A new 3D printer enclosure product portends a change in the future.
The product announcement focused on a new enclosure kit for the well-regarded Type A Machines desktop 3D printer equipment. Ultimate 3D Printing Store, an online reseller of multiple brands of desktop 3D printers evidently developed this kit on their own. They explain:
Ultimate 3D Printing Store has created a clear enclosure designed specifically to cover and protect Type A Machines’ Series 1 Pro 3D printer.
They’ve priced it starting at USD$400, not including an optional HEPA filtration system (but read this first) and an optional USD$800 external fume extraction system from BOFA Americas, a well known producer of fume extractors for labs.
The idea is to increase the print quality of the Type A Machines Series 1 even more than it already is. This is done by enclosing the build chamber to capture stray heat and provide a nice and warm environment for the thermally sensitive plastics being extruded. I’m sure it provides value, and should be of interest to Type A Machine equipment owners.
But there’s something else here.
Type A Machines Series 1 Pro is an open format machine, meaning it has no built in enclosure; that’s why an optional product was created.
But consider this: there are a number of 3D printer manufacturers competing in the professional space, all touting the quality of their prints and the ability to 3D print in a variety of engineering materials.
In a market where quality counts, you probably should be selling a machine with an enclosure just to grab that extra bit of quality. However, some of the manufacturers in that market are coming from a historically different market: DIY and consumer. Those spaces did not have as much demand for quality as today’s professionals will have, making enclosures an optional feature.
But that seems to be changing. I expect most of the 3D printer manufacturers catering to the professional market will, sooner or later, change their equipment to by default include an enclosed build chamber, simply to keep up with the quality chase.
As of now, there are several manufacturers in this situation as well as Type A Machines. Ultimaker, Makerbot, and several others remain open format machines.
At least for now.