It’s that time of year again. The fresh new year has sprouted and we now must contemplate things that may come to pass in 2014.
HP Enters the 3D Printing Marketplace - Again: Some years ago HP struck a deal with Stratasys to relabel and resell their uPrint line of (then) inexpensive commercial 3D printers. The deal didn’t go well and faded away after a year or two, perhaps because HP simply didn’t have the experience in the space. Now, however, a new HP CEO has stated that their company will enter the 3D printing space in 2014. With a partnership with an existing company again? We think not; HP may have their own unique 3D printing process cooking in their vast labs.
3D Printing Startups Stall: 2013 saw avalanches of small 3D printer startup companies appearing almost daily on crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter. Will this continue in 2014? We don’t think so - and not due to a lack of imagination or energy among entrepreneurs. Instead we fear the market is overloaded with personal 3D printing options, so much so that it has become difficult to distinguish offerings. Indeed, even the product names have begun to overlap, making it even more challenging to stand out in an increasingly competitive market.
More 3D Printing Mainstreamness: Perhaps it’s obvious, but interest in 3D printing will continue to rise exponentially. We will see deeper penetration of consumer markets with added media coverage - and certainly attendance at popular 3D print exhibitions and conferences will overflow once again.
3D Systems Releases a Personal Resin 3D Printer: 3D Systems, inventors and holders of patents on SLA/resin technology (some of which are soon to expire) may experiment with a personal 3D printer using high-resolution resin technology. 3D Systems now faces a competitor, Stratasys, who now owns MakerBot. Stratasys will no doubt use its remaining plastic filament oriented patents to move MakerBot’s devices ahead of the pack, leaving 3D Systems’ Cubify line in a difficult spot. The solution? Leverage their existing SLA technology on a new line of resin-based personal 3D printers.