Why Do Production 3D Printers Look Like Office Printers?

It is interesting that most professional 3D printers on the market try to be two things at the same time. They want to be an office printer and manufacturing equipment at the same time. On the other hand home / desktop printers look like rough unfinished devices.

Just take a look at these two machines. First a $150,000 professional 3D printer and next a home printer.

Objet Eden500v

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The professional printer you want to use in a production environment producing high volume of parts and the home printer is something to keep — well — in your home. See what I mean?

Manufacturers of professional 3D printers want to sell professional manufacturing equipment as if it was a office device. At the same time home 3D printer manufacturers try to selling their desktop printers as a workshop device. There is something wrong with this picture!

I think there will be two types of printers:

  • Home / Office Printers
  • High volume Manufacturing Equipment

All other types will go away. Printers like Objet Eden500V which cost $150,000 which look like office printer but have the cost of manufacturing equipment are simply not sustainable. Besides that these are not office printers at all. They smell, are dirty and make a lot of noise. They look nice in a brochure or in a showroom but that is it.

A professional high volume 3D printer

  • pure functional design and sturdy outer shell
  • easy and reliable way to get manufactured parts off the machine
  • easy to access to all parts of the machine for maintenance
  • easy to change materials between production runs
  • ability to make part of automated production line
  • ability to connect / reroute (power, pressured air) equipment in a custom production environment

A desktop / home / office printer is:

  • quiet and no smell
  • nice and professional look
  • no access to delicate or dangerous parts
  • easy to change / refill materials

Based on the current available the biggest challenge is on ZCorp. Their printing process is messy and not really geared towards high volume production. Their equipment is fit office use while at the same time not ready to be part of a high volume production process.

Manufacturers have to make a decision where to go to but when they decide they need to make their equipment suit the requirements for their environments they want to sell their equipment.