Re: [rp-ml] Desktop Factory

From: Brock Hinzmann <>
Date: Wed Aug 30 2006 - 21:27:36 EEST

I think Charles gets to the heart of the matter, in terms of who the
consumer will be. The Home Office-plus-Kinko's model make the most sense
to me. Most people just won't make enough use to have one in every home.
In the RepRap model, however, if you spread the use across a global
community of 6 billion people, you can probably sell (or make available)
a lot of machines to small communities of consumers, who will channel
networks of users. I'm less worried about the data and what people will
print than Charles is. Just look around at digital photography and
online video sites. 99 percent will be 3-D Crap. But it will be
personal. I tried to anticipate some of these issues in a piece titled
The Personal Factory, which was posted on several web sites (Wohlers,
Ennex, et al) a decade ago. Is it finally going to happen?

Brock Hinzmann

Charles Overy wrote:

> 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 20:21:20 2006

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