Village Plastics, a long time manufacturer of 3D printer filament, has reappeared - but there’s a story to be told.
Back in the day - like seven years ago, Village Plastics was one of the very few companies producing 3D printer filament. At the time many fledgling desktop 3D printer companies obtained their filament from Village Plastics, relabeling it as their own. That list included the big names at the time, MakerBot and 3D Systems.
3D Systems in particular used the Village Plastic filament for their consumer line of desktop 3D printers, the Cube, CubeX and their successors.
But along the way 3D Systems decided it was best to acquire Village Plastics outright - they bought them. Then the operation was simply an internal unit of 3D Systems, supplying materials only for the 3D Systems consumer lineup.
Then in late 2015, 3D Systems unexpectedly announced they were abandoning the consumer market entirely. The Cube 3D printer and all associated support services, mostly under the Cubify brand, disappeared.
The CubeX and successors survived, however, being reclassified as a kind of professional desktop 3D printer and merged into 3D Systems’ other product lines. This persisted for some time, but sometime earlier this year 3D Systems abandoned the model entirely, leaving them with no machines requiring thermoplastic filament.
And no need to have an internal unit supplying 3D printer filament, obviously.
I get the impression their intent was to simply shut down Ohio-based Village Plastics, but apparently at the last moment a new buyer was found to wrench Village Plastics away from 3D Systems and become once again an independent supplier of 3D printer filament. The buyer, Keene Family of Companies, also of Ohio, produces plastic products for the construction industry, and feels there are significant synergies with Village Plastics.
While under the 3D Systems umbrella, Village Plastics was deemed a strategic asset, and they did not focus on business growth. But that’s now changing. Today the company is looking to re-establish the markets they had previously, and make new ones, without the encumbrance of 3D Systems.
However, 3D Systems did focus on technical capacity, and we find their 30,000sf factory equipped with no less than 15 extrusion lines capable of producing all of the near 30 different materials on their product shelf.
The bottom line here is that there is now another very capable 3D print filament manufacturer - back on the market.
Via Village Plastics