Over the last few years, we’ve seen the price of 3D printers drop dramatically as key patents expire or the cost of components decrease. They still cost quite a bit of money, however, as much of the manufacturing and labor takes place in the U.S. Now Asian rivals, complete with cheaper labor costs, are trying to muscle their way into the market.
New Kinpo Group, an electronics manufacturer out of Taiwan, has announced its first 3D printer – the da Vinci. It’s very similar to the Makerbot Replicator 2 and even has a similar build volume of 20x20x20 cm. Here are the full specs:
The da Vinci’s similarity to the Makerbot Replicator 2 is no accident. In fact, New Kinpo Group explicitly called out Makerbot as its main rival and vowed to sell 100,000 units in 2014. If successful, it will beat out Makerbot in global sales of 3D printers.
To beat Makerbot, the da Vinci is going to have be pretty affordable. Well, it certainly is that as the da Vinci only costs $499 in Taiwan and will remain at that price when it launches in the U.S. early next year. It also has a few more models in the works that will add even more functionality over what Makerbot currently offers at a price cheaper than the Replicator 2’s price tag of $1,299.
While Kinpo may be the first Asian 3D printer manufacturer with global ambitions, it is not the first. As we move into 2014 and onward, expect to see more Asian electronics firms getting into 3D printing. These devices will be far cheaper than their American rivals and may help to get desktop 3D printers into even more homes. The only question now is whether or not these Asian-made 3D printers will be able to offer the same build quality as their American counterparts while keeping prices low.