RE: a story

From: Bathsheba Grossman (
Date: Thu May 30 2002 - 22:12:57 EEST

On Thu, 30 May 2002, Bruce E. LeMaster wrote:
> you to do your own trouble shooting / repairs. How much extra are you
> paying because your field service person is trained to swap out components
> only at their highest level (i.e. charge you for a new laser diode when in
> reality you only need a small $250 power supply that goes inside the bigger
> diode supply)???

Do tell - not long ago the cutter on my MMII got dull, and
Solidscape's proposed solution was to charge me $3300 for a new one.
Instead I had the thing sharpened - cost $180 - and now it's better
than new. Business as usual, except this time the mouse escaped.

> If users continue to purchase new machines without demanding more options
> related to maintenance and upkeep (i.e. cal plates, more open access to
> build station for doing diagnostics and general maintenance, schematics,
> etc) the manufacture will never be inclined to change their practices.

I don't know that it has much to do with what users demand - as far as
I can see, this industry is almost completely patent-driven. There
seems to be a unanimous feeling among the manufacturers that it's
better to squat on your intellectual property and work on milking a
tiny user base dry, than to work on improving the technology and
expanding the market.

It's on a par with that quote from the chairman of IBM about "there is
a world market for maybe five computers." I'm sure this attitude
seems very reasonable, if you assume that time and technological
development are standing still. How anyone can be making that
assumption, in the year 2002, is not entirely clear to me. Maybe I
should go get an MBA and find out.

> If your not happy with the dealer you have options! For most of us
> in the rapid prototyping industry we do not have those same options
> and you will never get them if you don't start making a stand (your
> $$$$$$'s).

On the other hand, voting with your $ won't gain you much if you
actually need the technology to do business. As long as the patents
hold out, it's not as though one has anywhere else to go.

Bathsheba Grossman                                         (831) 429-8224
Creative prototyping                             

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