RE: My 1K RP machine????

Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 23:41:38 EEST

Here is my 2 cents worth...

Several years ago when desktop modelers or concept modelers were being
talked about it was the idea that if they were at a specific price point and
"friendly" enough that companies would be buying them to put along side
every plotter or next to each departments printer. Well we have seen the
price for these machines drop below $100K and even below $50k and the sales
just aren't there. The question is why? Is the price point still to high?
Maybe! Is the concept of concept modelers not working? Probably! I have
stated from the onset of these machines that above ALL they must be useful.
And if a company was going to pay good dollars for Solid Modelers and
Designers use them, that they would probably NOT want to spend money, time,
materials, training (despite the ease of use there is always going to be
some) on a unit that produced visual verification miniatures.

Lets look at several years down the line when the price has dropped below
the $5k mark and companies and select individuals can afford to purchase
several if not hundreds or thousands of these machines. What size will be
standard? What files formats will it read? What materials will be
available? Will they "production" quality? How will an industry that can
barely agree on anything now come to agree on this simple but most important
aspects of this new machine?

The quote from Mr. Rudgley I my humble opinion was nothing more then thought
provoking comments on the possibilities of our industry. I have noticed
that this list is obsessive about precisely how and when labels are used!
The words "fax machine" were used in comparing our industry to the TV
commercial that aired during the super bowl about UPS delivery service. Not
that 3D was working on such a machine (not that I know anything!).

We have monumental problems with file compatibility issues, solid modeling
issues, materials, safety, service and many other issues that if this
machine never materialized still need to be resolved. But that does not
mean that we can't speculate what might be...


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Bathsheba Grossman []
        Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2000 3:11 PM
        Subject: RE: My 1K RP machine????

        On Tue, 4 Apr 2000, Charles Overy wrote:
> What an interesting quote. Particularly that Mr. Rudgley speaks of
a 3D fax
> and not a 3D printer. I read this as an implication that 3D
believes the
> idea of scanning and transmitting an objects specifications is the
> application that will make the technology widely commercially
viable. This
> is as opposed to the output from 3D design application that
allmost all of
> us are involved in. 3D faxing sidesteps (or at least makes
transparent to
> the user) all the problems of CAD, file formats,bad facets,
translation etc
> that we spend a great deal of time discussing.

        Isn't it more that the idea presuppose a solution to these things,
        rather than sidestepping them? I mean, to "fax" an object, there
        still must be a file representation of it, and that file will still
        have a format, and that format will still be vulnerable to errors.

        I'm puzzled by the specificity of the "fax" angle. If we had an
        output device that could do good models at that price, of course it
        would have many uses, and of course long-distance transmission would
        be one of them, but I wouldn't think of the device as specifically
        tied to it.

        I mean, I use my 2-D printer to print documents with many origins:
        scans, web downloads, faxes, emails, not to mention docs I write
        myself. Most of them come from somewhere else, but I still don't
        the printer as being primarily part of a transmission system.

> I really do hope 3D systems really has the technology research
and the
> business model to support this statement and that it is not just
> prognostication. Very exciting. At $1700 it would be a lot
closer to me
> than the corner high street!

        And everybody who's still paying off a $100,000 box would be sucking
        the mop. Awful stuff, technology. :-}

> Subject: My 1K RP machine????
> "Mervyn Rudgley, the senior director of business development at 3D
> in Valencia, California, believes this will happen sooner rather
> later. "In about five years, we will be producing 3-D fax machines
for less
> than 1,000, and they will be available in your local high-street
> Just found this interesting statement...........wonder how big the
fax will
> be...Thermolithography is it's name? TLA?

        I would expect that if they are really pushing to make such a
        it would be possible. It doesn't seem to me (know-nothing that I
        that there's anything very inherently expensive about the various 3D
        printing technologies. Plastic and lasers are not by nature costly,
        and great precision has been achieved in 2-D printers for peanuts.

        It's just that a mass market has not been perceived by machine
        manufacturers, and meanwhile there are these very well-capitalized
        specialized markets, and therefore no serious effort has been made
        make 3D printing cheap enough for normal consumers. As I'm sure
        you're all tired of hearing me say, I believe that a bet's being
        missed there, and that the first manufacturer to go after that
        will clean up.

        If it's going to be 3D Systems, good for them.

        Bathsheba Grossman (831)
        Digital Sculpture

        For more information about the rp-ml, see

For more information about the rp-ml, see

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jun 05 2001 - 23:03:12 EEST