As many have noticed by now, the RepRap Champion website vanished in February without a trace. Being one of the largest parts suppliers for the 3D Printing community and manufacturing a range of custom products, this unexpected disappearance came as quite a surprise. Over the past several weeks, rumors have circulated as to the company’s future and whether they would return, leaving a noticeable void in the market that they previously filled.
Shortly after the closure, I was given the opportunity to meet with the owner, discussing the events that had transpired and his plans moving forward. Completely in the dark as to what caused the abrupt shutdown, I was anxious to understand the situation in more detail. Given my prior interactions with their business, organizing the recent holiday contest and testing several product designs, it was hard to imagine what could have caused this course of action.
So What Happened to RepRap Champion?
RepRap Champion was originally incorporated as a joint effort, owned and operated by two business partners. From the start however, much of the work fell to one while the other pursued his interests elsewhere. With different visions for the companies future, they decided to part ways and move forward independent of one another, ending the RepRap Champion brand as we knew it.
“We made several key decisions together, including the name of the business. My goal with Gulfcoast Robotics is to start fresh, separate of the RepRap Champion name”
Fortunately for us, the owner who has maintained the business has no plans to call it quits. The move was effectively made to cut dead weight from the company, where this was best done by rebuilding it from the ground up. Having now severed ties with the previous contracts and obligations, he has reopened the store under the name Gulfcoast Robotics.
Gulfcoast Robotics Opens for Business
While the shop is still in its infancy, Gulfcoast Robotics is open for business and will directly replace the original RepRap Champion site. Although the website is still early in development, the full product catalog is already available for purchase, with shipments in route to Amazon that will replenish that stock as well. Over the next couple weeks, we will see all existing channels restored and make way for some exciting updates under the new brand. In addition to the original products, current R&D is in the late stages of building some new additions such as…
- New 3D Printer Model
- Water Cooled Hotend
- 5-1 Multi-Color Hotend
My Affiliation with Gulfcoast Robotics
With a rather vague business proposal and invitation to come visit, I made the trip this past weekend to meet the owner and visit their warehouse. After a brief tour of the facility, surrounded by more printers, parts and prototypes that I could have possibly imagined, we went to dinner to discuss his immediate plans. Aware of my passion for 3D Printing, career in business operations and recent state of unemployment, an offer to join the team at Gulfcoast Robotics was on the table. He then proceeded to explain what I have covered above, making sense of the recent events and what led to this rather sudden decision for change.
After accepting the opportunity to pursue what I consider a dream job, we discussed how I would be involved moving forward. As the owner is an engineer by trade, with the utmost interest in designing new parts for 3D Printers, my role will be to alleviate his workload, assuming responsibility for much of the daily tasks (customer service, product testing and so fourth). By dividing management efforts and sharing the workload, the aim is to strengthen the limited capabilities of RepRap Champion, expanding operations and releasing innovative new products for the 3D Printing community.
Since I began looking for work several months ago, my ability to write new content for LetsPrint3D.net has significantly decreased, due to a lack of both time and funding. With this unexpected opportunity being made available, a great deal of stress has now been lifted off my plate. As a result, I will of course continue to write here on a regular basis, with a full set of new projects and guides planned for the coming months!