Interesting article and conversation. Thanks, Rick. I think HP could redeem themselves for the customer gouging on ink cartridges by making a plastic recycler to go with a 3D printer, like the FilaMaker. Imagine the convenience of putting a soda bottle back into reuse as material for the next tchotchke. (I'm sure that's complicated.)
By startup time, I meant they won't have the latency in material deposition that a filament machine would, as it needs to do a retract to keep from drooling liquid plastic. Yes, numbers would be nice, but then that spoils their market disruption - let's just sit back and watch to see if there is still the innovation and quality we knew from their pre-Carly-the Destroyer R&D days. If I'm right about using their piezo tech (there is a liquid piezo 3D printer out there, though it's an industrial beast - I'll assume HP will target upscale consumer and engineering/designers/medical), it'll make all but the immersion machines look like hammers and chisels.
@Genius EE: Excellent insights. Can you quantify (I love numbers) the kind of start up time or positional accuracy (or other features) they could deliver. What numbers do they need to hit to rise above the fray?
Adjustable layer thickness for starters. Position resolution is another. Ability to print finer geometry support structures. Zero ooze and instant start vs waiting for the extruder to start working. No heat distortion/shrinkage. Tons of benefits and inkjet and viscosity chemistry is their strength. Arguably, they just need z axis on existing mechanism, which is easy peasy with a movable platen; a platen the doesn't need heat.
Disagree. Being late to the party means they have to turn all assumptions on their ear. My bet is that it'll be a polymer that's dispensed by piezo cartridge, likely UV cured per layer. This is where their strengths are.
Just a guess, but PLA and ABS weedtrimmer line has been done to death.
I believe that this is in the early growth stage, where you see huge percentage increases but not yet huge volume numbers. This is where Gartner and others will extrapolate the percentage increases to get the hockey-chart graphs that show a market bigger than the population of the planet within a few years. That cynicism aside, I do think that this market will grow nicely over the next few years, and it seems like HP could be a very viable player in it.
FWIW at an event last week I ran into a new 3-D printer maker out of the Netherlands called LeapFrog. They claim faster, finer printing for sub-$2,000 , 12.4 liter max volume, 0.05 mm positioning accuracy, just opened a US office.
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