A notable supplier of parts and plans for RepRap desktop 3D printers has closed, according to an announcement on RepRapPro’s site.
The site was operating for some time supplying materials for hobbyists hoping to build their own 3D printer from parts using plans and support from the open source RepRap project. However, the announcement says:
RepRap Professional Ltd. is now closed.
The market for low-cost 3D printers is now so crowded and so competitive that a small specialist company like ours could not expand. So, because we were not bankrupt and we did not have any debts to pay, we chose to stop while we were ahead and to concentrate on other activities.
We are an open-source company. This means that all our designs, software source-code and documentation are freely available online on our website and on the Github link below. All that information will continue to be available into the future.
This all makes sense, but there’s a few more twists to the story.
First, it definitely indicates a maturing industry, where the number of 3D printer options has exploded, causing competition to grow and put pressure on all vendors.
Secondly, RepRapPro was a collaboration between eMAKERSHOP and RepRap Ltd, coordinated by RepRap inventor and project leader Adrian Bowyer. In a sense, this might have been the de-facto official outlet for RepRap parts from the founder of RepRap.
Bowyer has been in 3D printing since the beginning of the desktop journey in the early 2000’s, but we suspect he’s done quite well from 3D printing company investments over the past few years and thus may be moving on to other things.
For consumers, there are still more choices in desktop 3D printers than ever before in history, even with the closing of RepRapPro.