Monday, 28 January 2013

Too many orders for reprap printed parts!

It's not every business that has the luxury of having too many orders but I have found out first hand that the demand for printed reprap parts far outweighs the supply.

The issue is simple: it takes a printer between 10-20 hours to print parts for another printer, meaning that if you sell more than 1 a day you can't keep up with demand (with only 1 printer of course).

A simple solution of course is to print myself more and more printers and use those to print the orders but I don't have the time or the space at the moment to run them all. I am currently building myself a brand new awesome rostock printer which I will blog about as I build it over the coming weeks. This will partially solve the problem, but I still think that demand for repraps is increasing much faster than supply.

Will this mean a price hike - I doubt it, but the longer lead time for acquiring parts may put some people off. I hope that as designs are iterated and improved the parts required for building will become cheaper and the electronics should become cheaper due to normal mass production in China.

After looking around and finding many many reprap online shops with a banner saying 6-10 weeks waiting list, or closed until demand calms down - I don't think I'm the only one with this problem.

It's a really exciting time for 3D printing and the reprap project as demand is absolutely exploding. I urge anyone with a 3D printer to print as many printers as possible for other people as this is the primary bottleneck for rapid adoption. Giving them away would be even better, but even selling the parts feeds the printing ecosystem and opens the doors for more designers and engineers to play with this awesome technology!

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