At the Canada 3.0 Conference last week there were two 3D printer experts in attendance, Chris Anderson and me. Both of us are passionate about the ability of 3D printers to create real world objects and both of us where featured in this article published by the CBC.
Anderson’s keynote speech was excellent. He focused on the democratization of manufacturing and how average people can now accomplish what only the biggest companies once could, the manufacturing of things. Like the internet allowed all of us to become publishers the 3D printer will allow all of us to become manufacturers.
Anderson is right on with this. We are at the beginning of the next industrial revolution as manufacturing becomes accessible to the masses. However, Chris’ talk focused on home applications for 3D printing like printing toys for his kids.
What we showed in the Javelin booth is very different; commercial quality equipment from Stratasys that our clients use to grow their business. Javelin’s clients are businesses; engineering firms, product designers, dental labs, hospitals, universities, architects, etc. They need tools to help them design more creatively, get projects to completion faster and control their costs. Home based printers in the under $3,000 price category are great for doll house furniture but they just aren’t accurate or dependable enough for our clients.
At our booth we were demonstrated our entry-level, commercial quality, 3D printer The Mojo which currently sells for $9,900. So what is the difference between a $10,000 3D printer and a $3,000 hobbyist/home one?
The Mojo is a commercial quality machine that makes parts accurately and dependably. Hobbyist, or home, 3D printers require a lot of fine tuning on an ongoing basis and cannot match the accuracy of more expensive models. If you plan to print doll house furniture or you like to “tinker” a hobbyist printer may be for you. If your business relies on being able to accurately model parts for form, fit or functional testing and you need to be able to make parts when you need them a commercial quality printer is the way to go.
Let me tell you two stories that illustrate this point.
Story #1 - I recently met with a client who bought a hobbyist 3D printer for about $3,000. In 3 months they had been able to make a few good parts but it took a lot of attempts to get each one and there had been many abandoned prints along the way
Story #2 – At Javelin we recently received our first Mojo printer. We took it out of the box and set it up in about an hour and 15 minutes (watch this blog for an unboxing video soon). We printed our first part in about 30 minutes and it was perfect – see the Javelin name plate on the right. In two weeks we have printed about a dozen parts and every one has been perfect. No fine tuning, no tinkering, no failed or bad prints; just good and accurate parts.
In short if you are a hobbyist and you want to experiment, take a serious look at the hobbyist printers. If you need your 3D printer to consistently make reliable and accurate parts, then talk to us. We can help.
Doug Angus-Lee is Rapid Prototype and Additive Manufacturing Product Specialist at Javelin Technologies. Doug can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-815-1906 x214.