January’s consumer electronics trade fair CES in Las Vegas is one of the largest events of its kind in the world. For several years the place guests companies from 3D printing industry, and CES hosts many premieres of new 3D printers and all kinds of peripherals. The biggest show concerning 3D printing took part in 2014, when 3D Systems presented a new series of Cubify 3D printers (Cube 3 and Cube Pro) as well as stunning ChefJet and CocoJet who were able to 3D print from chocolate and sugar respectively. What’s more, Cubify biggest rival – MakerBot (with Bre Pettis still as its CEO) showed fantastic line of Replicators 5th generation. For both companies that was the absolute peak of popularity, and presented solutions had given a new direction for the development of 3D printing technology.
I remember that when in January 2014 I published reports and summaries of those events at CES, I was extremely excited about the opportunities they will give us. Today we know that most of these announcements and promises made by Avi Reichental and Bre Pettis didn’t have any true coverage. When announced 3D printers finally went on sale – they did not work as it should, and some of the solutions did not went on the market at all. Despite several attempts the great project called “a 3D printer at every home” become a great fiasco, its architects – Reichental and Pettis are already outside their parent companies, and both 3D Systems and Makerbot change strategies focusing exclusively on industrial and manufacturing sectors.
On the wave of these events and the total change of the strategy that company have chosen after Jonathan Jaglom become its CEO, for the first time in many years the CES fair we will be bereft of MakerBot’s booth. This does not mean that we won’t see a Replicator at the event in Las Vegas – the fair will be attended by Stratasys – the owner of Makerbot brand, but the decision not to expose it separetely there is symbolic.
Makerbot eventually changes its current policy focusing on the educational sector and small business, and its position in consumer segment is slowly overtaken by Taiwanese XYZPrinting, which – as we earlier reported, became the largest supplier of 3D printers in the world.