One of the ironies of the 3D printing industry is that in some cases 3D printers aren’t actually manufactured using 3D printing; they’re created using molding or other methods.
Not so for HP, which recently informed The Guardian that half the plastic parts in its two new 3D printers were printed.
That’s because it made more sense economically, given the relatively small volume of 3D printers the company expects to ship. According to Stephen Nigro, head of 3D printing for HP, for any volume less than 55,000 pieces, it’s cheaper to print the parts.
According to Nigro: “Because we were going through the development cycle and we had this goal of like, ‘OK, we want to have some of the parts in this printer be printed by the printer itself’, because we thought it would be cool to have the printer print itself. We honestly thought it would be probably five or six parts. And it wasn’t until we got pretty close to the introduction, we had handed over to our supply chain team who were looking at the economics and they came back and said ‘yeah, about half the parts, we’re going to print’.”
HP announced its new Jet Fusion 3D 4200 printer and Jet Fusion 3D 3200 printer earlier this year. The 4200 is expected to be available at the end of this year, while the 3200 will ship in 2017.
HP’s entry into the market is expected to help boost the 3D printing industry, as well as help improve HP’s fortunes after several years of revenue declines.
The company is targeting prototyping and manufacturing markets, rather than the consumer desktop space.
Source: The Guardian