The Stratasys Mojo 3D printer system has only been out a couple of days and already critics are complaining that this technology still costs too much. Some have assumed the reason we don’t have their ideal affordable, accurate, fast, high quality, multiple material, highly reliable 3D printer yet is because corporations must make profit first, and this is somehow a bad thing.
So let’s look at this complaint from the other side. If an affordable, accurate, fast, high quality, multiple material, highly reliable 3D printer is so easy to make, how come the likes of MakerBot, Bits from Bytes, RepRap, and so on have not introduced one to the market? After all, they have broken the less than $5000 price barrier. What is stopping them from introducing a higher quality, higher accuracy, faster, multiple-material unit that competes with the high-cost professional systems? Is it a need for profits? That does not seem to be influencing them.
Are patents being horded? Probably not. Such companies have demonstrated sufficient creativity and innovation to find ways around patented technology.
Could it be that developing an affordable, accurate, fast, high quality, multiple material, highly reliable 3D printer is not as simple as those who want one assume?
Developing any system that is accurate, fast, of high quality, highly reliable and affordable is neither easy, fast, nor inexpensive to do. The cost of components, like precision grade ball screws and servomotors, are factors. High-quality components are not cheap. Testing is a factor. The time and effort to ensure components play nicely together for reliable operation is always a challenge. These are just a few of the challenges engineers must overcome to develop a good product.
Technology helps reduce the costs of development, but there are costs, and they are not small. It isn’t corporate greed that did not give you the less-than-$2000 accurate, fast, high quality, multiple material, highly reliable 3D printer that you wished for. Your dream has not come about because the technology is not there yet. Give it time.
Instead of lamenting that we don’t have a low-cost, super high quality system, we should be celebrating the engineering that enabled the introduction of a less than $10,000 high quality unit—this is a remarkable achievement!
(Note to those who don’t approve of corporate profits—if you own stock in a public company (i.e., a 401K plan), then you want a company to make profits. Their profits help fund your retirement. And if you work for a public company, you want profits—they pay your salary. Profit is a good thing.)
Filed Under: Make Parts Fast, Ball screws • lead screws