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Original jhead creator is going out of business. Chinese clones impossible to compete with

Posted by TTN 
TTN
Original jhead creator is going out of business. Chinese clones impossible to compete with
October 01, 2015 06:37AM
Reifsnyderb has announced he's going to stop making jhead hotends.
He is the original developer of the jhead hotend and runs hotends.com

It is a sad day.

It was discussed at length on #reprap on freenode.net.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2015 06:38AM by TTN.
Bad news indeed, the Black J-Head is the sexiest looking,small, printhead out there, I wanted one for my printer as the printers got a lot of black in it. (the HEX one is nice too, better in black)...but I wasn't sure how it compares to the offerings out there. E3D /Hex
It's a lot of money to stump down on something that may need to be changed later. From what i'm reading the Hex might look nice but the E3D seems to be winning...but for first tests I just went the cheap route

But this is a lesson to anyone trying to make something unique, I was even thinking of designing one at some stage, in this case the clones are not that much cheaper than the orig' so I know who I would rather support, maybe if the designer makes a newer version, machined in China, he could still have some of the market.
Hello,

Why would I want to support the chinese by getting a new version machined in China?????

Brian


Quote
MechaBits
Bad news indeed, the Black J-Head is the sexiest looking,small, printhead out there, I wanted one for my printer as the printers got a lot of black in it. (the HEX one is nice too, better in black)...but I wasn't sure how it compares to the offerings out there. E3D /Hex
It's a lot of money to stump down on something that may need to be changed later. From what i'm reading the Hex might look nice but the E3D seems to be winning...but for first tests I just went the cheap route

But this is a lesson to anyone trying to make something unique, I was even thinking of designing one at some stage, in this case the clones are not that much cheaper than the orig' so I know who I would rather support, maybe if the designer makes a newer version, machined in China, he could still have some of the market.
Because its hard to compete with them? Not all Chinese are the same? Yeah I've heard the scare stories, and they may be right
Someone's probably gonna have you off in the end, it's a nasty biz/world, I'm dreading it.
The ones that ripped you off might not be the same as the ones you employ to mass produce your stuff.
Forgive my ignorace of your situation Brian, you created the J-Head? Hats off to you,
but what did you do, machine them all at home on one machine? Kudos, or find a US producer?
I would love to be able to machine at home for less, but think it would take me far too long, have to trust someone,
or give up....before even starting, hmmm sometimes easier to do nothin, life to short to be putting all your time into something only to get ripped off, what else you got up your sleeve, decided not to work on any new products ?
Hello,

I am the creator of the J-Head, yes. I designed it to use as few parts as possible and rapidly improved it. One year after the first version, the 5th version was out and it is very reliable and able to print both ABS and PLA.

I have a pretty complete machine shop and setup different machines for a single purpose. For example, my Tormach PCNC-770 has a fixture on it to machine the brass blanks so as to prepare them for the Hardinge DSM-59 Turret Lathe. When I was a lot busier, I had a machine shop in Kansas do some of the work then finished them here.

Since I am also a computer programmer, I have a document management system that I am about to release for Wordpress. I think it will do pretty well. Afterwards, I might apply for some trademarks and build on the J-Head Mk 8's and Mk 9's so as to sell them as premium hot-ends for somebody who'd like something that works right out of the box and is willing to pay extra for quality.

Best Regards,

Brian


Quote
MechaBits
Because its hard to compete with them? Not all Chinese are the same? Yeah I've heard the scare stories, and they may be right
Someone's probably gonna have you off in the end, it's a nasty biz/world, I'm dreading it.
The ones that ripped you off might not be the same as the ones you employ to mass produce your stuff.
Forgive my ignorace of your situation Brian, you created the J-Head? Hats off to you,
but what did you do, machine them all at home on one machine? Kudos, or find a US producer?
I would love to be able to machine at home for less, but think it would take me far too long, have to trust someone,
or give up....before even starting, hmmm sometimes easier to do nothin, life to short to be putting all your time into something only to get ripped off, what else you got up your sleeve, decided not to work on any new products ?
Quote
reifsnyderb

Since I am also a computer programmer, I have a document management system that I am about to release for Wordpress. I think it will do pretty well. Afterwards, I might apply for some trademarks and build on the J-Head Mk 8's and Mk 9's so as to sell them as premium hot-ends for somebody who'd like something that works right out of the box and is willing to pay extra for quality.

Best Regards,

Brian

I like your idea of selling turn-key hotends. A very big thank you for your huge contribution to RepRap and I wish you much success in your new endeavors.


New browser from the creator of Opera: [vivaldi.com]
Hi Brian thanks for the info, you got a Tormach, now your talkin, those machines are cool from what I've seen, I was very tempted to get one feeling it would be capable of most things needed, problem for shipping to the UK though. I could get an older knee or turret machine for the price of shipping.

and then this is thing with having a machine, costs, and somwhere to put it, and then obviously time ot manufacture individual parts,
I figured maybe 2 years and I would be getting somewhere, but then some of the parts need 5axis, and so getting first parts made in a couple of weeks with larger machines seems the only way to go,
I just had a quote or two from china, for 3 parts, first company was almost 3x more than my prefered supplier, £24k best quote was £11k but I would much prefer to spend 11k on kit instead, I know i would have a far more interesting time, being couped up in a machine shop sounds like more fun than being stuck behind the computer.

I saw a J-Head with thermocouple(i think), and felt that it detracted from the diminutive black part, I know it's not what it looks like that counts, but it is the reason I thought the origonal Black J-head (i hope i'm not confusing your product here)would match my machine so well, and increase its potential, but unfortunatly I decided i'd cut my teeth on a cheap one first, which may lead to more issues, as soon as I figure out how bad it is, the sooner I can decide on moving up. So hopefully you will still have some stock, and your not really going out of business. But it is a sad lesson to be learned, I'm fully aware of plagarism issues as its happened to me a few times, and I would rather it didn't happen, when you spend months figuring out something unique, and then some bugger comes along and reverse engineers a similar unit, perhaps just from one or a few pictures. It's sad that the internet enables people from all over the world to steal ideas without even coming to your home.

Is this your handy work
[www.ebay.co.uk]

is this a clone
[www.ebay.co.uk]

You know if you take it out on ebay & argos, you might be able to get some of these listings taken down, they should not be selling copies, and these organizations should not enable them to do so.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2015 08:46PM by MechaBits.
Quote
MechaBits
Is this your handy work
[www.ebay.co.uk]
It has the 5 slots like the genuine jhead but whoever made it hasn't got a clue what they are doing as heaterblock is mounted onto the wrong end. I don't want to know what else they got backwards.

Quote
MechaBits
is this a clone
[www.ebay.co.uk]
4 grooves: clone. Also, heaterblock is too large and the nozzle has the wrong shape.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/13/2015 06:12PM by TTN.
The second e-bay link is a clone or counterfeit.

Now, about that first e-bay link to the J-Head Mk V-BS.

spinning smiley sticking its tongue out spinning smiley sticking its tongue out spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Please read the description of the first e-bay listing. That was done on purpose and by me. The description is clear that that hot-end is garbage. If somebody sorted by the lowest price, the idea was that they run across it. I only "sold" one and had to talk the buyer into a refund as I was not shipping that to anybody. I didn't think that e-bay listing was still out there.


Here is the description:


While I have high quality J-Heads available elsewhere on e-bay and in my web shop (hotends.com), I have decided to offer a J-Head hot-end for a lower price than even the counterfeits from the Far East. There is one caveat, however. You get what you pay for.

Many people have reported problems with the J-Head hot-end and, after their purchase, have found out that it is a counterfeit. The counterfeit hot-ends are usually made in China and the blueprints are never followed. This has been the result of many hot-end failures worldwide.

Please see the pictures that show the differences between genuine J-Head hot-ends and the counterfeits. The bottom two hot-ends are counterfeits. As there are a lot of variations, of counterfeits, I have not bought every variety. However, it is usually the easiest to tell counterfeits as they have 4 rows of vents and not 5. In addition, I have seen at least 3 different ways the vents have been cut. Without proper cooling vents and the correct internal configuration, the hot-end will fail.

Properly made J-Heads are great at printing both PLA and ABS. Some people have even printed nylon with them. It is critical, however, to not try to exceed 248 degrees (c) as the PEEK can soften above these temperatures. There is plenty of information at Reprap Wiki and J-Head Blog, as well.

When I sell a properly made J-Head hot-end (i.e. Mk V-BV and soon a Mk 8), I consider it my job to ensure that it works properly and guarantee that it is free of manufacturing defects.

Please note that the J-Head hot-end for sale, in this ad, is made from parts straight from my scrap bin and is guaranteed not to work. There may be major variations of the J-Head Mk V-BS due to the scrap parts having varying imperfections. As with some of the counterfeits, the PTFE liner is missing.


Quote
TTN
Quote
MechaBits
Is this your handy work
[www.ebay.co.uk]
It has the 5 slots like the genuine jhead but whoever made it hasn't got a clue what they are doing as heaterblock is mounted onto the wrong end. I don't want to know what else they got backwards.

Quote
MechaBits
is this a clone
[www.ebay.co.uk]
4 grooves: clone. Also, heaterblock is too large and the nozzle has the wrong shape.
Gotta feel for you, but speaking from someone who has run machine shops myself and fully understanding where you come from.... you cant beat the Chinese, but you can use them!

Some years ago I ran a mold making shop and had a large project with an impossible time scale, so decided to investigate China, after much negotiation it boiled down to quality of materials and the Chinese agreed to use steel from a well known German foundry..... and here is the kicker.... the price of the finished machine mold tool chassis delivered to my shop were cheaper than I could buy the raw material for!

Note I said chassis, we ended up changing our business model so we would design tools so the Chinese could make the tool carcass and we would manufacture the cores and cavities, anyone who had made mold tools knows that making the tool carcass, drilling all the holes and machining key-ways is man labour intensive, whilst machining the cores and cavities is machine intensive, this meant we could divest ourselves of the work that was taking up our operators time, and concentrate on the work that was maximizing our machine cutting time.

Quality, well they say you get way you ask for, and with China that is more true that anywhere else in the world, most people think the Chinese make crap, but that's because we ask them for crap, and they will give you exactly what you ask for.... we were asking for quality, and we got pristine quality, better that we could have done in our own shop!.

End result we did a two years worth of work in 6 months at 75% of the cost, much of the profits went into investment in new equipment that better suited our new business model and production capacity, and because we kept the cream of the work ourselves we never released any sensitive IP, all parts from China met requirements 100%, and only required rectification in places where we made errors in the original CAD files!



RepRapPro Mendel 3 Tricolour
RepRapPro Fisher
-Carbon Arms
-Easy adjust Carriage+effector
-axis stiffness mods
HE3D -600 delta
-Duet 0.8.5
-PanelDue
-DC42 Height probe
-RobotDigg metal components
Simplyfy3D
RS Design Spark CAD
Talking of design theft...little did I know my designs would end up on a crowdfunding site within a week of posting here.
[www.indiegogo.com]

Thanks for the heads up, the people who contacted me.

I figured the first ebay link was you, raising awareness of the issues the BS obviously stands for ...you know smiling smiley
The machining defect clearly depicted.

I hope to pick one up soon, your best model, which I assume is the most recent....though maybe the smallest one would be an option?
the milling finish doesn't look smooth on some, is this to keep cost down, are they anodized ? or other coating, it looks quite thick.

and what about fixing to printer, the one I have at moment uses standard plate but I'm not happy with that solution it's not clamped in tight, I need rock solid, many ppl design their own, in plastic...It would be good if something like an aluminium bike torch holder could clamp it, as they are cheap & plentiful, or a picatinny rifle sight clamp or something.

From what I can see in the copies and possibly yours is that nozzle is part of the block it doesnt remove for replacement, is that correct.

Did you also create the first design / silver fin type too as they are listed as J-head also.

I figure the airflow over the black versions would hug the cylinder & go through the holes, but wonder why there wasn't a few more fins.. near the top, or why you didn't source some alu extrusion or heatsinks and modify that to keep cost in check.

if the nozzle cant be replaced and the whole block has to be changed, whats the cost of the?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/20/2015 05:11PM by MechaBits.
Just got the project pulled! Indiegogo took a little persuading but finally some action.
Who knows what damage will reflect back on me though?
People stealing ideas, producing rip-off counterfeits, need to be eliminated, whichever country they are from.
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MechaBits
People stealing ideas, producing rip-off counterfeits, need to be eliminated

Perhaps I'm a bit late to the discussion, but isn't stealing copying ideas and ripping off manufacturing copies the whole point of Open Source Hardware? And Open Source Hardware is -- some say so -- the whole point of RepRap?

On my part I see a wide gap between what people say ("you can copy and sell copies as you like") and how they act (try to sell it them selfs). Such gaps can work for a while, but never ever make a solid business foundation.

The OSHW enthusiasts became quieter lately. RepRap's "wealth without money" and "biology-like replication" is gone, reprap.org is now kind of a customer care forum for various companies. Zillions of single-workers, collaboration (a key part of Open Source Software) is nowhere in sight. Even RepRapPro apparently hides the "sources", at least I couldn't find them when starting the search at their shop (they're disconnected, somewhere on Github). Now J-Heads going away, one of the few efforts which managed to become a de-facto standard. Sounds all much like a marketing bubble imploding.

Looks like the traditional business model isn't that bad, after all.


Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
     
Hello,

The problem was never people selling copies that followed the proper spec. Makerfarm, for example, sold me a perfect example of a Mk IV-B J-head. All of the dimensions were exact. I never complained a bit about that because they made true J-head hot-ends.

The chinese knock-offs, however, use the name of "J-Head" and do not follow any known blueprint. If you compare them to the real thing it is obvious that they took shortcuts. Many times, these short-cuts have resulted in an inferior product. To me, this is as though they took FreeBSD, added a couple hundred bugs, then sold it as a Linux distribution. The end result is that buyers blame J-heads when the chinese knock-offs are really no such thing.

I've seen many comments where people bought chinese knock-off J-Head counterfeits, had them fail, blamed J-heads, then bought something else never to buy the real thing.

If the chinese were to make J-heads to the exact blueprint, and maybe improve upon it, that would be one thing. That would be the Open Source thing to do.

Best Regards,

Brian


Quote
Traumflug
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MechaBits
People stealing ideas, producing rip-off counterfeits, need to be eliminated

Perhaps I'm a bit late to the discussion, but isn't stealing copying ideas and ripping off manufacturing copies the whole point of Open Source Hardware? And Open Source Hardware is -- some say so -- the whole point of RepRap?

On my part I see a wide gap between what people say ("you can copy and sell copies as you like") and how they act (try to sell it them selfs). Such gaps can work for a while, but never ever make a solid business foundation.

The OSHW enthusiasts became quieter lately. RepRap's "wealth without money" and "biology-like replication" is gone, reprap.org is now kind of a customer care forum for various companies. Zillions of single-workers, collaboration (a key part of Open Source Software) is nowhere in sight. Even RepRapPro apparently hides the "sources", at least I couldn't find them when starting the search at their shop (they're disconnected, somewhere on Github). Now J-Heads going away, one of the few efforts which managed to become a de-facto standard. Sounds all much like a marketing bubble imploding.

Looks like the traditional business model isn't that bad, after all.
You might be right? I had wondered how the open source model produces money for people to live, there's certainly a lot of work, time & effort put into many great developments, but how to survive without selling something in the end, I have given away most of what I've produced, but I made that choice, for some free bandwidth on youtube, or use of a blogging platform, but sooner or later you have to design something you can sell, that doesn't give people the right to steal those designs or ideas, but some will. A blatent copy like the J-heads really should be able to be policed, removed from ebay would be a big start, until some royalties can be arranged, but finding help in the fight is not as easy as it should be, sure you'll find lawyers who would like to help themselves to anything you have left.
Bruce Perens, inventor of the "Open Source" term and evangelist of Open Hardware has apparently made similar experience:

[arvideonews.com]

In short: if you don't expect monetary reward, doing Open Hardware is entirely fine. If you depend on that money, don't do it.

Also some words about how some Open Hardware licenses would be outright harmful if they'd actually work the way they're indended to.


Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
     
Doesn't Adafruit open source all of their designs? They seem to be doing well.

Besides, was the j-head design actually open source? I assumed people just cloned it and made it for a lot less in China. Kit manufacturers then cut every corner imaginable in order to turn a profit, which meant buying crap hotend's that their customers immediately replaced with E3D hotends or other "all-metal" designs, not understanding that the flaw was with the manufacturer of the part, not the fundamental design of the j-head.
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Kurzaa
Doesn't Adafruit open source all of their designs? They seem to be doing well.

Yes, because they use it as marketing strategy. Like some others do. It stops working as soon as serious investments into development are neccessary, because such investments don't pay out.

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Kurzaa
Besides, was the j-head design actually open source?

It still is.


Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
     
That said, it also works as long as a design is not popular enough to appear on the radar of cheapo-cloners.


Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
     
Damn. Sorry to hear this. I bought one and it has proven to be a great hot end at what I thought to be a decent price. This is just a harbinger of things to come. Eventually ALL 3d printers & parts will come from China
i dont have this hot end but seeing china kick off all the research in 3d printing ( as they cant do research only cheap copies ) makes me sad.

there must be a solution on this before all the reprap project dies.
VDX
Re: Original jhead creator is going out of business. Chinese clones impossible to compete with
January 27, 2016 03:18AM
... there is enough research and development, but not blogged/posted or disclosured anymore, so the results are mostly distributed in small groups or used to opt comercial systems.

This means, that many developments are made parallel without knowing from each other, but it's some progress anyway ...


Viktor
Hello,

There will always be people tinkering. However, with the china factor, turning it into a business is becoming impossible. Open source software, once created, has a "manufacturing" advantage in that copying the software has a negligible price. Open-source hardware requires a lot of capital equipment and labor to copy an open-source design. Because of this, the advantage goes to the area of the world where it is cheaper to do so.

Add in the price of shipping, and producing and selling anything in the USA, profitably, is another problem.

Tinkerers will create something new, sure. Making and getting that something to somebody else will always be the issue.
Dear Brian Reifsnyder,

Thank you for your huge contribution to RepRap.
I wish you big success.

p.s.:
In my opinion, the whole point of Open Source Hardware
is allowing and encouraging other people to improve the documented design,
making things that, little by little, standing on the shoulders of giants, work better and better.

It makes me sad that people are tricked into buying inferior counterfeit products that appear to be something they are not,
ending up with things that work worse and worse.
It makes me sad that the related confusion too often leads to unfair blame cast towards the original.
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