3D printing is one of the most interesting and flexible technologies to make its way into consumer hands. Printers are available in plenty of different price points to satiate the curiosity of beginners and enthusiasts, and people make some genuinely amazing things like this 3D printed PC gaming handheld.
Sadly, the accessibility for 3D printers may be about to take a small dive as according to 3D Natives, retail giant Amazon is set to ban the sale of 3D printers from its storefront, to make room for its own range of 3D printing options. A quick search on the website shows dozens of brands, all of which will be given the boot to make room for Amazon’s own stock.
Given the sheer size of Amazon’s reach, this is a pretty blatant muscling move towards removing the competition. Though it’s likely many will still sell on other platforms, this move could be a huge problem for many manufacturers.
While they’re not necessarily amazing machines to work on, competition is what helped bring so many of these machines down to these affordable price points. It will be interesting to see how these smaller 3D printing companies fare as the change takes place.
Of course even more questions can be levelled towards Amazon’s new range of 3D printing options. Not much is known yet, but it seems the company is aiming to make a printer under $100 USD which will be a very cheap printer indeed.
If Amazon was interested in playing nice with the other brands it could have been a very interesting entry to the market. However, given the market share the Amazon platform may deliver for these exclusive machines, the company doesn’t seem too interested in fuelling competition and innovation.
That being said, a sub $100 reliable 3D printer is very welcome to the market. So many of the cheaper machines are just too difficult and fiddly to use, especially for beginners just wanting to have a play. When even simple prints can take all day, there’s nothing worse than having to reset a cheap machine.
I hate to admit it, but if Amazon’s 3D printers are any good they may become one of the better supported budget machines around. I wonder if we’ll be able to buy them from anywhere other than Amazon.