Primax3D Surprised by Demand for Gigantic 3D Printers

By on December 26th, 2017 in printer

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 Primax3D is considering a new line of business
Primax3D is considering a new line of business

Many startups do a “pivot” early in their lifecycle, and Primax is no exception.

The German startup company is quite young, having been founded only in April 2017, not even a year ago, but now faces a change that could lead to very big things in the future. 

They began as a kind of 3D print service; the founders were able to construct a rather large 3D printer. How large? The build volume on their unnamed 3D printer is an incredible 3000 x 3000 x 1500mm. That’s 3 x 3 x 1.5m! 

The machine includes a heated build plate, a necessity for ANY thermoplastic at that size, but the machine does not include an enclosure. Thus it is able to print only low-warp thermoplastics such as PLA. They’ve also devised their own filament that works very well with this machine.  

After building the machine they began to accept orders for one-off large prints. They 3D printed full automobile bumpers, presentation stands, propellors, frames for concrete pours, and similar large objects for local companies. 

 The enormous Primax3D large-format 3D printer
The enormous Primax3D large-format 3D printer

However, something has changed. While they are operating as a 3D print service, it seems that at least a few of their clients are asking if they can BUY one of the machines. 

This is a transformative decision for the small company. While you might think it’s a straightforward decision, there are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to consider. 

On the positive side, transforming from a service business to a printer manufacturer could be very profitable. Instead of selling prints worth hundreds or thousands, you could be selling printers worth tens of thousands. 

On the negative side, creating a manufacturing process capable of delivering high quality machines is a daunting task. It’s one matter to ad-hoc construct a single machine and operate it yourself and quite another to reliably – and cheaply – build many machines that are to be operated by other people. To gain that capability they’d likely have to hire manufacturing expertise and possibly outsource production. It would require considerable investment. 

 The large-format Primax3D printer in operation
The large-format Primax3D printer in operation

It may also compromise their 3D print services business, as the most likely buyers would be those who are currently spending a lot of money buying prints from them. It could be a one-way decision. 

But that may be a good transformation, in spite of the challenges, simply because the large-format 3D printing market is one that is definitely proven, with several parties marketing devices of such scale. Each of them seems quite successful and profitable, so there’s little reason Primax3D couldn’t be another one if they execute properly. 

It’s not clear whether Primax3D will pursue this approach, but whatever their decision, we wish them well! 

Via Primax3D (German)

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!