XYZPrinting just announced a new desktop 3D printer specifically designed for younger schoolchildren, and this could rattle the business models of many other manufacturers.
The new machine is called the “MiniMaker”. It’s clearly designed for younger children, as you can see in the colorful case and simplistic controls. Were it not known to be a 3D printer, you might easily mistake it for a random toy in a child’s collection. It also is somewhat reminiscent of Weistek’s recent MiniToy machine.
The machine uses only PLA filament, which is easy to print and relatively safe, in its healthy 150 x 150 x 150mm build volume. It includes 3D design software and resources for educators.
However, Taiwan-based XYZPrinting is perhaps the largest vendor of desktop 3D printers in the world, backed by the Asian colossus Kinpo Group, is able to marshall significant resources on this project. Their online resources for educators could be significant.
This bodes well for educators, but could be doom for smaller 3D printer manufacturers, many of whom have abandoned the failing consumer market and instead have bet the farm on selling to educators. The trick to selling to that market is not so much the machine, but instead having a very comprehensive set of resources to make the machine immediately useful in the classroom. I suspect that’s what XYZPrinting is doing.
Meanwhile, the smaller companies who have been diligently working on developing their educational portfolios must be disturbed with the arrival of this new direct competitor.
Even worse for them is the pricing. XYZPrinting has set the release date for the MiniMaker at October 21 of this year and the price is a ridiculously low USD$230. Where other manufacturers might have convinced an educational institution to purchase their product for USD$1,000 or more, they now must compete on price, too. Ouch!
But, all of this is fantastic news for educators, who will soon have more choices than ever to bring 3D printing to the classroom.