Terence here. I will do our “year in review” and go over some of the good things that are happening with our most recent Asian trip at a later time. For now, an administrative update on the Kossel project.
When we first started on our journey, we knew that designing a good product would not be our biggest challenge; as engineers with day jobs, our biggest challenges would be customer service and after sales support. It had always been our plan to resell Kossel Pro kits through a distribution network and have our distributors provide after sales support.
Today, I am happy to announce that we are taking the next step toward making this a more stable and sustainable company by shutting down our Shopstarter page, and handling all future printer kit sales through our distributors. We would like to welcome Solarbotics and MatterHackers as our launch distribution partners.
Solarbotics had been involved in the educational and robotics market for a very long time – in fact, I still remember visiting the Solarbotics webpage, in its infancy, as one of the first websites I visited when I first got access to the internet, back in the 90s.. MatterHackers, although a much younger company, is an established filament provider, and an active contributor back to the 3D Printing community. You will find MatterHacker’s staff giving lectures at every 3D Printing show, such as the upcoming 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank, CA.
Both companies received some of the first Kossel printer kits to roll off the assembly line, successfully assembled the printers (sans instructions ;-) and are printing great parts on their printers. Both companies are also staffed with makers who are passionate about advancing the state of the art of low cost 3D Printing. We can’t ask for better launch partners in our endeavor. Mike and I will still be actively involved in the project, and we are committed to providing support to our existing customers, but our role in the future will be supporting our distribution partners, and letting our distribution partners be the first line of response when questions arise. This way, we can get back to engineering as soon as possible.
So, with that said, we are shutting down the pre-order site on ShopStarter and directing future customers to MatterHackers (US and International) and Solarbotics (Canada, International and Educational Institutions). We are hoping to have kits to each company to ship to customer by the end of March. This is a pessimistic projection, and one that we are hoping to beat. We have resolved all manufacturing issues, and we have resolved our shipping, kitting and consolidation logistics as well.
For orders already on the books, the goal is to ship all printer kits the week of Jan 26th. We are bringing in additional linear rails, glass sheets and motors to complete the last few printer kits – the merchandise is already cleared for export and will be going via air freight in the next day or two. We have also already started building all the rest of the kits to part exhaustion– and surplus kits, after fulfilling our Kickstarter and Shopstarter obligations, will go onto our Amazon web store. We have already started loading some Mini Kossel and Kossel Common Core specific parts onto our web store. Additionally, we are finishing up the instructions, and we are testing these instructions with a builder who will be building up all the pre-assembled machines for our backers who have ordered pre-assembled printers.
Finally, one of the cool things we brought back from Asia, is a new photo studio setup. This will no doubt be useful in the next few days as we finish up the documentation, so that we can finally drop the password protection on KosselPro.com.
It's been a long road to get here, and we are looking forward to our partnership with MatterHackers and Solarbotics to bring on additional after sales support for users of our machines.