3D Printing - "It's all about design and quality output. Not how fast the printer can run."
I didn’t impress any manufacturers or vendors with my request for sponsorship. No disappointment by me. It’s the same as playing the lottery and the chances for a win are probably even lower. It didn’t hurt a bit to give it a try.
It was an attempt to obtain top quality 3D printing equipment and perhaps supplies. The market is very price driven at the moment and I have no identity or money vested as a vendor or dealer myself. I am an unknown. The product marketing I have seen is simplistic in most cases, especially on the lower cost hobby printers.
That’s the problem with a price driven market. The manufacturer must do all the marketing of features and benefits and the low-end dealers duke it out among themselves with price.
The micro machine tools I offer are sold that way and so are the low-end 3D printers. There just isn’t any business reason for a lone dealer to invest money to create market demand for a product offered by many other dealers. Dealers know the customer will browse the internet for the lowest available (best?) price for a standard product.
It’s how consumer automobiles are sold. The dealers sell on price alone. The vast majority of “feature marketing” the dealer uses in advertising is produced by the manufacturer and the cost is co-opted by all the dealers as part of their brand franchise. That type of product marketing benefits the manufacture and All dealers offering the product. Then the dealers still duke it out with each other on price and availability. I was a marketing advisor for many years with a brand name HVAC manufacturer. I know the game and the rules.
I now have what I want and need as far as 3D printing equipment. Purchased with my own funds. Not top of the line, but fully functional and capable machines. I owe allegiance to no brand and can say and do whatever I want about what I own and use. The only loss is opportunity for the manufacturer, having a real live outside user who can do a professional level internet presentation; Showing their product in real world use. Better "P.R." than what is currently available.
Maybe a flub-a-dub hobbyist, shakily filming with a vertical format hand held cellphone is the desired low end public image? Yeah, cause it is free…
Admittedly, my presentation and sponsor request were weak. My ocasional machine tool equipment sponsors in the past were not funding TV programs or You Tube., but saw some value in giving me their products to show in use, in my web presentations.
3D printing is a totally raw beginning for me. I am a newbie, but can tell a story the same as I have done with machine tools. Just not well enough I assume for this new industry to pay notice.
No need now to go “prosumer” as I would have done with a sponsor. It would require a dedicated effort helping the sponsor brand get noticed. I continue to run at my own speed as an independent, with far less stress.
The business of low end consumer 3D plastic filament printers is selling the printer. Getting them out the door. What can be done with them is fascinating at first, but in my experience, of limited practical and long term application. Several good web sites have grown for sharing design files.
Some 3D “print shops” are on the low end of the industry and their rapid proliferation can only drive down an already price driven market.
A low-end filament printer will not make me wealthy. The output is inferior and too slow for large volume manufacturing. The makers of Rep-Rap machines have moved to injection molded parts for accuracy and repeatability.
Rapid prototyping is a 3D printer industry strength. Some parts directly off the machine may be useable. I have made some. But long production runs are not in the realm of low end machines. An excellent play-tool for hobbyists and small prototype look-and-feel presentation.
As the machine price goes up and the automation improves and the printing processes vary, industrial application is absolutely where serious 3D printing resides. Still priced out of most hobbyist reach, it is very attractive to industry
Low end plastic filament printers are a toy. High cost filament printers and printers using exotic materials can become good prototype machines. Commercial, high end applications and manufacturing are expanding, saving time and justifying the high cost.
I have discovered it is absolutely a wonderful start to go in low-end and explore the possibilities of 3D printing. No sponsors are required as the cost is low. It is a real-life experience of the process. I don’t kid myself. Low end plastic filament is NOT the realm of a professional. It’s one heck of a good start to explore the possibilities.