Jun 2, 2015 | By Simon

Although we’ve seen a large amount of young hardware startups try their hand in the 3D printer market - thanks in no small part to crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter - we’ve also been seeing an increase in larger tech companies entering the additive manufacturing industry with their own 3D printer offerings as well in the past couple of years.

Among other companies who have made significant efforts towards either creating their own 3D printers or supporting 3D printing in their product ecosystems include Autodesk, HP and Microsoft.  

While Autodesk has announced their Ember 3D printer and their Spark Platform for making it easier for companies to adding the 3D printing experience into their existing products, HP has announced plans to release an industrial-sized 3D printer within the next two years that will utilize their revolutionary Multi Jet Fusion technology and Microsoft has announced that their Windows 10 platform will make it easier than ever to create 3D prints directly within various software applications.  Now, Lenovo wants to get in on the 3D printing action and just last week announced their own plans to enter the additive manufacturing industry.  

In what will be a new brand under the Lenovo brand, ShenQi will allow for the company to explore product development in emerging markets such as those connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as those that encourage consumer manufacturing - such as 3D printers.  

The company presented their new brand and products at their very first Lenovo Tech World Conference in the company’s home capital of Beijing, China on May 28th.   

Among other announcements, the company’s 3D printers were perhaps the more exciting - particularly because the company announced that they would enable chefs and makers the ability to 3D print with Chocolate.  

ShenQi 3D food printer

While this certainly isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a 3D printer that is capable of 3D printing with chocolate, it is the first offering that we’ve seen from a large corporation (aside from 3D Systems) who has the budget to develop the technology into a consumer-friendly product with a consumer-friendly price tag.  

In total the company showed off four 3D printers at the event including the ShenQi 3D food printer, the ShenQi da Vinci Junior 1.0, the ShenQi da Vinci 1.0 AiO all-in-one 3D printer plus scanner and the ShenQi Nobel 1.0.  

If the 3D printer name “da Vinci” sounds familiar to you, that’s because the tech giant partnered with the original da Vinci creator - XYZPrinting - earlier this year to develop and sell the 3D printers through FM365, a Lenovo subsidiary.

“The plan is to sell the product through an online platform, managing forums, social media platforms, and e-marketing to increase followers and boost active interactions between FM365 and fan,” said a sales manager from XYZPrinting.   

“XYZprinting believes this concept of selling in China is the right direction – and by leveraging Lenovo’s customers base, as well as brand influences, they are able to garner additional attention from the retail market.”

While the ShenQi da Vinci Junior 1.0 is designed to be an “affordable” option for 3D printing beginners and is capable of 3D printing using biodegradable 3D printing materials, the ShenQi da Vinci 1.0 AiO all-in-one 3D printer plus scanner is aimed at the higher-end market that is looking for an all-in-one scan and print solution.  Finally, the ShenQi Nobel 1.0 is an SLA-based offering for those looking for higher resolution 3D prints and is comparable to the Form 1+ from FormLabs or the Ember from Autodesk.  The prices for the 3D printers will range from 2799 Yuan (US$452) to 24999 Yuan (US$4,033).    

ShenQi da Vinci Junior 1.0

ShenQi da Vinci 1.0 AiO all-in-one 3D printer plus scanner

ShenQi Nobel 1.0


While the 3D printers were among the most interesting products on display at the conference, the company also showed off some other products that they had been working on including a pair of smart shoes that could track the number of calories burned by an individual over the course of a workout, new smart watches and smartphones with embedded projectors for sharing content with others.

While the brand has previously become known for their notebooks, tablets and smartphones, the addition of these ‘conceptual’ smart products and 3D printers seems like a natural progression when considering what consumers are interested in these days and actually use on a daily basis.

“Lenovo has a unique position in our industry because we can deliver the devices, smart connectivity and infrastructure required to create a great user experience and satisfy real user needs,” said Lenovo’s Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing.

“We will bring together hardware, software and services to transform the user experience. This is our vision, and we showed some glimpses of the next wave of Lenovo innovation here today.”

The company didn’t state when they would be sending their 3D printers into production, however it’s clear that the company will be coming from a high place if they plan to put the products on the market; while many hardware startups have difficulty getting their name out there, Lenovo already has supply chains and relationships with retail giants that would make it easy for them to distribute the 3D printers to major big-box stores and retailers.  

Either way, one thing is clear: the future of 3D printing is about to get a lot more interesting. 



Posted in 3D Printers


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