iMakr has begun selling higher-end 3D printing equipment designed for industry. I think this is a significant change.
When iMakr first appeared in 2013, it seemed to be designed around the then-crazed hype about 3D printing for consumers. It offered a friendly retail location in which newbie consumers could drop by to see the magic technology in person. They could even buy machines and supplies, with the assurance of real human support onsite. Drop in and get your questions answered. Find 3D printers and all related services, too.
I even witnessed this myself: when at the London iMakr store, I observed passers-by literally stopping and looking through the window at live 3D printing, which enticed them to enter the store and look around. It worked.
But, alas, the expected boom in consumer 3D printing didn’t happen for reasons we’ve explained on this publication many times.
Now we find most 3D printing companies increasingly focused on professionals, industry and education to market their powerful 3D printing hardware and software. Most of the smaller companies have latched onto a specific industry niche and are reorganizing their service, support, marketing and content towards their selected niche.
Meanwhile, iMakr still operates two retail 3D printing stores, one in London and the other in New York City. I’ve been at both and found them to be excellent drop-in centers for anyone interested in looking at 3D printing.
But now there seems to be a bit of a change. iMakr announced the availability of a new line of 3D printers, which in itself isn’t unusual, as the company has been reselling a huge variety of machines through their physical and online stores. What is different is that the newly announced machines are not exactly for consumer or hobbyist use.
They’ve announced the availability of the MiiCraft line of SLA resin-based 3D printers, which are specifically designed for jewelry design, dental production and other very specialized industrial and commercial uses.
These machines start at USD$11,300 for the MiiCraft 50 and can go up to USD$14,200 for the larger-volume MiiCraft 100X.
These are not prices any consumer or hobbyist would consider. They are solely for professional use.
I believe this could signal a slight shift in approach from iMakr, where their retail operations have likely discovered where the money is these days: in professional customers.
Could we see more commercial machines at iMakr? I think it’s likely, as there is more profit to be made with that market. Hopefully they will continue providing inexpensive desktop equipment as they have been.