Re: [rp-ml] Desktop Factory

From: steve <>
Date: Thu Aug 31 2006 - 01:06:05 EEST

Charles Overy wrote:

> 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.

If there are costly replacement parts, that might be an issue - so might
cost of raw materials.

> 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.

Yes, I agree that STL is awful. But it's just a polygonal format that
seems for some unaccountable reason to have taken off in the business.

It's about as basic as such a thing could be.

There are dozens of other formats that support all kinds of meta-data.

Collada is a growing standard that is well supported with both
professional and amateur tools - and which supports 'meta-data' that
could be used to store those other things you mention.

Conversion of any other format into or out of STL is trivial for
someone with basic 3D expertise.

Part of the point is that there are people like me out there who
have a MOUNTAIN of tools and 3D expertise who currently do graphics
but who could transport those skills into 3D printing if only there
was an affordable machine to play with.

> I think that any incremental decrease in price will have an associated
> increase in adoption. "Floodgates" , I don't think so. Not yet.

Well - it's hard to say at precisely what price point the flood gates
will open. But what is needed is for there to be market 'pull'.

Right now, hardly anyone in the general population knows that 3D
printers even exist.

At $20,000 - only professionals can own these things.

At $5,000 the early-adopter amateurs will buy them in some numbers -
that will have an impact on availability of free designs, cheap
software tools and it will ensure that the general public finds out
what these things are and what they can do.

It'll take another round of price cuts before these things will
be as common as 2D printers - but that'll happen just as soon as
someone realises that they could sell a million units at $800 instead
of 100 units at $20,000 *and* make money by selling bulk plastic
at a 1000% markup (as, sadly, they surely will).
Received on Wed Aug 30 23:53:09 2006

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