[rp-ml] Desktop Factory

From: Ian Gibson <mpegi_at_nus.edu.sg>
Date: Wed Aug 30 2006 - 05:31:20 EEST

Hmm, looks interesting, but I wonder....something doesn't quite add up here

First is the parts. On Ed's website they look quite good but on the
company website they don't look quite so good when seen in scale with
the hand that's holding them. I also wonder why all the parts shown
are somewhat prismatic in shape.

Secondly is the price. This company definitely does not look like a
large outfit. If that's true then I wonder how they are going to make
the machines. I agree with Ed's comments that parts should be quite
easy to mass produce, but then they have to be assembled, packaged,
shipped, sold, supported, and maintained. At $7000 a machine, the
return per machine must be pretty low. Doing some very basic
arithmetic and putting a lot of fingers in the wind, I reckon they
would have to produce at least 2 machines per day just to break even
on sales, not accounting for any capital and facility costs. They
must have a production plan for at least 10 per day. Now that's not
exactly an assembly line, but it is getting close - and that takes a
lot of capital.

Third is the competition. I would say that there are at least 5
machines on the market that can quite easily be manufactured to a
retail cost of $5000. Looking at the number of moving parts, I would
say that ZCorp, Stratasys, Autostrade, and a number of other machines
can all be made at a lower cost to this machine. I imagine that all
the companies involved in the low-cost RP market have strategies for
reducing their machine costs when the time comes. If the company is
just looking to set up an operation with a hope to be bought out by a
large company like Epson, HP, etc. then they should be prepared to
join a queue and to be disappointed.

We have been waiting a long time for one of the big companies to
surface with plans to make a low-cost machine. Unless Desktop Factory
Inc. has very deep pockets, I can't see how they can manage. Maybe
someone closer to this company can shed some light on this?


Dr. Ian Gibson
Associate Prof.
Dept. Mechanical Engineering
National University of Singapore

tel: +65 9277 7343
Received on Wed Aug 30 04:42:27 2006

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