XYZPrinting’s proprietary filament cartridges have a unique ability: you can refill them!
XYZPrinting produces some of the most popular desktop 3D printers available today, and one of the reasons they’re popular is the low prices of the units. Their lowest price unit, the Junior 1.0, goes for the rock-bottom price of only USD$349. That’s spectacularly less than many other 3D printer offerings, and you might wonder how they can manage to sell the unit at that price and survive.
There are multiple reasons why they can do so, not the least of which is that there are other items in their product shelf selling for higher prices. Another reason is their proprietary filament cartridges, which are required to operate the machines.
Certainly every 3D printer manufacturer wishes to ensure the best printing experience, as does XYZPrinting, and one way to do that is to control the type of filament being used in the printer. Low quality filament can render even the best 3D printer inoperable and useless, but that can’t happen if the company ensures only certified filament is used.
XYZPrinting does this by requiring special filament cartridges be used in their machines. Some vendors leverage this “monopoly” to charge much higher prices for their plastic, but we don’t think this is the case with XYZPrinting. Currently their 600g cartridges are sold for around USD$28, equivalent to USD$46 per kilogram. That’s quite comparable to MakerBot’s filament pricing, but more than the approximately USD$25 per kilogram for “generic” filament.
So if XYZPrinting doesn’t excessively charge for their plastic, how do they increase revenue? The answer is simple: they make sales of filament they would not have if the machine was able to use generic materials. They sell filament at a not unreasonable price and get the profit that others might have.
The company now also sells “Refills” for their ABS and PLA cartridges. As you can see in this video, it’s a pretty straightforward process, but we would advise being very careful with the embedded chip: if you break it, you’ve lost the spool.
Pricing of the refill ends up to be pretty close to the price of a cartridge, however, so you won’t save very much unless you’re printing a lot of models.