I think I may have just avoided loosing $300 I was going to spend on a Cetus 3D printer. It’s a made in China product that got started through a Kick-start campaign. I tried to register on their web site so I could place an order for their smaller machine.
It seems there is no one at home in China at 1:30 in the afternoon (their time) The website would not generate the confirming email to which I must respond to prove I am a real person. I eventually sent an inquiry to them through their support desk. I received two very quick and obviously automated replies from Jason Wu. aka "Team Cetus"
Here is the most informative:
During Chinese national holiday (1st-8th OCT), we may not able to answer your message in a timely manner.
All shipments will be processed after 8th OCT and thank you for your patience.
However, it was October 12 in China. I guess they were still recovering from their National Holiday. (Like USA July 4th, but longer) I haven’t checked current events so I don’t know if the holiday created a worker revolt in China or something… In the USA it's called a strike.
In Europe, countries there practically shut down all business for a month while they are on "holiday". Every country has their way of doing business... or not.
I discovered the Cetus 3D printer is a low cost spin-off from UP3D brand printers. (http://www.up3dusa.com/) That makes me feel a bit more secure about who is backing this new version. However, I know almost nothing about UP3D. Cetus 3D is obviously a machine to reach the low cost, no frills, 3D printer market.
The new printer has been getting good reviews. It’s a minimalist design with what appears to be decent components. It is not the most rigid design as it has “arms” sticking out into open air supported only at one end. Its small size may be why it seems to work great for those who have used it.
I found the printer listed on Amazon with a note of “Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” Uh-Oh… That’s not a good sign. No reviews, so I think they never had any. The Cetus 3D website states they have 195 units in stock…
I certainly don’t need another printer. So, I am not heartbroken about not immedately getting one. Not as much as I would have been if this venture is actually going into the toilet and getting flushed away. A risk that is there on a new start-up business.
3D printers are a very tough market. There are literally dozens of under $300, 3D printers on the market. The Kickstart price was $200. It is now $300. A model exactly the same, but another 100mm taller on the Z axis is priced at $400. So, I see the price is escalating.
The website is high quality with lots of information. There is a video of the factory assembly floor. I did see a lot of hand work involved in assembly. Perhaps quantity production is a problem. I don’t know. But if registration required to place an order is broken, it is not a good omen. Perhaps a way to prevent accepting orders they cannot fulfill. Thank you Cetus 3D if that is true.
If it is simply a software web problem, it needs to be fixed a lot quicker than I have experienced. Product won’t sell when the doorway to place orders is closed and locked. May as well hang up an “Out of Business” sign. Perhaps the UP3D website is a better front door. The Cetus 3D is mentioned, but none (yet) offered for sale.
Cetus 3D Update
10/13/17 Friday the 13th!
Cetus 3D support (Jason) is communicating to me very well via support email. Very strange. I have been trying to decide if I want to order this through support. Jason said he could send me a PayPal invoice for what I wanted.
I mentioned previously they are also makers of a printer called the “UP” (UP3D.com). Very similar design printer guts but with a case and better structural support. Also, a much higher cost. That tells me the Cetus 3D is not a lonely orphan stumbling out into the cold cruel world on its own. I feel a bit more secure.
Since support was talking to me, there could be another reason the registration email wasn’t getting to me. The website email server is probably different than the one support uses. It works that way on some of my websites.
I decided to do some investigating into my spam email filtering which is managed at my email service, pobox.com. They trap thousands of emails a month from getting to me. I had the feeling that perhaps emails from China may be considered risky. I have not previously had problems with email to China.
Sure enough, there were about a half dozen attempts to send me the verification emails from Cetus 3D trapped in the spam filters. The email service used by Cetus 3D website is a Chinese service that has been BLACKLISTED by one of the filtering service agencies. Probably a known spammer source out of China is using the same server.
I can’t tell Cetus3D or UP3D what email service to use, but it appears to me they need a new one. Maybe it doesn’t work that way in China.
Without some risk, life would be very boring. Cetus is the name of a whale-like sea monster. Thus, the origin of the whale tail visible in the Cetus 3D logo. So, the printer must be a “whale of a tail” or is it just a “tail of the whale”? Is there something “fishy” there? Ha!
I got on site, got my registration recognized, and I have ordered the printer. So, now I wait and see what happens next.