A 3D printer manufacturer is apparently giving away 3D printers, but there’s a catch.
Duch Group is a large manufacturing service based in China that offers a wide variety of making technologies, including 3D printing. They have many subsidiaries, including Vistar (Xiamen) Industries Co, Ltd, which manufactures 3D printers.
I received a curious message from the company, soliciting a new offer on an unnamed SLA 3D printer. The device apparently is available in two build volumes, 600 x 600 x 600 mm, or a larger 800 x 800 x 800 mm. As an SLA device, it certainly must use a laser to solidify the photopolymer resin.
Industrial equipment of this type would typically be priced in the US$30K+ range, so they are not inexpensive. However, the size of such machines would enable them to be used for production purposes, just like Duch Group does for their manufacturing clients.
Duch Group is offering anyone one of these devices (either size) at no charge!
But yes, there is a catch: you must buy the machine’s resin materials from Duch Group. In an email, they said:
“The new policy is Totally free on printer, and purchasing resins from us only.”
This sounds a lot like the razor business model: give away the razor, but sell expensive blades later, over and over. But is this the case?
Duch Group said the price of their resin is a rather reasonable US$35 per kg. That’s fantastically lower than some commercial resin pricing I’ve seen, where it can be as high as US$200 per liter.
However, the “free” deal continues, and requires customers to commit to either 30 or 40 kg of resin per month (depending on the machine size selected.) That works out to US$1050 or US$1400 per month, depending on the machine.
The commitment is for three years, meaning a total financial commitment for US$38K or US$50K, again depending on the machine selected.
Duch Group said there is no rental fees, nor any deposits, and the materials can be purchased monthly or annually. They also said maintenance of the machine is included in the deal.
Additionally, if more than one SLA 3D printer is acquired, then the unit price of the resin goes down slightly.
After five years, Duch Group said the 3D printer will officially belong to the customer. This suggests they are formally leasing it to you prior to that date, but the fee is only the materials subscription.
I have two thoughts about this.
First, it actually seems to be a pretty good deal. If you are 3D printing 30kg of material per month, which many manufacturers would do, the cost of a predictable US$1050 per month for a production 3D printing is not bad at all.
Consider the price scenario on an alternate system:
- Purchase price: US$30,000
- 36 months of US$100/l resin, 30 per month: US$108,000
- 3 years maintenance at 20% of original purchase cost: US$18,000
- Total three year, all-in cost: US$156,000
I think you see what I mean here: this could be a very good deal, if you intend on 3D printing at that volume.
However, we don’t know much, if anything, about the machines involved. Duch Group’s website doesn’t say anything about the specific machines involved in this deal, and you’d likely have to contact them directly for details.
My second thought is that this is the first time I’ve seen a 3D printer sold solely for the cost of materials. This business model has been used in other industries for some time, but never in our 3D space.
At least in this deal, it trades three year commitment for lower overall pricing.
Companies looking for an inexpensive long term SLA solution might want to look into this.
Via Duch Group