My two cents worth
I believe the 20 K machine to be very viable. 50K to 300K is not worth it
for may industries.
I have been reading this list fo rabout 9 months now and have noticed a
couple of trends.
-The stock prices of the mfgs have been all over the place
-Everybody is wondering about if a Large SL or desktop machine will pay
-The rates per hour on service bureaus are incredibly low (if the $2) per
hour numbers stated a little while back are real - We try to charge about
$50 to $90 per hour for 2-D laser cutting!)
-The list has served as a bullitin board for public acution or
liquidation of at least At least two service bureaus.
I hate to be a glass is half empty person but this seems to me to be a
fairly unstable industry right now. Yes I think the technology is vital
and will be broadly marketable, but I cannot create a business plan that
would allow us to take this level of risk.
Reasonably speaking it currently costs well over 100k to touch almost
any RP (not 3 axis mill) technology. This figures in a desktop modeler,
workstation (s), trainging, modeling software, translators, and overhead
So to do some quick math:
Figure a 3 year amoritization schedule (does any one think that is
reasonable for this technology and computers - who is stil using 3 year
100K / 3 years = 33K a year amoritized start up cost
33K / 50 weeks a year = 660 a week
$660 a week/ 5 days ( ok most of us work 6+ days a week but lets not plan
to) = $132day
$132/ 20 an hour rate (hey it wasn't my number) = 6.6 hours
So you have to run the machine 6.6 hours a day five days a week just to
pay for the thing, that is assuming you paid cash (no interest costs),
and before you pay for upgrades, variable labor costs, material costs,
fixed plant overhead etc.....
I think that two things have to happen. Yes the machines must be cheaper
and more mainstream. But also there needs to be better software and the
software standards need to be "sold" to the other industires that you
intend to move into. Also software costs need to move down as they are
supported by a wider user base.
Re Kinkos - It does not take 10 hours to make a copy..... and it does not
cost 3000+ dollars for software plus about 4 hourrs work to translate the
not very good looking original that the customer brings in, and you don't
need a masters degree to operate it.
That being said.... Where can I buy my 20 K machine.......... Just let me
call the bank...
Laser Graphic Manufacturing
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