Cloud development cost

Why User-Friendly 3D Printers Don’t Sell Well (Yet)

The Mod-t, a beautiful, cloud-connected and easy-to-use 3D printer for only $299. NewMatter recently announced it will shut down operations. What went wrong? 

Some 3D printer manufacturers are making their own user-friendly software innovations to make printers more approachable. However, they don’t sell enough units. But why? Don’t people like easy-to-use 3D printers with a sleek design?

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Cloud connected 3D printing

Why Cloud-Connected 3D Printers Sell More

It is clear by now that cables and SD cards are not the future of 3D printing. As more users demand their printers to be wireless, 3D printer manufacturers are increasingly making wifi-connectivity a priority for their printer line. However, many of them are simply connecting a desktop 3D printer to a local network and that, is not the future.

A step further is to connect printers to a cloud platform. We live in the era of the internet of things, where every device gets connected to the cloud. However, most 3D printer manufacturers don’t really understand what the cloud does for a 3D printer. What are the advantages of cloud versus local network for 3D printers? Do 3D printers gain value when they are cloud-connected?

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Desktop 3D printing the next 5 years

The Next Five Years for Desktop 3D Printers

The next few years are going to be exciting. Desktop 3D printers are going to be in everyone’s home and 3D printer manufacturers will sell units like candies at a kindergarten school. Right?

While I’m extremely positive about the future of Desktop 3D printers, the industry needs to first jump the “chasm” that separates the hobbyists and the early majority. Within the next 5 years, manufacturers that don’t make significant changes in their current strategy will miss on the next wave of customers.

What’s stopping desktop 3D printers from mass adoption?

So far, manufacturers have mostly focused on hardware, while software has been left behind. For this reason, we have seen a lot of hardware improvements. Printers are now faster and more reliable. They are also cheap, the Monoprice Mini is a good example of a printer that anyone can afford. Some printers are now beautiful to look at. Our friends at Kodama are putting together an affordable printer that almost looks like an iPhone. I can picture the new Obsidian looking great in anyone’s living room.

If Hardware has improved so much, then why we continue to sell to the hobbyists and not mainstream? The reason is: software has fallen behind.

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