3D printer filament spools priced at only US$10/kg?
Gabe Bentz at Slant 3D last week announced a plan to eventually offer high quality 3D printer filament at only US$10 per 1kg spool, a price far below typical market prices.
How are they able to do it? Bentz explains the plan in detail in this recent video:
The project seems to be an offshoot of prior work. Slant 3D is a manufacturing service, as their customers request quantities of parts to be produced on their large 3D print farm.
As an operator of a large 3D print farm, Slant 3D requires a rather large amount of filament to handle their orders, and that’s an opportunity to save costs by buying in bulk. However, the company wanted to do better and months ago attempted to produce their own filament.
This was successful for internal use, but they realized that they’d always have to purchase more material than needed: they have to meet customer orders, so there’s always leftovers.
They decided to spin this excess material into filament spools and sell them to the public at a low cost. Because of the nature of the situation, this was done as a batch from time to time. Nevertheless, some were able to score low-cost spools from the company.
After doing this for several months Bentz realized this could be a larger business opportunity. The company then developed what they’re calling their “Evil Filament Plan”, which goes something like this:
- 2023 May: “Should we do it?” Test filament process and demand
- 2023 June: “Get Machinery” Obtain additional extruder to make consumer filament
- 2023 August: “Verify Machinery” Run tests, fix. Bugs
- 2023 September: “Be Crystal Clear” Release crystal clear PLA at US$20
- 2023 October: “Black Out” Release black PLA at US$20
- 2024 January: “Scale Up” Consistent production of black, clear, gray and white filaments
- 2024 February: “Get Smarter” Change PLA source to reduce cost to US$15
- 2024 August: “Change Everything” Release 2kg spool to reduce cost to US$14/kg
- 2024 September: “Reduce Shipping Cost” Add equipment and new location to reduce cost to US$13/kg
- 2025 February: “Change Everything 2” Launch PETG at US$10/kg
Slant 3D is using a number of powerful manufacturing steps to achieve this result, as you will hear in the video. For example, by focusing on clear material, they don’t have to worry about color matching at all. For most folks, color doesn’t matter anyway.
It seems they will also offer a subscription service that allows people to plug into the batch-oriented production sequence. That should be of interest to those requiring larger amounts of filament for production purposes.
This is a fascinating venture by Slant 3D and if they can achieve their pricing goals, the filament market will be notably shaken.
Via Slant 3D