October 2015 Update
We’re excited to announce something we’ve been working toward since January 6, 2014, the day New Matter was founded: We’ve begun shipping MOD-t’s! The first 60 units have left the factory and are currently in transit, and our customer support staff has already contacted these first recipients to let them know in advance.
If you’re an Indiegogo supporter, you may be asking yourself, “If I’m not in the first batch of 60 units, when will I get my MOD-t?” Great question. Our shipping order will generally follow the perk commitment schedule, in the order in which the campaign contributions were made. That said, the order will be adjusted as necessary to accommodate production lots of black vs. white units. In addition, a number of our Indiegogo orders are international which adds some complexity, as each country typically has its own requirements for a product like the MOD-t to be imported. We’ll have more to update on these international orders at a later time.
We can’t ship your MOD-t without verification of your shipping address and phone number. This is very important as a number of our backers have changed address since the campaign, and we want to be certain we’re shipping to the correct location. Our customer service team has recently sent an email out to every Indiegogo supporter to verify shipping information. If you have NOT contacted us with your address verification, please email Customer Support with the email that is associated with your Indiegogo account so we can verify your address.
We feel confident shipping these units because we’ve squashed many of the firmware bugs that were impacting print quality and reliability. There are still some areas we know we need to improve, however, for example we’ve intentionally slowed down the file transfer process to work around some memory access issues. So we will continue to refine and improve the firmware over time, and will make sure we announce when new versions are released.
We’re excited to share this incredible milestone of delivering the first MOD-t’s with you, and we thank you for your continued patience and support in our efforts to deliver an easy to use 3D printing experience.
August 2015 Update
We have mentioned in previous email updates that we’re constantly facing small issues and working through them on a day-to-day basis. However, over the past few weeks we’ve seen a few items stand out as more significant challenges that we must fix in order to ship a high quality 3D printer to you. These include controller firmware stability, component quality, and elements of the overall user experience. We’re not in production yet, and therefore haven’t started shipping MOD-t’s. We’re really close, but there are several issues that have arisen as we sprint toward the finish line. Below, I’ll share what’s keeping us from starting the production line, what we’re doing about it, and what to expect from us going forward.
“Firmware” is the software that runs on the microcontroller built into the MOD-t. This firmware must do everything from communicating over USB and Wi-Fi to controlling motion and temperature for the print process. We knew we were taking on a large firmware challenge with the MOD-t because, unlike most other 3D printers on the market, we’re using closed-loop motion control with servomotors. This will ultimately result in a better 3D printer – lower cost, more reliable, and quieter. However, we’re currently working through some nasty bugs that are causing the controller to crash and halting the MOD-t midway through print jobs. We’ve got all hands on deck, including bringing in some additional resources from a partner organization. We expect to resolve these issues soon, but it’s a significant enough issue that we’re not comfortable shipping the MOD-t until this is corrected.
The second reason we are behind is related to component quality. Component quality is always a major concern when bringing up a new production line, and for the most part we’ve been successful in working with our vendors to get parts that meet our standards. In the most recent sample run of 30 MOD-t’s, however, we found an unacceptable surface finish on the pinion rods used in the X/Y motion system. We require a very smooth finish on these parts, but the parts we received were somewhat rough. If we were to allow these rods into production, the MOD-t’s produced would wear out very quickly and would be much noisier during operation, neither of which we are willing to accept. We’re now working with the vendors involved to understand what went wrong and how to prevent it going forward, as well as how to recover and quickly fabricate replacement parts that are in spec. For the New Matter team this one is particularly frustrating as we’ve had good parts for previous sample builds, but it serves as a good reminder that we can never take anything for granted when it comes to quality.
What does this mean for delivery date?
The truth is that we don’t know yet. Some of the issues may be resolved in a few days or it could be a few weeks. Though it’s disappointing that we can’t commit to a firm date, we promised to deliver a reliable and easy-to-use MOD-t to you, and we expect to do so, even if takes just a bit more time. As soon as it makes any sense to provide a delivery schedule, we’ll do that as well.
We previously communicated that after production, transporting the MOD-t’s from China via ocean freight would take approximately 6-8 weeks. To get your MOD-t’s to you as fast as possible, we’ve decided to ship them by air, cutting shipping time down to less than a week. Though this comes at a substantial cost to New Matter, it’s the least we can do for everyone who is standing with us as we fight these last few issues to get to production.
We're sorry to be talking about challenges instead of victories, but I hope this update gives you an accurate sense for the challenges we’re facing as well as the dedication with which we’re approaching their resolution. Thank you to everyone who has stuck it out with us. It is because of your continued support that we have come this far and we look forward to completing the journey with you. For those of you who decide, for whatever reason, that you will not be continuing on with us, we will continue to honor all order cancellation requests until we begin shipping your MOD-t.
The MOD-t Now Available To Order On NewMatter.com
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our Indiegogo campaign and supported us in creating the MOD-t and New Matter Store. If you missed out on the original Indiegogo campaign, we have great news for you. The MOD-t 3D printer is now available to order at newmatter.com. Please be aware that we have committed to shipping the MOD-t 3D printers to our Indiegogo supporters first, so new incoming orders for the MOD-t will be delivered in Q4, 2015. Thank you for your understanding. We're excited to deliver simple, affordable and easy-to use 3D printing to your homes, offices and schools.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the campaign and supported us. We’re continuing to work hard to deliver the printers to you. Recently, we had to announce a change to the delivery schedule which will delay delivery. Please see below for the most updated information.
In other news, we also recently announced the close of our Series A funding round, so you can rest assure that we have all the capital we need to deliver the printers to you and to market. If you have any questions, please always feel free to contact us.
New Matter Delay FAQ
What is the reason for the delay?
We took more time than planned to identify our manufacturing partner and the process of releasing numerous molds to manufacturing has been more time consuming than originally estimated. These conscious choices were made to prioritize the quality of the MOD-t 3D printers over the scheduled delivery.
When am I going to get my MOD-t?
Please refer to this schedule as it reflects your new delivery date. If you recall which perk you selected, you can use that to see your schedule impact. If you don’t remember which perk you selected, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll look it up for you.
Will there be any other changes to my MOD-t?
No, all the specs and features of your MOD-t will be just as we promised, if not better. In fact, we were able to get the MOD-t printer to support 100 microns layer thickness even though this was the stretch goal of $750K.
Is this delay normal?
Unfortunately, this is not something that was predictable but it does happen. We appreciate your support in building New Matter and as startup with a new product, we are still discovering the best vendors and manufacturers to produce the MOD-t on a large scale. Our goal is to give you the best product possible, so that the MOD-t is a 3D printer you can be proud of and show off.
I changed my mind, can I get a refund?
Yes, New Matter will be offering a refund to any supporters that would like one at this time. If you have any questions about your order you may email us at email@example.com. However, the MOD-t will likely retail later this year for close to $400. Should you decide to cancel your order now, we will be unable to offer you the Indiegogo campaign price again.
What’s the status of New Matter as a company?
New Matter is growing quickly. Recently our investors have committed to additional funding so that we can improve our production process for the MOD-t and get the New Matter Online store up and running to fulfill Indiegogo units and for retail launch.
With the help of many amazing contributors, we were able to pass our funding goal on the second day of our campaign. As a thank-you to our supporters, and in recognition of some of the feedback we’ve been receiving so far, we decided to announce a number of stretch goals.
Each stretch goal will be ‘unlocked’ as we surpass a certain funding threshold, as described below. Please help us spread the word, as achieving each level will help us accelerate our development and make the experience even better for all our supporters!
Updated: We listened to your feedback and decided launching with Mac OSX support was important. We still have some awesome goals that you can help us unlock, though.
What if you could send a physical object to a friend like a text message? What if you could subscribe to a series of objects like you do with a podcast? What if adjusting a 3D model was as easy as Instagramming a photo?
Yeah, we thought that would be cool too. That’s why we created New Matter.
3D printing should be as easy as how we create and communicate. That’s why New Matter is more than just a printer. It’s an end-to-end 3D printing system, including our breakthrough MOD-t 3D printer, complimentary software, and a store full of cool 3D-printable designs.
Ok, let’s get technical for a second.
Our printer (the MOD-t) uses an ingenious 2-axis motion system that simultaneously moves and supports the build plate with very few components. Translation: It’s breakthrough technology, it prints more consistently, and it makes the printer way cheaper.
Plus, the MOD-t comes in black or white. Kinda like your phone.
We’re going to have an online store.
It’s going to be unique for one big reason: you’ll be able to download (or buy) all kinds of new objects that’ll make 3D printing relevant to your life.
The store will feature customizable models and limited edition items created by talented designers and artists. There’ll also be parts you can use to creatively repurpose everyday objects in your house or office.
To make the printing process foolproof, the designs in New Matter’s curated store will be specifically calibrated for our printer. That means great prints every time.
We’ve built New Matter around beautiful, awesome objects that people want to display and use. And we want only the best on there for you. Period.
If you’re a 3D designer or artist, this should be music to your ears. New Matter will let you upload and sell your creations. Set the price for your objects. Make $$$ selling your designs.
Write us at ImADesigner@newmatter.com.
Our software is going to do a lot.
It’ll help you organize and print all your objects. Even the ones you make yourself with third-party software or downloaded from the Interwebs.
After the beta version, we plan to launch software that lets you easily customize designs from our store and share objects with other users.
The New Matter team has rigorous experience in 3D printing.
Take, for example, our co-founder Steve Schell. In the early 2000s, while working as an engineer in the robotics industry, he started using this new technology to rapidly prototype his designs. He saw that 3D printing had massive potential, but the printers were crazy expensive.
Steve wanted to change that, and his passion for 3D printing led him to work for Desktop Factory, one of the first companies to make 3D printers at a price small businesses could afford. From there, he envisioned the next leap forward in the 3D printing space.
You know frog. Just take a look around your home. Go ahead. We can wait.
frog has a 43-year history of finding applications for emerging technologies that advance the human experience. Over the past 43 years, they’ve worked with Apple, Disney, GE, HP, Intel, and Microsoft, and a gazillion other companies.
We worked with frog’s team of industrial designers, strategists, mechanical engineers and digital designers to create a killer user experience and smart business strategy for New Matter.
These are the tech specifications for the MOD-t. In case you’re interested.
A few more details for those of you who are interested.
First, regarding layer thickness, please note that we're still testing for optimal parameter settings for 0.1 mm layers and we hope to fully support that by the time of product shipment.
In addition, we know a lot of people are curious about motor selection. For a number of reasons, most notably reliability and sound level, we've chosen to use DC servo motors for the MOD-t. This requires a little more engineering on our part, but we believe it'll lead to the best user experience in the end.
With your help and support we’re going to:
Create a lively community of people who use 3D printing to make, collect, and connect.
Finish the design and development of our first software to make the New Matter system complete.
Beta test everything with our core community and introduce the new features you think are most important. (Just as 3D printing allows you shape physical objects, as a member of our community we want you to shape the New Matter ecosystem!)
Grow our base of contributing 3D designers to help populate the New Matter market place with unique objects.
- Deliver our initial production run of the printer (the MOD-t) and send them to you.
The New Matter team is made up of industry professionals with a track record of developing new products and technologies.
Co-Founder, President, and Chief Technology Officer
Steve is passionate about bringing new technologies to market, with thirteen years of experience in five start-up and venture-capital backed companies. He has developed products ranging from consumer goods to utility-scale solar power generators, and has patents in robotics, 3D printing, and solar thermal energy.
Prior to diving head-first into the startup scene, Steve graduated from Caltech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Co-Founder and Chairman
Bill Gross is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Idealab and has founded over 100 companies ranging from online retail services to renewable energy technologies. In addition to his role at Idealab, Bill is a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology and the Art Center College of Design.
Senior Mechanical Engineer
From disposable follicle implanters to space-flight optical assemblies, Derek thrives on innovating technical solutions to multidisciplinary challenges. He brings fifteen years of mechanical engineering to New Matter, having worked on telecommunications, medical, industrial, and defense products at startups and globally-established behemoths. From force-feedback robotics at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab to laser-initiated pyrotechnics, he loves taking on new challenges with dynamic teams.
Enthusiastically nerdtastic, Derek rides a recumbent bicycle, his favorite font is Chartwell, and he had to write a help file for his own Excel Add-In.
Software Engineer and Web Product Manager
Sean Stevens is fascinated by the internet’s ability to connect people and has worked on various community sites and social networks for 15 years. He's been involved in the LA tech community for the last 7 years, including co-founding Periodical, which was part of LaunchpadLA Class 5. Sean is passionate about user experience and removing technical barriers to make complex systems as simple to use as possible.
Sean has a deep love of music, from punk to hip hop to bluegrass to metal, and occasionally plays drums in space-themed instrumental rock bands.
Here’s the stuff we need to tell you so you know what we’re doing to make this a success.
Incubated at Idealab
New Matter is part of Idealab, an incubator based in Pasadena, California. Idealab has generated hundreds of companies over the past 18 years. Their team will provide a wealth of experience and knowledge as we make our goal of accessible and meaningful 3D printing a reality.
Manufacturing of the MOD-t
To date we have built 5 generations of prototypes, which are engineering units we built to verify the 3D printer's functionality and prove out the 2-axis motion system. They have printed hundreds of beautiful objects.
Our next step is to start production. For the past several months we've been working with Dragon Innovation, who specialize in bringing hardware products to market. Their customers include Pebble, Makerbot, and Sifteo, among others. You may have seen their name on other crowdfunding campaigns.
Dragon Innovation has reviewed the design, estimated production and tooling costs, as well as the manufacturing schedule for the MOD-t, and we’re excited that our design and plan has passed their rigorous analysis, earning the “Dragon Certified” designation. This designation validates the viability of our production plan and pricing model.
As we refine and finalize the first design of the MOD-t, we will continue to work closely with Dragon Innovation’s engineering group to ensure the final design is ready for high-quality, high-volume production.
Development of the New Matter Online Store and Software
New Matter wants to make the complicated process of 3D printing simple. So our online store, mobile application, and desktop software will be crucial to achieving this goal. We have bold plans to make the process of modifying and printing existing 3D designs fast, easy, and intuitive, which will take serious development time and resources.
For the online store, we have much of the underlying structure already built, and will have an alpha version for designers this summer. In addition to loading the online store with beautiful designs before the MOD-t ships, we will be able to refine the user interface with feedback from our group of pilot designers. (See above)
Desktop & Mobile Applications
New Matter’s desktop software development is also well underway. We are currently focusing on a Windows app, and will begin development of an OSX app soon. We will also be starting development for mobile devices, focusing first on iOS, and then Android.
The risks for the online store, desktop application, and mobile application are normal software development risks: potential delays due to unexpected complexity. The online store is a key priority to ensure there is adequate time to build a robust library of compelling objects after we launch the alpha version.
Features at Launch
At launch, we’re aiming to have a fully functioning online store where designers can upload designs and MOD-t owners can seamlessly print them. We want to make sure our more advanced features, such as object modification and sharing, are top-notch. We plan to roll these out in the months after launch.
Where can I learn about 3-D printing?
The folks over at 3ders.org have put together a great introduction to 3D printing, which you can find here: http://www.3ders.org/3d-printing-basics.html.
How can I become a designer on the New Matter Store?
If you're familiar with how to design for 3D printers, please send us an email at ImADesigner@newmatter.com. Please include links to examples or a portfolio.
If you're not, but have 3D design experience, check out Make Zine's Top Ten Tips: Designing Models For 3D Printing for some great pointers to get started.
Can I print 3D files that I got somewhere else?
Yes. We'll include desktop software for slicing STL files.
Can I use software other than New Matter's to print with?
Yes, the MOD-t will support standard G-code so more advanced users can use existing 3D printing software such as Slic3r.
What is the material this printer uses?
The New Matter MOD-t prints in polylactic acid (PLA) . PLA is a benign, environmentally friendly and biodegradable thermoplastic, typically made from renewable sources such as corn or tapioca. PLA is used in a variety of applications from compostable packaging material to medical implants.
What comes with my New Matter printer?
The MOD-t printer, a starter spool of filament, and the tools necessary to prepare and finish the objects you’ve built.
Does the MOD-t take standard PLA, or is it cartridge based?
The MOD-t is designed to accept any 1.75mm diameter PLA filament. However, we strongly recommend buying from a reputable source due to the widely varying quality of filament available on the market.
What size PLA filament does the MOD-t take?
What is the resolution quality of the MOD-t?
The resolution is determined by both layer thickness and nozzle diameter. In the horizontal plane, the nozzle diameter (0.4 mm) limits the resolution to approximately 0.5 mm. In the vertical axis, the minimum supported layer thickness is 0.2 mm.
Is the printing material safe?
Yes, PLA is a safe material.
Is the material eco-friendly and can I put it in my recycling bin?
PLA is biodegradable and will, with time, decompose into harmless lactic acid. It is also a recyclable material, with an SPI resin code of 7. Unfortunately, 3D printed objects will not be suitably marked with this code and therefore recycling facilities will be unable to recycle your objects. We hope that, with time and as 3D printing grows in popularity, processes will be developed to allow 3D printed objects to be identified and recycled.
Since PLA is biodegradable, can objects printed with PLA be used to store or serve food?
While PLA has been used for professionally manufactured food storage and service containers, we do not recommend that you use your 3D printed objects for this purpose. We found this blog article to be particularly informative.
How much power does the MOD-t use?
The maximum power the MOD-t consumes is 80 Watts, however the average power usage will be substantially below that. In other words, it's about like a laptop computer.
How long will it take to print something?
Build time depends entirely on the object being built, and can be affected by factors such as object size, chosen layer resolution, level of detail in the object, and infill type (solid, hollow, or partially filled). Typical build times can be as short as 30 minutes for relatively small objects to several hours or more for large objects.
Which of my devices will work with the MOD-t?
Our initial release will support Windows 7+ computers, and in the long term, we plan to support the Macintosh OS X, iOS, and Android platforms as well.
What’s the nozzle diameter, build volume, print speed, etc..?
See the technical specs above .
Is the bed removable?
Yes! Our unique motion system allows the print bed to be simply lifted out of the printer when you need to remove an object or prepare the bed for building your next object. To reinstall, simply place the bed onto the drive rods.
Does the printer have auto-leveling?
Because the MOD-t’s unique mechanism slide the build plate across the drive rods at a consistent height, bed leveling is completely unnecessary.
What about build plate calibration and zeroing?
The MOD-t performs automatic feedback based centering and homing at the start of each print to position the build plate and ensure the first layer will go down correctly every time.
What do the t-shirts look like?
They look rad!