large Scale 3D Printer Devices Unsuccessful 0.4 123 35000
Student Built Lunar Rover Prototype for Google Lunar X PRIZE Devices Unsuccessful 1.5 2949 200000
3D Printed Bummpies…set your iPhone and iPAD FREE…now! Devices Unsuccessful 15.6 938 6000
Fabroot – Making 3D Fabrication Available to Everyone! Devices Unsuccessful 15.9 175 1100
360Heros: 360° Video/Photo Gear – 3D Printed for GoPro® Devices Unsuccessful 20.9 15703 75000
Rapcraft: Rapid Prototyping opensource 3D Printer Devices Unsuccessful 26.7 13371 50000
Sustainable 3D Printing for Blind Students Devices Unsuccessful 38.1 692 1815
The EZ3D Desktop Printer Devices Unsuccessful 47 11759 25000
SAIR and DAIR Robots Devices Unsuccessful 50.3 2265 4500
RepRap: DIY Self-Replicating Rapid Prototyping 3D Printer Devices Unsuccessful 55.6 1112 2000
3D Printing for Everyone – Making the RepRap Easier to Build Devices Success 100.5 1055 1050
3D Printing Electronics for Makerbot, RepRap, Cubely, Others Devices Success 109 2724 2500
MeshUp: Mashup for meshes Devices Success 112.3 28082 25000
3D Printed Robotic Hand Devices Success 120.9 18399 15223
The NEXT 3D Printer: A Full-Scale Exploration of Design Devices Success 121.9 853 700
Doodle3D Devices Success 147.6 73777 50000
MakerBot – 3D Printing in a Baltimore HS Engineering Class Devices Success 157.3 3146 2000
Zortrax M200 – professional desktop 3D printer Devices Success 179.5 179471 100000
OpenBeam Kossel Pro Devices Success 203.4 122016 60000
File2Part: Software that Makes 3D printing easy Devices Success 242.7 20625 8500
The Vision: Not Just a 3D Printer… A DREAM Devices Success 261.4 65346 25000
RepRap 3D printer Therminator 5 Hot End Devices Success 318.8 6376 2000
Filabot: Plastic Filament Maker Devices Success 323.3 32330 10000
Maxifab 3D Printing Framework Devices Success 487.9 24393 5000
Gigabot 3D Printing: This is Huge! Devices Success 626.2 250474 40000
3D Refiner by 3Dprintsexpress.com Devices Success 651.1 32554 5000
B9Creator – A High Resolution 3D Printer Devices Success 1026.8 513422 50000
The Buccaneer Devices Success 1438.8 1,438,765 100000
Printrbot: Your First 3D Printer Devices Success 3323.3 830827 25000
RigidBot 3D Printer Devices Success 3467 1092098 31500
3Doodler: The World’s First 3D Printing Pen Devices Success 7813.8 2344134 30000
JB Figures Diversions Unsuccessful 2.3 35 1500
3-Dice… The first entirely 3D printed dice game! Diversions Unsuccessful 4 79 2000
Customize & 3D Print Your Favorite Game Characters Diversions Unsuccessful 18.5 23082 125000
3D printed kits of the Ffestiniog Englands from laser scans Diversions Success 159 12105 7612
3D Printing of a Nano Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Modification of the landscape Unsuccessful 0.1 45 60000

Campaigns’ Ambition and Success

The most successful projects, in terms of funding percentages and absolute value of pledges, were Device projects: 3Doodler (7,813.8%, $2,344,134), RigidBot (3,467%, $1,092,098), Printrbot (3,323.3%, $830,827), the Buccaneer (1,438.8%, $1,438,765), and B9Creator (1,026.8%, $513,422). Four of those projects sought funding for 3D printers; the 3Doodler is a less conventional 3D printing pen.

The most ambitious five projects, in terms of funding goals, included 3 Devices and 2 Diversions. Only one of those projects, the Buccaneer, also ranked among the most successful; one Diversion and one Device project failed; the most ambitious project ($450,000) was still open.

Seven projects had modest goals ranging from $500-1,000. Of those, one was open. Two projects (1 Diversion and 1 Device) failed. The other four (1 Art, 1 Adornment, 2 Devices) succeeded.

See Table 3 above for data.

Backers

Kickstarter projects offer backers rewards at different pledge levels. Small pledges—set as low as $1 for some campaigns—entitle backers to gratitude and tchotchkes (updates, public acknowledgment of support, keychains, bumper stickers, T-shirts, etc.) An individual merely interested in owning the product of one of these pieces of hardware could back a project at a lower level. At the $25 level, the 3Doodler project offered wire art created by Etsy artists. Higher pledges entitled backers to rewards which included the hardware (printer or pen), with varying degrees of assembly required. Over 90% of the supporters of the RigidBot, 3Doodler, and Buccaneer project elected for the higher pledge levels (98, 96, and 93%). 81% and 63% of Printrbot and B9Creator supporters, respectively, did likewise.6

Low pledge levels allow backers to support interesting projects inexpensively, so backing can be a form of philosophical or moral support. But especially in the Hardware category, Kickstarter can be viewed as a marketplace, and project supporters as consumers who have paid for something tangible. The backers of 3D printing projects had less interest in the objects pertaining to printers, or the objects created by others, than they did in the devices themselves.

See Table 4 for data.

Table 4. Backers of 3D printer projects

Project Total backers Minimum pledge level for device ($) Backers at low levels (#) Backers at high levels (#) Backers receiving device (%)
B9Creator 388 2375 143 245 63
Printrbot 1808 75 345 1463 81
The Buccaneer 3520 297 262 3258 93
3Doodler 26457 50 1068 25389 96
RigidBot 1952 299 31 1921 98

  1. I stripped the false positives from my Kickstarter data tables. For a project that did not appear with the keyword search see Cosmo Wenman, “Through a Scanner, Skulpturhalle,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/256381543/through-a-scanner-skulpturhalle (accessed 30 June 2013). 
  2. Jules David Prown, “Mind in Matter: An Introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method,” Winterthur Portfolio Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring 1982), 3, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1180761 (accessed 23 August 2012). 
  3. Lee Wagstaff, “3d Tattoo Body Art Scanner,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/404847515/3d-tattoo-body-art-scanner-archiving-the-artists-b (accessed 1 July 2013). 
  4. Matt Jadud, “Sustainable 3D Printing for Blind Students,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1361811204/sustainable-3d-printing-for-blind-students (accessed 1 July 2013). 
  5. Lance Atkins, “Inherently Useful: A 3D Printed Collection,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lanceiscool/inherently-useful-a-3d-printed-collection (accessed 1 July 2013); Robert Reive, “3D Printing of a Nano Vertical Axis Wind Turbine,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/darwind5/3d-printing-of-a-nano-vertical-axis-wind-turbine (accessed 30 June 2013). 
  6. Brook Drumm, “Printrbot: Your First 3D Printer,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/printrbot/printrbot-your-first-3d-printer (accessed 7 July 2013); Michael Joyce, “B9Creator – A High Resolution 3D Printer,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/b9creations/b9creator-a-high-resolution-3d-printer (accessed 7 July 2013); Michael Lundwall, “RigidBot 3D Printer,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1650950769/rigidbot-3d-printer (accessed 7 July 2013); Pirate 3D Inc., “The Buccaneer® – The 3D Printer that Everyone can use!,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pirate3d/the-buccaneer-the-3d-printer-that-everyone-can-use (accessed 7 July 2013); WobbleWorks LLC, “3Doodler: The World’s First 3D Printing Pen,” Kickstarter campaign page, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1351910088/3doodler-the-worlds-first-3d-printing-pen (accessed 7 July 2013). The Printrbot data is not completely analogous to the other projects, as there were a number of different levels of “complete” printers. I opted to use the lowest level, which offered the printed parts needed to assemble the Printrbot but excluded hardware. Because of the DIY nature of the rewards the level offering project-specific components seems most appropriate for the comparison and most useful for answering the question of whether backers want satisfaction, tchotchkes, or the ability to create.