Makerworld as a income?

Yesterday I went back through a video that caught my eye the day before yesterday. One sequence was about Makerworld and the only thing that came to mind was where the heck is that shopping button so I don’t have to print it.

Yesterday it went through my head as a joke, today over a coffee I realized how serious the idea may is.

  1. Bambulab has a global network in 3D Printing - thus a short mile short delivery routes to the end customer. Tagged Fillament, Registered Users…

  2. The biggest problem for manufacturers, product developers and designers is the supply chain to the end customer.

  3. Many 3D printing hobbists still see 3D as a hobby and not as income - as a color-changing figure maker that can also be sold. What happens when hobbists actually see 3D printing as an income?

  4. Blockstack is the next expected development stage of the Internet (after crypto currencies). So shouldn’t call Jack Ma call Dr. Call Tao ones in a lifetime? This may will be even more interesting than the entire Alibaba Group?

They do not own the printers. People do. I for example would never sell stuff like this. Way too much work, you need all the packing materials, your prices would be 100% controlled by an external entity. Maybe some people would do it, but how many? How reliable would this be?

Which perfectly works with my previous point. You as the designer would have limited influence on the print. Sure, you can give the print profiles, etc. but we are already at a point where we have 3 completely different machines, with different requirements. You could not guarantee, that P1 and A1 owners use the correct plate, you might have drafts that cause the part to warp while printing, you do not know the wear of the printer.
Heck, in the end, people could even just get the QR codes from the BBL filament and use the cheapest one to maximize the profits.

You have no influence over the QC, which is a big red flag for a manufacturer.

How much money do you think you can make? Lets assume you are right, a lot of people switch. Now you are competing against a global network. The prices will drop massively. In the end you might make a few USD / Euro per part you sell. Is that really worth the time to set up the print, your wear and tear on the machine, the trip to the postal office to ship?
You would have to store all possible extra filament, that an order might require. You might have to get additional AMS, you would have to have all the spare parts, in case something might happen to your machine. It is more work than you might imagine.

Well crypto isnt doing to well at the moment. If it will ever reach broad market acceptance is yet to be seen, and at least I think, quite unlikely. Digital currencies, like the electronic Euro, have much better chances as they are state backed. Sure it is a disadvantage for the true Crypto supporters, but 99,9% do not care.

This is just for small plastic parts. You are missing 90% of the other components for most products. Yes, some people might like building their own stuff, but, once again, 99,9% do not want to do it.

I do not see the potential. You would have a ton of small companies trying to sell their machine time, while even having to share some of the potential profit with the market site. They will not have the scale like larger print farms, you have now all over the world. If you want it cheap, you go to China. JLCPCB for example offers it at damn good rates. If you want it fast, you go to a local shop.
They all run dozens of machines. They have the economy of scale, much lower overhead, no third party to share profits with.

I think it can work, for a selected market segment, but it will not be as big as you think. Neither the owners of the machines, nor BBL will make that much money.

Well Christian,

Just from my point of view, which doesn’t always have to be true

I know more than 3 X1C printers in my village - Why do you still want to pack it? Why do you still want to send it?

Of course the printer belongs to the people and not Bambulab - if I only bought from people or companies that made everything themselves…Even the largest manufacturers do not have all the machines needed to completely manufacture their product. I have a product myself that is sold in my company with 6 suppliers, final product liability insurance through my own company… getting a product into the box is a lot of work. Even distributors in a small market like Switzerland, even there are companies with departments with more than 1000 employees who only handle packaging desing and product descriptions…

Of course, product liability will be an issue. But this is precisely where Bambulab can provide support as they supply everything from the system, machine how print up to the filament - and for the Manufacture issues, there are depending on the region and country, Exceptions where private liability insurance grants exceptions to commercial income for small sales - but everyone has to clarify this for themselves.

Your prices would be 100% controlled by an external entity - Dynamic price offers? They already use CRM on the EU store and can give the customer the best shipping offer. You can also let quality be included in dynamic price creation. Pricing depend on manufacturer and User on the page… and which manufacturer still has price control directly to the end customer?

QC - by customer claims. Do Alibaba or Amazon have control of the QC of the shipped Products? And if the printing is done by someone from my village, how much more QC do you want? If someone has to look me in the eye, they usually try a lot harder.

There can also be different clearances - Bambulab knows who has an A1 and who has an X1C. If the printer is not running online, they even know how, which filament is in it and with an X1C they even know which plate is on (Lidar).

How much money do you make? My printer is in the basement with a lead AMS. 1. walk in the basement 2. pickt the part from the plate 3. new plate through the front door for the next print 4. to the front door when the doorbell rings - even at 250 USD an hour we can get there by 10 USD… But every housewife / househusband can do that with an X1C (even if is it the printer of the married partner).

You are missing 90% of the other components - How much does Alibaba contribute to the world’s every gross national product? Do you know how much sales a Nestle, for example, makes? How big do you estimate the global sales of parts that could actually be produced using 3D printing? How many more products can Alibaba sell because the shipping costs for the entire product are too high? Small non-printable components through Alibaba, the weight comes from next door? IKEA assembly as an keyword… Even IKEA spare parts deliveries would then be an issue. So is Alibaba really bigger than 3D printing parts deliveries? Do you know what you pay for a square meter of storage space including shipping when outsourced? How much can you earn as a local manufacturer with this - that’s a good question…

Of course, it’s just a thought game at the moment