Re: [rp-ml] Desktop Factory

From: Charles Overy <>
Date: Wed Aug 30 2006 - 18:30:23 EEST

There seem to be two large holes that no one is discussing.
Machine price is only one part of the equation.

First, If price per part is much more than >$100 this machine is still
going to have limited application. As has been stated before on the
list, the cost per part, (inclusive of ALL materials, maintenance
contract, drum, lamp, etc) needs to be about an order of magnitude less
than it is now for widespread consumer use.

2nd is data. I am still not sure what the "consumer" is going to
print. I think the market, even for something like a custom,
monochrome, cell phone case, at $50 plus a $5000 machine, is somewhat
limited. Then we can begin to stump around about stl. If someone is
going to say that people will set up "corner-Kinko" type operations to
print stove knobs and mower handles, great, I'll be a customer. But
there needs to be a better file format that will specify meta data such
as build orientation, scale, materials, etc so that replacement parts
can be reliably designed to be replicated with reproducible results.

I think that any incremental decrease in price will have an associated
increase in adoption. "Floodgates" , I don't think so. Not yet.

Charles Overy

steve wrote:
> Ian Gibson wrote:
>> 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.
> The key point here is that ONE company has to break out of line and drop
> the cost of their machines to the $5k range - and (as you say), the
> others can follow - and therefore WILL follow.
> Maybe the RepRap project will make the whole matter moot by providing
> the means for people to make their own machines for a couple of hundred
> dollars - maybe a printer manufacturer will see the light and come
> up with something for a few thousand bucks a pop.
> But sooner or later, someone will break the log-jam and once that
> happens, the flood gates will surely open and consumer-grade 3D printers
> for less than the prices of a decent TV set will be in Best-Buy within
> 2 years.
> That can't happen so long as all of the 3D printer manufacturers can
> sell a machine that costs them less than $5k to make for $20k. Life
> is easier for them the way things are now and they won't change without
> someone pushing them. I'm kinda hoping this will be the right push.
> That being the case, it may not be necessary for this to be the greatest
> 3D printer in history - it can be a pretty poor machine and still serve
> the purpose of breaking up the log jam.
>> 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?
> It would sure be nice to know.
Received on Wed Aug 30 17:38:28 2006

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