State of the UFO 2023

Wooooo… last week the 60th UFO was sent out. 5 YEARS OF UFOS!!! That’s a milestone right? I remember being accused of being a scam, being told I’d fail… but ya know what? I’ve come a long way since the first UFO went out…

I haven’t been able to solve all of the logistical issues yet… big emphasis on YET… every month I’m running options through my head, talking to various people/companies to plan on moving forward and eliminating issues – the biggest of which is being project parts. If it’s not customs – it’s receiving wrong parts – or UPS losing packages – or just ordering them too dang late. But ugh – I’m working on it.

We’ve gone though some changes – designed boxes, custom designed boxes every month, plain boxes, back to designed boxes – tri-folds, inserts, sample labels, trading cards – vacuum sealed bags, ziplock bags – 6 different versions of the DIY sample machine, industrial sample machine… and OMG the industrial sample machine has been a life saver. Just to give an example – 1 color used to take me an entire 8 to 10 hour day to get done… last week after I got back from MRRF, I still had all 8 samples to do for Maker Box. I sampled 5 colors in 1 day and the other 3 a second day, then bagged them all up over 1 1/2 days – so in 4 days I did 8 colors… and they weren’t even full days, I did things in between. I have time again!!!! So the sample machine has been a game changer for me. If you haven’t seen it in action, hop over to tiktok

Speaking of Maker Box – Maker Box had been around for a couple years longer than I when I first started. 5 years ago, Maker Box and I had a rough start and I ticked them off and they didn’t like me very much lol. I’m happy to say that Matt and Dave are now really great friends. And as of October 2022, Alien3D purchased and took over Maker Box, which doubled the amount of subscribers overnight. Maker Box now has the option to add projects & accessories to their boxes as well – and more options are in the works. How’s that for growth?

For those who follow on Twitter, you know I’ve been involved with some drama over the last year. Old things popping up again, and new things that I can’t help but get involved with… I say I can’t help it because well… when I see someone hurting the community or hurting members of the community, I can’t just sit back and let it happen. I really don’t care if people believe me when I say there is so much more that I know and information that I have access to that I wish I could share but can’t… I will never put up with bullies, racists, misogynists, LGBTQ-phobes, bigots…

Being Silent in the Presence of Hate Allows Hate to Burn Wild and Win – I can’t be silent.

Moving forward – Competition in 3D printing is hard with such amazing bigger companies out there who sold all the same things I was selling before, have employees to share the work, buildings and warehouse space… it’s a spaghetti monster eat spaghetti monster world out there. I don’t know if 3D Printing Mystery Boxes will continue to sustain me for many more years to come (I hope so), but 5 years later I still enjoy it. There’s growth spurts, cancellation spurts, sustained number spurts… I will continue to do my best to improve on every aspect of Alien3D and its products.

I am growing again. As of July 1st Alien3D is the sole US distributor for FilamentPM a filament company from Prague who also was the original provider of the Orange PETG filament used by Prusa. Surprise surprise – I’ve also started a 2kg monthly subscription box for them as well! In August I also plan on offering Artillery parts again, I am constantly getting contacted about where to purchase replacement parts for their printers, and since I’ll be making trips to the post office again selling filament, might as well offer parts that are in demand as well. I’m going t be buying a larger storage building next week, plan on hiring an actual employee in the next month or 2, and we shall see where things go from there.

Alien Ooze PLA & PETG should make an appearance again later this year, as well as Knight’s War Red. – So be on the look out for those. I know a lot of you have been waiting, but with all of the money going out the last year with the Maker Box acquisition, Sample Machine, and finding new filament manufacturers – it’s been a process that takes time. Oh also… the Tesseract is going through some changes, which is why it hasn’t made an appearance since ERRF 2022 – hopefully it and the Batmobile will be able to make an appearance at ERRF 2023… we shall see.

As always – thank you to everyone who sticks by me on social media, sticks with being a UFO and Maker Box subscriber despite my failings and delays, thank you to all of those who seek me out at ERRF, MRRF, RMRRF, Maker Faire Orlando and MegaCon Orlando – y’all make me cry multiple times at each event with your stories about UFOs and how much you love what I do, thank you to the 3D printing community who continue to prove to me that despite some bad apples… is the absolute best community I’ve ever been apart of in my 44 years on this crazy rock. It’s not just a community, it’s a family – and no matter what happens, I will never regret being a part of it.

I love you all.
Josh ~Alien3D/Maker Box

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