Today I’m excited to share that Shapeways is an early customer of the 3D printer HP announced today!
Shapeways is a part of HP’s Open Customer Engagement Program, which means we are working closely with HP, giving them feedback on features, quality, reliability and operational functionality of its new 3D printing technology. We expect to begin piloting the new printers next year, with commercial availability defined by HP’s roll-out plan. During the pilot period we will work with you, our community, to collect feedback to make the machine even better.
The new 3D printers from HP are not available yet, but we have seen the specs and the products it can produce. From what we have seen and know, it promises to be a real game changer. The new technology is up to 10x faster than any 3D printer currently on the market, can produce incredibly detailed products, will be able to print in full color (CMYK), and it is capable of printing more accurate and functional parts, even potentially with electrical parts in the future.
The speed improvement by itself is enough to be happy about, since it will enable us to really start turning around your orders much faster. Using existing technology we typically are printing 20-40 hours per tray. With this new technology, the print time could be as low as 4-5 hours per tray.
The much higher speed also means that the cost of printing will be reduced. As you can read in my posts about Strong and Flexible plastic, the time the machine spends printing is a substantial amount of the cost of a part. As this machine is much faster than existing technology, that part of the cost will be less. The higher speed and the initial prices of the machines we’ve seen lead us to believe that we could bring prices down substantially.
In addition to the above, the HP 3D printer will be able to produce true four-channel full color plastic going forward. This is what everyone has been asking for! Not brittle parts, no super glue needed. Real full color plastic with the strength you’d want, so you can create even more useful, full color products.
It’s really awesome that HP has asked Shapeways to be an early customer for this new 3D printer as it reflects on you, our community, for being incredibly innovative. We have built a platform enabling designers to bring amazing products to life, and as a result, HP decided our community should be among the very first to get access to the technology. They realized that in working with us, they can learn how they should further improve their machines. The new HP 3D printer has a lot of promise, so we can’t wait to get our hands on the machine so we can start testing it and give you full access to it.
Today marks a really big moment for 3D printing. A very big global technology company is entering the 3D printing market with quite an amazing machine and technology. Surely this will trigger a response from the existing 3D printing companies to accelerate their development of their technology, which in the end benefits you! Can’t wait to see what the future will bring.
Pete / CEO Shapeways