Cost
October 11, 2013 05:20PM
Does not appear that printer prices are dropping.

Am I wrong?
Re: Cost
October 11, 2013 06:46PM
ntar827 Wrote:
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> Does not appear that printer prices are dropping.
>
> Am I wrong?


yes and no, there are a few printers which are very cheap eg makibox, peachy ... etc, the issue is a lack of features / build quality / design, generally like everything else you get what you pay for




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Re: Cost
October 11, 2013 08:09PM
How cheap do you expect things to get?

If you look at laser printers as the analog to 3d printers, back in the day it was thousands of dollars for laser printers. Now, it still costs $300-$400 to buy a decent home laser printer. There are really cheap ones for $100, and really nice ones for $2k-$3k, and a whole bunch of decent ones in between.

Pretty much exactly where 3D printers are at right now...
Anonymous User
Re: Cost
October 11, 2013 09:48PM
maybe you could get a used one for $100, but all I've seen is in the $750-$1000, new.
Re: Cost
October 11, 2013 09:52PM
Attached is a calculation of cost, since i am havent actually done it, and may not have counted everything, lets say 300€(excl btw) is a more realistic outcome. Then: (with one too many significant numbers)

1) Electronics 28%
2) Motors 18% ('A motor is just like 15$ its cheap!'... yeah you need five)
3) Hot end 12%
4) Power supply 6.6%
5) Heated bed(w/o glass) 6.6%
(This totals 72%)

And of course manpower... Those companies have to earn a living for some people. That said, reprap is about people constructing repraps from printed parts and vitamins. And frankly when people whine about 3d printing they're rather often being pantsy consumers. On the other hand, i do want people to earn a living from the stuff.(it is a bit of a conflict)

Note that i am overreliant on the shop that is linked too so much in the attachment. I do not feel qualified to advise on which shops are good.

(lack of)Ideas to lower price:

1) Dunno how to make cheaper. Electromotors with optical distance measurement cheaper to run? Maybe not. Replabs with machines to help make circuits?(de-vitamin it slightly, would still need ICs in forseeable future though)
2) On many machines one less motor might be achievable.(might need to get some lubricant) (again, electromotors)
3) Dunno, this thing has to be decent.
4) This also has to be decent. However avoiding powering the heated bed lowers the current it has to be able to deliver, so then you can find a cheaper one. Heated beds are nice though, i have heard(on this forum) of AC net-voltage pads that are fairly cheap.
5) (Incompatible with the idea from 4, obviously) I have not determined well yet, it might be unsafe; particular concern that small bits get too much current density, but I think this can be mashed together with aluminium foil/tape and tape.(maybe messy, hard sell)

The rest is still 28%, very granular though.. For instance afaik sliding bearings from PLA are okey afaik.(2€×6 ~ 12€ ~ 4%, probably less)
Attachments:
open | download - readme.html (3.3 KB)
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 05:20AM
Barring any radical advances in technology, significant price reduction can only come through mass production. 3d printing is still very much in the early adopter phase, so manufacturers do not have much incentive yet to reduce features or increase volume to appeal to the low end market, while they can sell $2000+ printers.

Having said that, Makibox base model is $200, Prnterbot Simple is $300. I don't know how many orders Makibox took, but they are gearing up to make 1000 units / month.
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 06:03AM
something probably worth mentioning, is that there are currently no real print quality standards, i've seen some of the parts sold on ebay and what a lot of people consider "good" when to be honest aren't all that great and look more what i reject.

the ultimate difference will be printing resolution, the cheaper printers will always only be capable using down to 0.35mm nozzles where as some of us today are using 0.2mm and smaller and those sizes are starting to look "big"




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Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 07:24AM
Quote

I don't know how many orders Makibox took, but they are gearing up to make 1000 units / month.

They make units at all? Not so, AFAIK.


Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
     
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 07:55AM
Traumflug Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
Quote

I don't know how many orders Makibox took,
> but they are gearing up to make 1000 units /
> month.
>
> They make units at all? Not so, AFAIK.

They have started shipping printers. I think they took 1000's of orders, you may not have got yours yet smiling smiley
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 08:25AM
> the ultimate difference will be printing resolution, the cheaper printers will always only be capable using down to 0.35mm nozzles where as some of us today are using 0.2mm and smaller and those sizes are starting to look "big"

I dont see how cheaper printers are inherently limited in resolution in the near term, looks like a matter of maintaining rigidity and changing gear ratios to me.(0.2mm nozzles not issue either)

Also there is a distinction between costs of a reprap made by a tinkerer, and one made by a shop. The outcome has to look good for the latter, and the tinkerer can make things work that require a little work..

For some kind of real estimate on how much it can be reduced figure out how much you think the price of those five points can be reduced, and calculate from there.
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 09:48AM
it's the maintaining rigidity and repeat-ability that is what limits resolution, the nozzle size limits comes down to the hotend and the size and quality of the filament used also the flatness of the beds and nozzle geometry


Jasper1984 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > the ultimate difference will be printing
> resolution, the cheaper printers will always only
> be capable using down to 0.35mm nozzles where as
> some of us today are using 0.2mm and smaller and
> those sizes are starting to look "big"
>
> I dont see how cheaper printers are inherently
> limited in resolution in the near term, looks like
> a matter of maintaining rigidity and changing gear
> ratios to
> me.([url=http://reprap.org/wiki/Nozzle_manufacturi
> ng]0.2mm nozzles not issue either[/url])
>
> Also there is a distinction between costs of a
> reprap made by a tinkerer, and one made by a shop.
> The outcome has to look good for the latter, and
> the tinkerer can make things work that require a
> little work..

anything made in a shop is always going to be built to price and usually just about every corner gets cut, a classic example is the up! , they look good on the outside, but it's not until you convert one to a smoothieboard and retune it that you realise how badily designed and built they really are, they have solved and gone around a lot of design flaws in software and firmware, the most interesting one being that it can actually knock itself over unless speed limited on the Y axis

typically repraps suffer both, a lot of people are trying to build them as cheap as possible while at the same time expecting the world from it,

people i think to a point take it for granted exactly what we are doing and are trying to do on different levels, we're building machines from t-slot threaded rod and printed parts which can print more parts and with the kind of print quality you would expect out of some commercial machines
while at the same time using no particular proprietary feed-stock, and with reliability rates way beyond many of the commercial machines costing in excess of 50 times what these things can be built for, strictly speaking a $1000 for a reliable reprap is a steal,




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Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 04:11PM
bobc Wrote:
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> They have started shipping printers. I think they
> took 1000's of orders, you may not have got yours
> yet smiling smiley

Production batches aren't shipping yet. They are slated to start shipping next week. At least there are pics of the shop and the parts so it looks like it may happen this time. Based on the volume and the past record of how Makibles operate it's going to be a few months before the catch up. The next hurdle will be in support and how they deal with any issues that arise once the printers get into consumers hands. They've had a difficult time just getting to the point to ship and once those get into the wild I don't know that they can support what has shipped and continue to ship.
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 04:22PM
Jasper1984 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> For some kind of real estimate on how much
> it can be reduced figure out how much you think
> the price of those five points can be reduced, and
> calculate from there.

Much of that is something that this industry has zero control over. The price of steel, the price of machinery and the cost of labor to name a few. Not counting fuel costs for transport and tariffs, taxes and fees.

Based on what I've seen in the last year of selling parts the tinker/maker/hacker phase has been replaced with the "I just want to print" phase. Many if not most of these folks have neither the time, tools, ability or desire to build a printer. They don't want a project, they want a product. And that costs money for the suppler with a big part of that support even for selling kits.
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 04:25PM
thejollygrimreaper Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> it's the maintaining rigidity and repeat-ability
> that is what limits resolution, the nozzle size
> limits comes down to the hotend and the size and
> quality of the filament used also the flatness of
> the beds and nozzle geometry

I race cars as a hobby and there is a saying that the last 10% of performance takes 90% of the budget. I'm finding the same true in printer development as well.
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 05:01PM
@vegasloki Do you mean that you can get 90% of the performance for 1/10th of the budget? It implies that there wouldnt be much cost in getting very decent accuracy. Most people arent racing each other for print quality, they just want good prints.

As i said, there are basically two classes of people here, the tinkerers and the consumers. And you can view trying to decrease the price from those two viewpoints.. If you look at the goal of reprap(of course selling to consumers isnt incompatible) it takes the first viewpoint. I dont really like how things work now, and I havent given up hope of creating a sort-of (semi)gift economy open source subculture with a good set of capabilities. And why would i, given the success of open source on the software side.(even though basically the majority comes companies)

Also note that i was thinking more about design choices/technological improvements that could be done on those points to make it cheaper. I basically know nothing on supply side if you're a company.
Re: Cost
October 12, 2013 11:54PM
Jasper1984 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> @vegasloki Do you mean that you can get 90% of the
> performance for 1/10th of the budget? It implies
> that there wouldnt be much cost in getting
> very decent accuracy. Most people arent racing
> each other for print quality, they just want good
> prints.

It's a figurative term, not to be taken literally but to imply that the last bit of performance comes at the greatest expense. It's the same in the development of most anything. The more complex and greater performance advantages one strives to design the more incremental the costs. For example I can build a base Reprap for about US$400. Something much more accurate is about $1000, my cost. That's about 60% of the budget for that increase in performance. The costs aren't scaling linear at that point.

The difference between software and hardware is that there are atoms in the hardware end and those atoms come from markets that Reprap or even an open hardware movement in general can't control. The trade off with Reprap is that you are going to have to design for manufacturing that an average DIY person would have the capability. That means processes that incorporate an economy of scale, injection moulding, stamping etc aren't viable due to accesability. Besides that goes against the goal of a Reprap being able to replicate itself. The biggest costs in the electronics are stepper drivers, processor and PSU. Even if that becomes an integrated circuit I don't see much cost reduction there. Same with motors. You may be able to eliminate one but you still need motion. I think it's remarkable that one off DIY Repraps are as inexpensive as they are.
Re: Cost
October 13, 2013 04:05AM
Years ago a metalworking lathe for model engineering (such as a Myford) was very expensive (I couldn't afford one) then along came Chinese manufacturing and now you can get a basic model for £300+, and a pretty comprehensive one for £600 - £700. On the other hand if you want a really high quality non-Chinese lathe it might cost 5 times as much - for a very small improvement in accuracy. There is no magic about low Chinese prices - it's just down to exchange rates and the local cost of living. As the Chinese grow to like Range Rovers and steak their costs of living will rise and so will the price of Chinese goods. Chinese prices will probably have risen to match European prices in my (now adult) childrens' lifetimes.

It seems to me Reprap has skipped the high cost stage (equivalent to the old-time metal working lathes) because we can all buy Chinese made stepper motors etc. If so, that will greatly limit the scope for further price reductions.

It also seems to me unlikely that 3D printers will ever be as popular as mobile phones of regular on-paper printers. In other words there is unlikely to be a market for the tens of millions of products that would give scale advantages in the manufacturing and distribution process. And in any case much of the "saving" in high volume manufacturing is used up in advertising and product support.

In my opinion the most likely scenario is that costs will remain constant but quality and convenience will improve as more experience is gained and shared.

...R
Re: Cost
October 13, 2013 09:10AM
Yeah i shouldnt have exploited the figurative term..
Re: Cost
October 13, 2013 01:36PM
I've spent some time on this topic. smiling smiley To the point of developing a new set of electronics. Below is a wiki page summarizing my thoughts with good contributions from some others.

[reprap.org]

This is the primary purpose of the Sanguish electronics design. The point is to trade build time for $. I started with Gen7T because a single sided design would be optimal for the DIYer who wants to etch their own board but ran into problems with the drivers and routing. So it morphed to Sanguish. Currently I can sell kits for $50 at a decent profit. At higher volumes that might come down. DIY is not likely the high volume segment of the market though. At really high volumes it might be the pre-built electronics that take the low cost crown again.

Bryan
Re: Cost
October 13, 2013 03:22PM
Robin2 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There is no magic about
> low Chinese prices - it's just down to exchange
> rates and the local cost of living. As the Chinese
> grow to like Range Rovers and steak their costs of
> living will rise and so will the price of Chinese
> goods. Chinese prices will probably have risen to
> match European prices in my (now adult) childrens'
> lifetimes.


The basis for low cost manufacturing is more than low living cost. The primary reason is the central bank manipulates the currency value to keep the Yuan artifiicially low vs. the US dollar. That mitigates factors that in a free market would drive higher prices. The government not only tightly controls the means of production but can exploit a plentiful workforce via that control. And an example of controling the means of production is that sort of production and growth they have experienced is limited to certain regions called Special Economic Zones or SEZ. Guangdong Province (Shenzhen) is one of those zones. Regulations are more relaxed but still the local governments have a an absolute say in what happens there. That's in contrast to the west where there are regulations but in most cases the governments are not actively manipulating the market via currency valuations and artificially low costs.

We aren't going to see the sort of affluence in Chinese culture that we see in the west unless there is a radical change in government. It's true that as they've gone from largely an agrarian society to a large industrial manufacturing base but it's still a rigid, totalitarian system of rule that isn't likely to change anytime soon.

Tha labor arbitrage has narrowed quite a bit and as the cost of fuel rises and longer supply chains, coupled with lower cost robotics many items are more accesible to being manufactured in the west in low and mid range runs. The maker movement is playing a role in this transition. For ultra large scale it's still hard to compete with China as that capability has fled most other markets.
Re: Cost
October 14, 2013 01:19PM
@vegasloki, your comments sound like they might have been drafted by the US Republican Party - 5 or 10 years ago.

The Chinese are pragmatic people. They seem to be successfully managing an incredible rate of social and economic change for an enormous population in a huge geographic area. They WILL attain comparable affluence, and if that requires political change then the political change will happen.

Assuming China will grow even if it doesn't, is much safer than to complacently assume it will not grow.

...R
Re: Cost
October 14, 2013 04:39PM
How much time have you spent in China? There is a middle class coming into its own but its not the front line workers. Outside of the SEZ much of the country has not experienced the same sort of prosperity they have in the urban areas which has led to a migration to the area where the jobs are. It is still a very tightly controlled regime that has absolute control of the country. That said, the people I've met over there seem to enjoy life as they would in any other country and get on with working, families, etc. But it's not the west and we aren't going to see a western style markets or capitalism.

It's a fact that the currency is manipulated. That's why they don't have rampant inflation. They aren't the only country to manipulate currency, they aren't even the most aggregious offenders but they do manipulate the currency. Their ecomomy, while slowing recently is still growing but to think that they will be allowed western style capitlaism is naive and uninformed. Any political change or attempt at change would be quite violent and radically impact if not fracture altogether the markets and means of production.
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