Re: $20 K machines

From: Brad Fox (
Date: Mon Apr 06 1998 - 21:13:53 EEST

Thanks for bringing some sanity to this discussion!

>we all seem to be focusing on the cost.
>I don't think we can say much about the cost of RP without assessing the
>benefits also. Without the amazing benefits RP has brought, we would all be
>going "RP barefoot," to stretch this metaphor a bit.
>I just think we will get there much faster if we focus more on the business
>benefits that these machines can bring.

I too would like to see some kind of 3D printer at $20K, however - what
kind of printer do you really expect to produce at $20K. Reading the
thread, everyone seems to say it must be accurate, strong material, fine
feature detail, etc...
While I do think it's possible, to hold back on purchasing a $60K machine
today seems to be very small thinking.

There are (still) many service bureaus making decent margins with machines
in the $300K+ side. And it's not becauce they are charging $20 per hour!
How are they doing it? Stop to think about it for a bit before blasting the
industry because they haven't produced a $20K machine yet!

As Preston points out in his excellent book "Developing Products in Half the
Time," there are very real, tangible benefits for equipment that can help
you get the "right product" to market on time. A single tooling change due
to some feature not communicated properly can pay for running a concept
modeler for a whole year! (...OK, maybe TWO tooling changes) An early
concept model shown to your customer who then gives you feedback on new
features can pay for the whole bloody machine!

Let go folks! We're more creative than simply bemoaning the fact that RP has
to be $20K "before I buy!" Anyone out there wants to give more examples of
how RP has paid for itself? I think we would quickly turn our questioning
from "why isn't there a $20K machine?" to something more like "why are so
many people still not incorporating RP earlier in the design cycle?"

As always, IMHO...

Brad Fox
Rapid Design Technologies

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