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naperlou
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Re: Addressing yet another barrier to entry
naperlou   12/31/2011 1:16:01 PM
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Alex, another scenario is that there will be other technologies that superdeed 3D printing.  I am thinking of real 3D visualization.  There may always be a use for both, but 3D printing is not as mainstream as it might seem.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Addressing yet another barrier to entry
Ann R. Thryft   12/15/2011 12:46:26 PM
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Chuck, the situation here is not very linear. The high end can mean either the materials or the users, but as far as who buys the equipment versus who uses a service bureau, that depends primarily on company size, not industry or application.


Charles Murray
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Re: Addressing yet another barrier to entry
Charles Murray   12/13/2011 11:35:20 PM
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Ann: Do we have a sense of who the big companies are who were willing to make the necessary capital outlay? What industrioes were they from and will this open up new opportunities in other industries?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Addressing yet another barrier to entry
Ann R. Thryft   12/13/2011 12:45:41 PM
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I think Beth's point paralleling what happened with high-end copiers and what's happening now with low-enbd 3D printers is well taken. In fact, Cobb gave that same parallel during the interview.

To Alex's comment about market  bifurcation, that's a good question. I think the market is already bifurcating, but in a slightly different way: between low-end cheaply produced products for Everyman and Everywoman from either service bureaus or one's own 3D printer, versus higher-end commercial applications, both in-house and through service bureaus.


Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Addressing yet another barrier to entry
Alexander Wolfe   12/13/2011 7:51:18 AM
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As Beth notes, this is of a piece with the mainstreaming of 3D printing. I'd also point out, though, that mainstreaming is just a smidgen away from commoditization, and when that happens, the margins tighten, there's less profit to be made, and innovation similarly slows. So what does this mean as far as 3D printing for prototyping? Will we have a bifurcated market, where low-end products are prototyped using cheap services, and high-quality, high-end stuff is done in-house or at more sophisticated service bureaus? That may not be bad, but then what happens to the middle (user)?

Beth Stackpole
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Addressing yet another barrier to entry
Beth Stackpole   12/13/2011 6:27:49 AM
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This is a really cool strategy and yet another example of just how quickly 3D printing is advancing into mainstream organizations. Offering a packaged solution with all the fixings as a lease option is the way high-end copiers made their way into organizations and now they're a fixture. While the numbers around leasing may not hold up long term compared to a capital expenditure on a 3D printer, my guess is the trend will get companies in the door to try the technology. Over time, they'll likely replace the lease option with a price-competitive 3D printer offering, but they won't likely give up the 3D print capabilities.



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