Daniel Brown created a very detailed analysis of crowdfunded 3D printer startups on his blog, 3D Prototypes and Models.
This piece produces the numbers behind a feeling we’ve had for a while: that ultra-low cost 3D printer startups are a questionable proposition. While Brown makes some assumptions about component and labor costs, he more or less proves that you probably need to have a price well over USD$500 to be able to survive.
We won’t go into the details of which Brown has them all, but the chart above tells the story. If you price your 3D printer low, then you must sell an awful lot of units to survive. For many startups, this is practically impossible to achieve with the competition being so strong and the differentiations between machines marginal.
There’s only two ways around this dilemma: be backed by a major corporation with deep pockets (example: XYZ Printing) or be truly innovative (example: Peachy Printer).
Please read the excellent post below; it’s long, but if you make it through it could change your view of inexpensive 3D printers significantly.