Stratasys and HP are going to make and distribute 3D printers together. This is huge news. As you may know Stratasys is the company behind the Dimension & Fortus 3D printer brands and the Red Eye 3D printing service. Stratasys use the FDM process and we use their machines for our Grey Robust material. Some quotes from the press release: “We believe the time is right for 3D printing to become mainstream,”
said Stratasys Chairman and CEO Scott Crump. “We also believe that HP’s
unmatched sales and distribution capabilities and Stratasys FDM
technology is the right combination to achieve broader 3D printer usage
worldwide. HP has made a similar move in this market before, capturing a
dominant position in large-format 2D printers. Together we hope to
repeat this success with 3D printers.”
The large printer manufacturers have now dabbled in the "low end" of the market with Dimension FDM printers breaking the $20,000 mark at one point. This is the same price as the entry level Zcorp machine, the 310. Objet's Alaris is around 40,000 if I'm not mistaken. Now the Dimension U-Print starts at $12,000. 3D Systems, another 3D printer manufacturer, recently acquired the assets for Desktop Factory which was a start up that wanted to produce a $5000 3D printer.
Stratasys working with HP means that they will have a lot more muscle on the distribution side and will push prices lower. HP's savvy in doing the whole "giving you the printer" and charging an arm and a leg for the ink thing. It would be interesting if they tried this with 3D printers. This is a huge shake up in a market coming to grips with the idea of manufacturing for everyone.
The race to lower prices and desktop machines is of course even more interesting given that the open source Rep Rap printer (and its positively dirt cheap $750 Makerbot Cupcake CNC variant) are both doing very well. This means that as of now the major 3D printer manufacturers are locked in a battle for your desktop while at the same time trying to figure out how to compete with open source. Awesome!
Nope. If everyone got a 3D printer tomorrow we'd become much larger because of it. A true replicator on everyone's desk would pose a more interesting challenge. But even then we would transition to a pure discovery & learning site.