There are two massive corporations that currently dominate the 3D printing market. One is 3D Systems, whom most have heard of, and the other similarly sized corporation is Stratasys, who recently merged with Objet.
As of today Stratasys does not manufacture a personal 3D printer designed for consumer use, whereas 3D Systems offers several. Why is this so? Why doesn't Stratasys make one, too? This is one question constantly posed at the company. We think there are four reasons why they won't enter the personal 3D printer market:
- Existing clients. The folks Stratasys sells to are generally professionals in various disciplines. They are not consumers. While engineers and architects might also be consumers and know something about Stratasys, other consumers have little knowledge of Stratasys.
- Process available more cheaply. Stratasys's secret sauce is the ability to extrude plastic in a process patented by them as Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM. It's our understanding that this patent has expired and now we see the same process emerging in many small companies providing personal 3D printers to consumers at very low costs.
- Not in strategy. Stratasys's strategy is to address the needs of manufacturers by providing equipment capable of producing production-ready parts. This is very far from the consumer space.
- Distracted by Objet. They've just merged with Objet in the biggest corporate maneuver in 3D printing history. We think they'll be quite busy working that out instead of pursuing entirely new product lines.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of other terrific choices for personal 3D printers.