Jan 6, 2016 | By Alec
Regular readers will have noticed that the prospects for the 3D printing industry are overwhelmingly positive, with some experts even predicting that the market for 3D printers will double in size over the coming year. Unfortunately, every success story has a darker side to it, and today one of the pillars of the 3D printing community has revealed that they are calling it quits – in part because of how volatile and chaotic the market has become. As they have just revealed in a statement on their website, RepRap Professional, the British father of the open source 3D printing community, will close down and will cease trading on Friday 15 January 2016.
This is truly unfortunate, as RepRapPro’s founder Adrian Bowyer was also the main catalyst behind the global RepRap 3D printing movement and the low-cost 3D printing revolution that we are all benefitting from. Starting out with a basic project a decade ago, Bowyer envisioned open source replicating prototyping machines that could start a making revolution and would grow and improve alongside their human owners. Ideally, it would lead to a situation where everyone could manufacture whatever they want – even the machine used for manufacturing. Fast forward ten years, and this dream has inspired a very large international community where 3D printable designs are shared freely and 3D printers themselves are becoming more affordable on a weekly basis.
Most 3D printing businesses are morally indebted to RepRapPro in some way or another, but ironically that collective success is partly the reason why RepRapPro is now closing its doors. “The market for low-cost 3D printers is now so crowded and so competitive that a small specialist company like ours cannot expand. So, because we are not bankrupt and we do not have any debts to pay, we have chosen to stop now while we are ahead and to concentrate on other activities,” they announce on their website. While unfortunate, they can obviously look back on a fantastic adventure and more onwards debt-free. There are worse ways to go.
So what does this mean? First of all, there’s no need to worry for those of you who are currently engaged in business with RepRapPro. “We will service all support and warranty requests up to that date, and fulfill all our outstanding orders,” they say, adding that RepRapPro China will continue their work as it’s a separate (though affiliated) company. Furthermore, all their open source work will still be available in their future. “All our designs, software source-code and documentation are freely available online on our website and on Github. All that information will continue to be available into the future,” they add, leaving megabytes of data for the rest of us to benefit from.
Nevertheless, RepRapPro can now look back on a fantastic legacy as one of the most important initiatives in the 3D printing world and in 21rst century manufacturing as a whole. We will doubtlessly see more of them in projects in the near future.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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RepRapper wrote at 1/10/2016 8:15:37 PM:
Really this is tragic.... it's thanks to the BIG companies like BQ (Spain) and all the copycats using OpenSource designs and importing copied designs from China that are the real culprits...
NB wrote at 1/10/2016 6:27:49 AM:
I followed it from the begining. It was an awfull machine (darwin) which did week and rough plastic parts. Then the quality began to improve to the point that I saw potential in it. Then as an engineer I thought that I could make a far better job at designing a better machine. I'm not the only one engineer and they all think they can do better than the others. Now even with a great machine design it is lost in a market filled of all kind of 3d printers. It was a fantastic proof of concept. It started everything. It empowered people to do more and do better. This job is done, the fire started and continue to grow. Thanks
Jeff wrote at 1/7/2016 10:40:28 PM:
I would like to say for every "Chris" there are Ten of Us who had only positive experiences from this company's products and great service ! They Will be missed. Huxley,Ormerod2(100)and Fisher Beta.
Ioan wrote at 1/7/2016 5:28:43 AM:
This is sad but somehow predictable.
Chris wrote at 1/6/2016 10:31:30 PM:
I really hate to say this. My first 3d printer was a printrbot (wooden one) Which worked fine. So I saved up and got a RepRapPro Ormerod from RS as my second more profesional 3d printer. All I can say was it was a desaster. I have a HND in electronic engineering and a deg in computing and I run my own successfull company. And the instructions, Build quailty, Parts and customer services were appauling. Even down to the sd cards falling apart before the box arrived. The design had not been tested and the 3d printed parts just failed. The instructions were not available for 3 months after I got kit. I understand that this was a hobby turned company BUT you really have to get your products right before shipping or/and give support. Been back with printrbot since and difference is huge. Yes they had good intentions but not doing basic testing will loose you a LOT of customers.