In the past, domestic 3D printing has been avoided due to the high costs of both the resources needed for the product itself and the machine to manufacture the product, two problems of which the Dreambox 3D Print Vending Machine solves instantly.
The creators of the Dreambox, Ricard Berwick, Will Drevno and David Pastewka came up with the idea for a 3D printing vending machine after realising that there wasn’t an available 3D printer on their university campus.
When they actually located one, they were instantly disappointed with the waiting times of over a month, which then sparked the great idea for the Dreambox 3D Print Vending Machine.
Essentially the Dreambox 3D Print Vending Machine is the local library version of a domestic 3D printing machine. The name may be a little deceptive, as it’s not your typical vending machine that pumps out sugary goodness at 60p a pop. Users will upload their product via a website and tell their local designated Dreambox 3D Print Vending Machine to print their product.
After a short delay, the Dreambox will then process the order and place the finished product into one of its storage lockers underneath the display panel if one is freely available, if not the order will not process until one locker has been freed by a previous customer collecting their order. Once the item has been printed, the customer will receive a text alerting them it’s printed and provide them with a uniquely generated code which will then be used to unlock the locker, giving them their product. Amazing right?
Currently the pricing per product is around the £6 mark due to the limitations it faces in regards to the materials it can currently print in. While it only currently supports Bioplastic Models, in the future the creators of the Dreambox 3D Print Vending Machine aim to have it printing user requested models from wood, different metals, a large variations of plastics, nylon and even ABS (an engineering plastic)!
One of the issues that users may face with this is the types of products they can create. Due to the material limitations, where by the products can only currently be 3D printed in PLS (the bioplastic), certain aspects of products may come out of the Dreambox with certain flaws such as their endurance levels and feeling more like a Prototype Product themselves than the end product. This could do one of two things for the creators:
- Limit the number of customers they are currently attracting. As 3D printing is not the standard domestically, only tech-savvy people currently have a passion for it (stereotypically). This could mean that their marketing campaigns aren’t reaching a wide enough audience and an otherwise brilliant idea will flop due to the low demand.
- The flaws possibly experienced in the first generation end products may deter users from using the Dreambox 3D Print Vending Machine again in the future. As we all know, when a friend recommends a product, you are more likely to purchase it than if you were to hear of it on your own. That level of person bias can make or break a startup, especially something such as the Dreambox due to the non-standardization of 3D printing globally. If the products being printed come out defected or damaged, regardless of how low the prices are, users may warn their friends, family and internet users to avoid the Dreambox and stick to another service.
This in itself could again limit the number of users that the creators of the Dreambox have access to and may find themselves pumping more money into their marketing campaigns once future generations of the Dreambox are released to claim back their lost customers.
A side not on the above two points is from general business knowledge. It’s believed that a business in any industry will lose between 10-30% of their current customer base per year, meaning that marketing campaigns have to be ran consistently to avoid the downfall of said business. The restriction that the Dreambox creators face in regards to their target market is that of awareness. How much do their current audience know about 3D printing and will they see the need for Dreambox’s existence?
This being said, the Dreambox is an incredible idea. Perhaps 3D printing in itself hasn’t become the norm due to high prices globally, but the Dreambox will smash through that blockade and set the industry standard for pricing. As with all new technologies, the creators will generally be unaware of the pricing required. This is typically for newer business owners, of which the creators of the Dreambox are.
We may see that the Dreambox follows the same route as the Apple iPhone but in a different context. When Apple released their first model iPhone, they were entering the market without any knowledge. Their product became an instant success and set the industry standard for smartphones everywhere. The fact that they were the first company to diversify their product range into Smartphones and become a success allowed them to price their products with premium prices, which evidently isn’t the case here with the Dreambox, but it somewhat is. Confused? Sorry about that, let me explain.
Apple were able to set the industry pricing by becoming an instant success. Their new technology was unknown to the end user, which meant they had no idea how much they were expecting to pay for it. If Dreambox followed a more humble route along the same road, they may end up setting the global pricing for quickly available 3D Printing at a Low Price. They will prove it’s possible with their product, which will then further prompt competing companies to drop their prices to stay current with their markets.
Unfortunately the Dreambox 3D Print Vending Machine is only in the prototype phase of its development, but the creators have assured us that the user end models will be available across the US in the not too distant future!
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