QU-BD Goes Deep on Kickstarter with 3-D Printers

QU-BD, a 3-D printer manufacturer in Little Rock, has again turned to Kickstarter to help market one of its products.

In June 2012, it funded an open-sourced plastic extruder — a part that can be used in many other 3-D printers — on the popular crowd funding website.

Now the company is funding a whole printer, the QU-BD (pronounced “cubed”) One Up, which is described as the “least expensive, production ready, high quality 3-D printer available on the market.”

These types of printers typically retail for $800 and up; the One Up costs $200 and its big brother, the Two Up, costs $279.

QU-BD co-founder Nathan Meyers told Whispers that QU-BD can offer the printer so cheaply because it’s small, it cuts out most of the extras of the company’s larger printers and it arrives as an unassembled kit. The buyer will also have to purchase the filament that the printer uses to build objects, although it does come packed with some.

Crowd Marketing

Like QU-BD’s first one, this Kickstarter campaign is functioning chiefly as a cheap source of advertising, Meyers said.

“Kickstarter charges you about 10 percent,” he said. “But we’ll have a wide audience, and I figure it’s a good way to promote ourselves.”

The campaign will not only function to get the One and Two Up into buyers’ hands, but will also increase sales on the company’s other items, he said.

QU-BD has already surpassed its goal of $9,000. With less than two weeks left, it’s raised $230,956, or 2,564 percent of its goal.

Meyers said he’s actually hoping for a bit more: The campaign was timed to compete with the May-June Kickstarter campaign of the Buccaneer 3-D printer, which at the time was the cheapest on the market. It raised $1.4 million, but many backers were refunded their fees when the manufacturers started cutting features.

“Tons of people are irritated and are jumping ship to our campaign,” Meyers said. Comments on the One Up’s Kickstarter page confirm Meyer’s words. “Lots of pissed off backers for the Buccaneer are ready to look for other printers with their refunded $$,” one says.

The problem with the Buccaneer, Meyers said, was the creators ended up lacking the money to buy all the parts they needed. But aside from some special electronics, QU-BD already has what it needs in its shop to create the printers.

Meyers added that in the future, buyers will be able to trade in their One or Two Ups for credit toward QU-BD’s larger, more professional printers.

The Kickstarter campaign ends Nov. 18.