We see a lot of crowdfunding campaigns every week that use embeds of 3D models to show a concept, work in progress or a product sample. In Crowdfunding Insights, we ask the creators of various campaigns to share how they made their campaigns successful. Here’s FABtotum’s story from Marco Rizzuto, CEO.
About the FABtotum
The FABtotum is the world’s first 3D multi-purpose personal fabrication device. While it looks like a 3D printer, it’s way more than that. The FABtotum is capable of 3D-printing plastic objects using Fused Filament Fabrication. When a different material is needed, The FABtotum can switch to subtractive mode and cut or 3D-mill different materials like foam, wood or even aluminium or brass. This allows users to create printed circuit boards or mechanical parts without the drawbacks of 3D printing, such as structural weakness, and lack of precision. The FABtotum is also capable of acquiring point clouds using the built-in 3D scanner. You can scan a solid object, save it on your PC as a 3D cloud, reconstruct and model it, mill/engrave it, or make a 3D print in many materials right away! The FABtotum has been built as an open source platform with exchangeable heads to be expandable and flexible in the coming years.
FABtotum started in the basement of 2 young architecture students who wanted a tool to experiment with shapes and ideas without the limits of conventional 3D printers, and without the bulkiness of desktop milling machines. When the first prototype was completed, we started showing it to friends and other students. Their reactions? Jaws to the floor.
We knew we wanted to do something with it, but with no financial resources, our only hope was to knock at the crowdfunding door and ask for support. After I graduated I cancelled my holidays and met with my cofounder Giovanni to make the pitch. We held the campaign for 45 days and without any marketing, our campaign skyrocketed to 589k USD from the initial 50k USD asked. It was a huge success and we were able to push the concept even further.
When we finally launched in late 2014, despite a ¾ month delay, we held the promise and delivered a better product with all the proposed stretch goals, plus some extras we picked along the way.
The Benefits of Sharing a 3D Rendering
We could have littered the Indiegogo page with hundreds of pictures or videos, but we didn’t wanted to show the prototype with a fancy background or in some rendered scene. We wanted to convey the idea that the project was build on solid ground – that the technology was there. This was critical as the product was something entirely new from a technical point of view.
A lot of critics preferred to see the mechanics than the parts made with the machine. It was very useful: the design was clean but functional, and each part was structurally sound. On a side note, the project was – and still is – completely open source; what better way to start off than to share the 3D model of your project?
A Couple of Insights / Advice For Hardware Projects In Crowdfunding
A crowdfunding campaign is really 70% communication and 30% vision. Since people understood our vision, and we were able to communicate it properly, nothing could have stopped our concept. You need to be able to convey your vision, but you also need to have “that something” that can differentiate you in the crowdfunding …crowd.
We never wanted to make just another 3D printer, or a cheap knock-off. We wanted to show people that there is more to 3D printing and personal fabrication than printing Yoda or a vase. With a tool like the FABtotum, people around the world can create entirely new concepts. I’ve seen clockmakers and artists using the FABtotum without knowing much about 3D printing just because they jumped in the idea of using it for their work/hobby. I’ve seen RC modelers using it, alongside with architects and engineers, but I’ve also seen Makers playing with the functionalities and exploiting the source code.
In the end, a tool that enables that kind of freedom across different fields is, by definition, disruptive technology.
– Marco Rizzuto, CEO at FABtotum
Thank you Marco!