All three sound revenue models that definitely apply to this market and this use case--particularly in terms of 3D printers aimed at consumers and would-be makers for general usage as opposed to usage on a professional scale.
Or will the industry go down the coffee maker path. give away the coffee maker knowing that you will likely buy their coffee packets. Or maybe much like the printer on a lot of PCs. The printer is cheap but the ink is expensive. it will be interesting to see how the industry is able to advance perhaps using different pricing techniques.
BrainiacV--that's an interesting perspective. Making money on the CAD files/designs as opposed to the hardware. Kind of like making money on cell phone plans and giving the phones away. But what's the fun in just printing out something as opposed to actually designing it?
Your comment about printing off a missing or broken part is key, though. My household would benefit right now from a bunch of 3D printed parts that need to be replaced/repaired on various items.
When the 3D printers get down to the consumer price point, experience with CAD will not matter. They will be buying pre-designed objects from a web site. Like the Apps for the iPad. Some consumers will delve into the intricacies of making their own objects, but I'm amazed they aren't selling the printers at a loss yet and then planning on getting their money back on the CAD files. Wouldn't it be great to go to a manufacturer's site and download the part that broke on your device?
I agree. Yes, its great to allow the makers of the world access to desk top manufacturing tech (I love my FDM machine at my workplace!) but please speak to the big picture life cycle of these devices. Plastic, we love to use it and so will makers but what will happen to most of the makers creations? In a landfill somewhere is my guess. It'd be great to see Cathy Lewis speak to a recycling program 3D Systems will initiate with the increased sales of low-cost machines (Stratasys at least recycles the empty material cartridges for their Dimension FDM Printers with free shipping back to their plant). Also, in our fragile economy, education and access to resources that propagate learning can be job one, even for corporations. Perhaps hitting the "magic price point" for corporate earnings can be pushed down a little lower on the goals list.
@Stogie: I hear your point about slowing down and there being a ways to go before the resolution on these lower-end machines matches high-end units. However, I'm not sure it's a pipe dream. A ways off, perhaps, but definitely making progress. Appreciate you keeping the perspective and enthusiasm in check, though.
Aside from my primary job, I am involved in model kit design. Few of the high end machines can acheive the resolution many modelers desire. Most fine scale modelers model at 1:48 scale or smaller. Many features therefore are oversized or removed to be able to print. RepRap printers compared to this requirement are garbage. I wish the press would slow down selling the pipe dream that a 3D printer can make anything a person can design. Until the hobby market machines have resolution comparable to Objet, you are merely going to tick people off.
"Doing a little CAD work on our handhelds." That train is already leaving the station, jmiller, and I expect to see a lot more on that front over the next year or so. I also think they'll be lots of activity around online services and packaged apps that will make the CAD part of developing content for 3D printing far easier and accessible to the non-CAD experts. Exciting times.
I agree cost is going to be an issue, but the autor also notes the issue with the average consumer being able to put down their designs in a way that the printer can identify. The average consumer won't be proficient in CAD so being able to put something together in an ipad type format will be helpful.
I'm also interested to see how that type of simplicity may be incorpated backward into CAD packages.
Won't be long and we'll be doing a little CAD work on our hand helds.
Costs are definitely coming down as you can see with this offering as well as several other recent 3D printer entrants. You're also right about the open source technology paving the way for lower-cost units. However, there is also a lot of activity around packaging these open source kits so they are turnkey and ready to go for the consumer who isn't able or willing to roll up their sleeves and assemble a kit on their own. And it's amazing at how fast this is all happening.
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