Consumer ProductsCrowd Funding

Backer concern grows over Team Owl Works’ Morpheus delta 3D printer, company says an update is imminent

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There’s no denying that being a startup can be tough and often entails a journey marked by ups and downs. For South Korean 3D printer startup Team Owl Works, things began promisingly enough as it successfully raised over $244,000 dollars through a 2016 Kickstarter to bring its Morpheus delta resin 3D printer to life. Since then, however, things seem to have stagnated somewhat with the company which has recently drawn concern from backers of the project.

German startup Locomotec was one of Team Owl Works’ early clients as it put a deposit down for one of its resin 3D printers in October 2016. When it did not receive any updates on the 3D printer development after three months, the startup understandably grew concerned. When it requested a refund on its deposit shortly thereafter and did not receive it, it became even more concerned.

A couple of weeks ago, the Ausburg-based startup reached out to 3D Printing Media Network to follow-up on Team Owl Works and its Morpheus 3D printer. Looking into the matter, we found that Locomotec was not the only concerned backer of Owl Works, as the Morpheus’ Kickstarter comments are rampant with customers who have become impatient and frustrated at the startup’s lack of updates and communication. (As of writing, the most recent update by Owl Works was January 12, 2018.)

team owl

Superbacker Tom Harris commented on June 6th saying: “It is pretty simple. If you are not going to deliver, just be honest and tell everyone. If you are going to deliver, make a reasonable estimate on when and let us know.”

Backer [TheGusman], who is a beta tester for the Morpheus 3D printer, offered some insight on May 17th in the Kickstarter forum: “Unfortunately, I feel they may have given up, and this campaign has failed. I don’t even think the technology is cutting edge as it would have been a year ago, There are more and more consumer resin printers being introduced that produce really amazing results, for the same cost as this campaign…They were pretty responsive a few months ago during my initial testing, but now after several emails, and Facebook messages they do not respond, not a good sign, I hope I am wrong.”

We reached out to Team Owl Works to ask about these growing concerns from its Kickstarter supporters and did receive a response from SJ Park, the leader of the company, who aimed to clear up the matter.

He writes: “Thanks for delivering our valued backers’ concern on our project. As you guessed, we’ve had difficulties in getting the final product of ‘delta’ from the concept and spent lots of money & time beyond my expectations since 2017. However, thanks to our backers’ patience, we could almost finalize the development and are ready to produce the commercial prototype for backers although there are still some difficulties (we already shipped about 80 units for backers, in fact).  I’ll update it for backers in a week; status, reason why we’re late, and a plan (delivery & refund).”

team owl

“Although we’re late (and there is some ambiguity on our future), we’ll not give up the project and will deliver the reward (or refund) for our valued backers. We’re serious on that,” he added.

So, while Team Owl Works still has issues it must overcome, Park has promised to provide a more specific update which will hopefully bring its backers up to speed on the company’s challenges and, importantly, solutions.

At this point, we hope that things work out for all parties involved. Though sadly, another complicated 3D printer Kickstarter might deter future backers from putting their money into startups from the crowdfunding website. Last year, backers of the Tiko 3D printer were aggrieved to learn that their pledges would not be refunded for the 3D printer, which in hindsight was always too good to be true. In 2016, we saw an even more egregious use of Kickstarter funds when the owner of Peachy Printer embezzled 50% of its Kickstarter funds for personal use.

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like Team Owl Works will disappoint its backers on the same scale, but we will keep a close eye on future updates and developments on the story.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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  1. In addition to Kickstarter, Team Owl Works received and additional $333K infund through Indiegogo. As of this date, only 4 “prototype” Delta printers have been delivered. This has been a $577K rip-off.

    1. I re-contacted Team Owl Works on July 17th to follow-up on the update that was promised weeks ago and have unfortunately not received any reply from them since then. Will update the article if that changes.

  2. According to the article which was released two weeks ago, SJ Park promised the update in a week. There is still no new update. This is just another example of this long lasting problem. They always promise update, then they don’t write it. If you experienced this kind of treatment for more than year, you would not be so optimistic. If I knew they already delivered 80 units, I would feel better about that. Problem is that they did not update us about that (didn’t provide the pictures which would proof that), I don’t know if I can trust them (all the false promises), and finally there are just few backers that claimed that they received the unit. So, maybe they are good engineers and maybe they are working hard on that, but they are totally incompetent in communication and they let this tiny problem ruin their campaign. I still hope, but the hope is weaker and weaker with every day of silence. I already started to believe that it is a scam. The last proper update is 8 months old. Last empty update is 6 months old, and their last message in comments was when the campaign was closed, much more than year ago.

  3. Hi Tess,

    Thank you for the update. However as an early backer to this campaign it is clear that Mr. Park lacks sincerity. He continues to keep backers in the dark and will not respond.

    I for one had great confidence in Owl Works and stuck with it for months after the promised date of June 2017 waiting patiently for updates. The last update from Mr. Park was in January 2018 and nothing since.

    His response to you so quickly was astonishing to say the least as we backers were assuming he was in the wind.

    Finally in frustration I joined the list of backers requesting a refund and still no response. This “affair” has soured my desire to invest in these types of start-ups and as you point out this will effect investment into other similar startups.

    I understood the risks involved but Owl Works plainly is not interested in its backers and lacks respect and common decency to communicate. When investing there is always a risk of losing a portion or all of the investment but there is a certain amount of trust that should go both ways. However, funding sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter need to be held accountable as they are profiting from these frauds and are a part of the transaction despite all the disclaimers!

    Silence from campaigners is not acceptable at least be upfront and person-up; if its dead its dead and we can all move one!

    Thank you for listening.

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