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HP Promises to Improve 3D Printing This June

Chances are you've owned an HP printer at some point in your life. If not, you definitely know someone who has. The company is one of the biggest players in the hardcopy peripherals market, and printers account for a huge chunk of HP's revenue. Last year, it accounted for 40 percent of the market and was number one worldwide. Now, it looks like the company has set its sights on 3D printing.

HP today confirmed plans to enter the 3D printing market later this year. The news was confirmed in a meeting with shareholders. Meg Whitman, president and CEO of HP, said the company is 'hot on the case of 3D printing' and said the company would have a big announcement in June. While the news that a name as big as HP is about to throw its hat into the 3D printer ring is significant in and of itself, there's something more exciting behind this announcement.

Forbes reports that Whitman, while discussing 3D printing with shareholders, said that watching 3D printing in progress is akin to watching ice melt. In other words, it's slow and therefore not very interesting. Ms. Whitman also pointed out that there's room for improvement when it comes to the quality of 3D-printed objects. So why is HP getting into a business that still has so far to go before it can be considered suitable for mainstream consumption? Because its CEO reckons the company has solved those problems.

It might take a while for HP's technological feats to trickle down to the consumer (the company is going to focus on the enterprise market first), the fact that a big name like HP is willing to put its money where its mouth is and enter the 3D printing market is a fantastic sign for 3D printing and for those who dream of 3D printing goods in their own home without breaking the bank.

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  • InvalidError
    How much are the DRM-infested ABS/PET/etc. wire spools going to cost?
    Reply
  • Shankovich
    Can't wait, this will definitely be a huge step in consumer level adaptation. The Toronto Reference Library got two MakerBot 2's and I got to try them out printing airfoils. Not exactly accurate enough, but wow I was impressed! I really want to get a printer soon.
    Reply
  • Menigmand
    Wow, that face looks so lifelike. 3D printing really has come a long way
    Reply
  • Shin-san
    Hopefully the drivers won't be as insane as the ones for the 2D printers
    Reply
  • chomlee
    They will probably come out with something much cheaper than the current mainstream which will allow people to get into 3D printing without too much money upfront. They will probably improve the speed considerably. The catch? There system will use a custom cartridge that will cost about 20x what the current spool cost is and the size of the part that you can print will be very limited in size.
    Reply
  • ethanolson
    I'm guessing they have a way of sideloading blocks of material into the printhead so they can lay down more material faster than anybody else. They may also have a cooling or drying mechanism that lets the printhead move a lot faster.
    Reply
  • freshmango90
    But there's already a lot of 3D printing out there like Makerbot. What are we exactly expecting in this HP 3D printer? Makerbot, after buying all the supplies, they last forever. Printing costs range from 0.01 cent to 40 cents, with accuracy of 0.01 mm... I wonder what HP printer has to offer?
    Reply
  • damric
    The printer ink still costs more than the printer!!!
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    Damric, buy aftermarket ink on Ebay or refill them at Costco :). Not sure if such a market will exist for 3d printer materials!
    Reply
  • freshmango90
    Danwat1234 -- if it's similar to Makerbot, "printer ink" is a bit expensive but LAST LONG!
    Reply