What happens when crowdfunding doesn't succeed?
Crowdfunding is difficult. It is difficult to choose a project that appeals to the audience that you can reach. Ultimately, you are making a pitch to your friends, friends of friends, and their friends. If you don't know people in that group that would like your product, it is unlikely to succeed.
What happens to a project after the crowdfunding fails?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
(Appropriated from Langston Hughes' Harlem (What happens to a dream deferred?)
My most recent project was the Ready RepRap. This one, more than any of the others, was a labor of love. It was an exercise in design and cost restraint. Despite not garnering enough interest to justify spending more time on it, I feel like I honed some of my skills in open-source engineering and in documenting a process from start to finish.
I didn't want this project to simply disappear with no contribution to the art of making, so I've decided to release it into the Creative Commons under the CC-BY-4.0 license.
You can download all the assets, including 3D printable objects, instruction book, and firmware. When you build it, you will have some work debugging the extruder system, which is the thing I did not have time to totally work out. The hardware, however, is sound. The toolchain is sound, and the project's immediate predecessor, the RepRap Libro (which I designed while working at the Pueblo City-County Library District) is also sound and has been replicated and used in four different library branches.
Please feel free to download the instruction manual from GitHub. Use it however you wish. It provides a very clear way to create a low cost 3D printer or delta positioning robot. That was the actual goal, anyway. And by that accounting it succeeded. :-D