On 5th April 2016 MakerBot announced that it had set a record in selling of 3D printers in the world. During seven years it sold over 100 000 devices. It’s the only one company which has set this kind of record. What’s interesting, in January 2014, the former CEO of the company – Bre Pettis informed about selling of 44 thousand of 3D printers, so during 3 years doubled this score. The question is – is it a great record?
MakerBot is one of the oldest existing companies, producing low-budget 3D printers. It was established in 2009 in Brooklyn, New York by three Americans – Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer and Zach Smith, which was one of the symbols of an open-source movements, and its devices like: Cupcake, Thing-O-Matic and Replicator set the standards of creating of 3D printers in the world.
After 3 years Pettis transformed from an activist into an excellent businessman, ended up the projects of all of his devices, because of what he was called “a traitor”. The cluminating moment was a sale of the company in May 2013 to a 3D printing industry giant – Stratasys, what was an end of the dynamic development of its start-up. It started an era of traditional corporation model.
After that it launched a miserable smart extruder, Pettis was delegated to Bold Machines and after 2 years from selling of the company, of which he was a co-founder, he left it forever and backed out of the 3D printing industry. Ay present, the company is in hands of a talented manager, which an impressive business experience – Jonathan Jaglom, who effectively restructures and reforms MakerBot, what makes MakeBot a perfect addition to its mother company’s offer – Stratasys, specialising in production of professional machines.
Now we are getting to the point. 100 000 of sold 3D printers – is it a huge number? If we consider industrial machines – yes. The hindrance is that MakerBot and low-budget 3D printers aren’t industrial machines. They aren’t office devices and product of daily use. So, what exactly are they? Devices supporting production? Devices for designers and R&D specialists? Or rather low-budget 3D printers?
I compared selling of 3D printers with selling of smartphones, but it doesn’t make any sense. They are totally different devices and have totally different receivers. MakerBot sold over 100 000 3D printers during 7 years and Huawei – the third biggest producer of smartphones in the world, over 100 mln devices only last year. You could compare 3D printers with CNC mills, but it could be exceeded, because despite everything, the second group is used in industry on a grand scale.
Eventually, you should admire MakerBot, although you should behave distantly. You should also know, that at the end of last year XYZPrinting – a current leader in selling of 3D printers, is going to sell 120-150 thousand devices. If it’s true, the joy of MakerBot won’t last long.