Clearance Sales Signal the Decline of Slow-Speed 3D Printers

By on February 29th, 2024 in Ideas, news

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Excerpt from a huge sale of slower-speed 3D printers [Source: MatterHackers]

It begins: the disappearance of slow-speed 3D printers.

Over the past year we’ve seen the launch of multiple high speed desktop 3D printers, all triggered by the surprised introduction of Bambu Lab’s device some time earlier. These machines were an unstoppable combination of quality, ease of use, reliability, high speed and low price.

As a result, Bambu Lab has sold massive quantities of these machines, and their competitors were forced to act.

Some came out with what I’d describe as “interim” machines that offered somewhat faster 3D printing. Some manufacturers were able to get these machines out in only months, which no doubt helped keep their sales afloat.

However, these machines were often not equipped with accelerometers, which enable full calibration for high speed operations. While they could print somewhat fast, they could not properly run at the same speeds as Bambu Lab’s equipment could.

But, as I said, those were a kind of interim step while the “real” machines were being quickly devised.

In the latter part of 2023 we began to see these new and fully high speed machines begin to appear from competitors. Anycubic, Prusa, Creality, SOVOL and several others now all have competent high speed machines on the market and are able to keep up with Bambu Lab.

Something interesting is happening, however. If you’ve ever used one of these high speed machines, your expectations are instantly changed, forever. You immediately become accustomed to the high speed printing results, and very quick print times.

When you look back at the earlier 3D printers, they suddenly appear very, very, very slow. I now get very anxious just watching them, they are so slow.

This is why Bambu Lab has sold so many machines. This is why their competitors came out with new machines.

But what about those manufacturers that have not introduced high speed machines? What about existing inventories of slow speed machines? What happens to them?

The answer appeared in a newsletter I received from MatterHackers, one of the largest 3D print resellers in the USA.

In the newsletter they posted news of a massive “clearance sale”. They are selling items up to a whopping 70% off list price.

I was curious and took a look at what was on offer. I saw a series of hugely discounted machines:

  • Creality CR-20 from US$399 to US$117
  • Flashforge Dreamer Dual US$1099 to US550
  • BCN3D Epsilon W27 IDEX from US$6995 to US$2156
  • Creality Ender-3 from US$169 to US$118
  • UltiMaker 2+ from US$2750 to US$1679
  • Zortrax M300 Dual from US$4999 to US$1985

You get the idea. These are astonishing discounts. By the way, MatterHackers seems to also have quite a bit of material on sale at similar prices.

These machines have one thing in common: they are all old and slow. They are being heavily discounted because it’s likely hardly anyone wants them. With so many other high speed options on the market, why buy a slow machine?

It gets worse when you realize that the price of Bambu Lab’s top machine, the X1C is only US$1199, lower than several of the devices listed above.

With so many good options on the market today, I find it unlikely that there would be many buyers for these old machines, even at such steep discounts. Would you buy one of them when you can easily procure a faster, better machine, perhaps even at a lower cost?

The only feasible scenario I can envision is if someone is running a print farm with specific equipment and is looking to add more of the same model.

While I saw this happening at MatterHackers, the same story is very likely playing out at other resellers and even at the manufacturers themselves. I would not be surprised if some have been caught with large inventories of now unsellable products.

Welcome to the world of high speed 3D printing!

Via MatterHackers

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!

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