re: "If it can be done then someone else probably already did it, so buy their solution."
I kind of think that much of what engineers do is reinvent the wheel. In fact, I don't think technology can really advance if we don't spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel. I like my kelvar belted radial tires with grippy all-season tread.
Ok, so you have shown that there are a small percentage of products that fail, but then I could counter your point with the fact that there are a larger percentage of products that succeed. So the point you have made is negated. Just to start, I will list a few that have become successes: Red Pitaya, Peble Smart Watch, Arduino Screwblock Proto Shield, Hexairbot, Oculus Rift, etc. These are just the ones that I can name off the top of my head without doing any web searches.
Though back to the point of debate, please show me on 3D printers that I listed will cost $1000 to make but the vendor will sell them for $300. This is an important part of debate and learning. Substantiating your point. I have no problem having a difference of opinion, but in order to convince me of your point, you will need to do so with specific, applicable analysis and substantiation. I would estimate that to do this properly that it would actually be around 400-800 words. The gauntlet is laid down my friend, I hope you accept the challenge and help us learn by a more thorough analysis.
I would be interested in hearing where you are getting your numbers are from as far as costs. What are your assumptions? Volume? Profit margin? I cannot think of any small companies that would be able to have ~$3.5 million in orders and be able to essentially suffer a ~$17 million loss. In order to do so, this group would have needed to have some pretty heavy VC investing as well as a business plan that somehow locks in users long term to recoup that investment. So far, I see the exact opposite. This group is pursuing a high volume, low profit margin plan. There is no Amazon Kindle effect here.
Once again, I am not trying to be rude, but at the same time, your claims are not passing the initial smell test do to lack of supporting details in your analysis. There is a lot to learn from people, and perhaps you have certain experiences that can be shared. So far though, you have manifest unsupported claims without any real substantiation.
There were others that I saw just doing a quick google search. I know that there are even SLA machines that can be had (which are usually more expensive than FDM) for under the $800 mark you mentioned.
Your viewpoint is interesting, though somewhat counterproductive to learning and advancement. For example, the people that are making 3D printers for under $300 decided to buck this trend. At first did they succeed in a low cost device, no, but it cost less than the alternatives.
I am not trying to be rude in my response, but there are times that you can actually do better because you are optimizing for a different solution. The solution you mentione uses feeders. Each one of these feeders adds significant cost due to increased need of hardware and control to the solution. The other issue is that these are designed to have much larger build areas. This once again increases cost and complexity.
This is not to say that we will be successful (me being assigned away from home for the last two months without access to the tools and desktop computer is really hampering my progress, but that is soon to be over). Even if we are not successful, we will be able to post information about each of the parts that goes into a device like this. Focusing on both the electronics as well as the mechanical integration. This to me is just as valuable as having the end result. I can say that my participation in this project so far has already brought significant learning and I have been able to meet people that I would not have before learned.
Just buy a chinese one for 2 or 3K. like in the video below.
No way are you going to design one for under that price.
Even the cheapest of the cheap limited 3-D printers go for 800 bucks or so and this is way more complicated than a 3d printer. If it can be done then someone else probably already did it, so buy their solution.
Your story is very interesting. I would be interested to hear some of the design concepts that you were looking at for your machine. It is interesting to see what is trending on the poll right now. There seems to be a neck and neck race for either a machine that can do 4"x 4" boards and and 8"x 8". Can you share more about what you guys were doing?