jimc wrote:On the promotional side of things just keep in mind that this whole project is backed and partially run by bre pettis and jenny lawton. Both of which are know for smoke and mirrors, empty promises and marketing hype. Not saying this cutter is another makerbot. Just want to make everyone aware so they are on their toes.
emphatically! And while I'm sure they might
start shipping a handful of units in December 2015, I'm going to be shocked if most people see their units before late next year. There are always issues with gearing up production, the inevitable miscommunications with the Chinese manufacturers, quality control issues (which i sincerely
hope they are on top of), and a whole lot of other teething issues.
It's always risky to get in at the start of a "new" thing that has the potential for mushroom growth. I participated in the launch and development of a couple of machines, from the prototype testing, the fine tuning, through the manufacturing, the release, the explosive sales that no one was expecting, the rush to catch up with the documentation, the training of end users who had no idea what they were doing, the software bugs, the quality control and product returns......... And this one for the laser cutter is going to be a HUGE
mess to start with. Because of the high demand - all
of that is going to happen at once.
(Okay I'm actually laughing at myself now because I had forgotten all of that and i swore at the time i would never
put myself through that again....and here i am. Jumping right smack into the start of things......again
The one thing they do have going for them is that it is established technology that has been around for a while. It was the same with the craft cutters - they were nothing more than re-purposed vinyl cutters that had been used in the sign-making industry for years. So the machines themselves were very stable, even if we were making them do something they weren't designed to do originally. How they were used had to be rethought, based on what we were making them do, and new software was needed, to make it easy enough for the general public to use. But the machines themselves didn't cause a lot of trouble.
If this laser cutter thing follows the same pattern, and finally catches on with the public, you can expect the first couple of years to be kind of quiet while they work out the kinks, then it's going to literally explode as more competing laser manufacturers jump in to grab a piece of the pie. They will all essentially be the same machine, there will be slight differences in the bells and whistles software-wise, but the basic principles will remain the same across the machines. Eventually, the machines that don't work as well will shake out, and the ones that remain, in a much reduced capacity, will be the well-built ones that are easy for the public to use. (So there will be other opportunities to get into this down the road, and probably a lot
It is fun to watch a "new" industry kick off though, and if i can manage to keep out of it personally this time, I'm looking forward to it.
What interested me about this one, as opposed to the others already available, is that it looks like they have thought out some of the "user-interface" issues and plan to keep control of them. That actually is going to make it easier to sell, and make it a lot easier from a quality control standpoint. (If they need to run through a software update, they just have to do it once, since they control the software, and if they need to roll it back because it's got a couple hundred bugs they didn't anticipate, they can just do it without having to talk every end user through the process.)
I also want to see how good that software is - it caught my interest. (I can just about guarantee I will test its limits very thoroughly.
We'll see what happens. I wouldn't race to get into this one if you are at all hesitant about it. It's still got some serious shaking out to do.
(And as soon as the 3D printing industry hits that point - watch out. Not there yet. Needs to be scaled down first and made much easier for Joe Q. Public to use. People aren't lazy or stupid, but most don't have time for the learning curve needed to use these machines. Figure out a way to mechanize it, create drop in cartridges that print out pre-designed items in their colors of choice, and in the size they want, drop the price of the printers, and then make a fortune selling the cartridges of files, the plastic, and the branded accessories. As a business model.....it works. Most people don't want to spend hours designing and tinkering - they want a cool gumball machine.