Sorry about the wrong link everyone.

I do think the consumer market for 3D printers had a slump over the summer. We may be suffering a bit from xyz getting huge traction - they have huge distribution when compared to me. They also reach a massive location. The slump may be in the US I suppose. Sales here have been steadily climbing- our direct sales is up 30% year over year for 4 years. The market is fairly flooded with options but we still stand out with solid offerings at $399 and $599. The heated bed upgrade continues to gain steam too.

I agree that overall the market may still be strong, but pricing, customer support and brand identity are important enough to challenge new comers.

I do think ultimaker has tapped a different market than us. Same w form labs. If you combine Printrbot, ultimaker and form lab’s health, I think you can see strong growth across a wide range of the market.


I agree. Bad news from any manufacture cooks the market. Bad machines have a chilling affect too. Confidence in the technology is suffering right now

I think the biggest reason XYZ is succeeding with the DaVinci models (even though the 1.0 printed garbage) is that NEW consumers are more comfortable buying a cheaper printer with marginal output rather than going up-market for a better printer as their first purchase. It’s risk-hedging behavior. When you don’t know how much you’re going to use the printer, the “razors and blades” model of cheap hardware subsidized by consumables sales is actually a pretty good value proposition. A lot of people may only print a few spools of filament (or less) and then stop using the printer. And for a true newbie, ANY kind of 3d printing, even crummy quality, is pretty magical.

In hindsight, trying to sell $3000 machines to new users who don’t understand the technology or how they’ll use it is a pretty questionable approach.

@Nathan_Walkner I agree completely, but if you’re a new user that’s not plugged in to the community, you don’t know that. MBI used advertising dollars to capture good press from the general 3DP news aggregators, Make Magazine, CES, etc. (CES giving the 5th gen line a bunch of awards before the printers were even operable was just sad.) To SUPERFICIAL APPEARANCES, the 5th gen line looks like a premium Apple-like product.

Going higher-margin, lower-volume is a valid strategy, but the printer returns and smart extruder swaps gutted their margins and eliminated word-of-mouth growth. So the strategy failed on multiple levels.

We should probably also be talking more about the negligent lack of honesty and research by the 3DP press about the 5th gen line’s issues. The amount of white-washing we’ve seen is completely unacceptable.

The lack of confidence in the technology is due to the bubble bursting around the marketing and glowing press of the last few years. The machines aren’t as easy to use as a home appliance and were being touted as appliances when in reality they are machine tools. For most people, particularly those with limited mechanical skills even the best machine can be difficult to use. Then there is the issue of who really needs a machine and can effectively use one in the first place. It’s a great technology that is available to most all but it’s not something that’s going to be in most households.

For those talking about numbers shipped and using that as a metric for a consumer product, the numbers are far, far below what mass market products ship. XYZ was quoted at 22k units/year. That’s nowhere close to numbers from mass consumer products. As a comparison using Comtrade data the estimated worldwide manufacture of microwave ovens is 70 million a year and that’s been slowing over the last decade. Data from CETA show smart phone shipments of 1.4 billion (billion with a B) in 2015. Tens of millions of units are what it takes to be known as a mass consumer good. Not tens of thousands. Gartner estimates 2015 extrusion type 3D printers units shipped to be about 250k worldwide. Units shipped are expected to be 5.5 million by 2019 with only 40% in the sub $1000 range. Currently reporrtedly 25% of units shipped are in the sub $1000 range.

I completely agree with Ryan and welcome honest press about my Printrbot’s too. I want to be the most honest, realistic expectation 3D printing CEO I can possibly be. My video and comments to the press about “3D printing is hard” is what I believe we all should be saying.

I also believe Stevens is right- we are not in the consumer market appliance business… Yet. My early, naive perspective was that we would be in almost every household soon… Now I still believe 3D printing will hit mass market but in a much longer time frame. Perhaps 5 years… Perhaps 10. Maybe more.

I am not discouraged though. Nor is my resolve squelched. Now I know the goal is gonna be a huge uphill slog and I’m up for it. Printrbot will never go for the short money, we will participate in the long game. Our approach has always been to take market share on the low end of the markets it’s great value machines first, which I believe we are doing. Then to improve user experience with software, firmware and innovation in electronics- this is where we are spending money, time and energy now. Building an ecosystem, or partnering with autodesk’s ecosystem may be required after that. Lastly, we want to challenge the high end of the market with truly professional machines that outperform the current leaders at lower prices.

Hopefully, over time, the public will trust not only is, but 3D printing in general. Part of this will be putting the hype behind us and proving what we can do with a good track record.

Some companies skipped steps to to take money. We won’t. I still own 100% of my company, but have offered stock options for my key employees. This is key to success on the long run. My only worry is that the employees with stock options will someday have opportunity to cash out a bit and receive the rewards of their sacrifice. There are only a couple of options for that but taking care of my employees is a huge priority to maintain a long-term healthy company.


@Brook_Drumm Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, really appreciate that.