Sunday, January 2, 2011

11 Predictions for 2011

1. By the end of 2011 the majority of Printed parts sold on Ebay will be of the Prusa instead of Sells Mendel variety.

2. Ultimaker will be released by Erik, and he will have found a solution for the latency issues of the bowden extruder, which will drastically improve the build quality of those style extruders (and paste extruders)

3. RAMPS by Ultimachine will continue it's improvement, and become the de facto of electronics for RepRap in 2011 as Gen3 by Makerbot was in 2010.  RAMPS will have HBP, Multi Extruder, Bluetooth, Print from SD, and be a SMD board.

4.  The wedge "Mendel" design will continue to be the mainstay of RepRap design though 2011 for FDM, but RepRap will officially add a pic-n-place either detla or arm based, and a "offical" CNC Router design.

5 The Makergear Prusa Kit will become the most popular "RepRap" kit, because Makergear is the only kit seller that does not rely on forums to do their Tech Support.  Relying on Forums/Wiki for tech support isn't community; it's just lazy/cheap if the seller is not active in that wiki/forum.

6. By the end of 2011 more 1.75 filiment will be sold than 3mm.

7. Makerbot will offer a commerical "plug and play" 3d printer in 2011.  It will retail between $3000 - $4000, and will use the Gen4 Electronics. I think Gen4 was not designed for Thing-o-Matic (it could have been run on Gen3 or Ramps just as easily).  Gen4 I think is the brain for that industrially manufactured non kit printer, and Thing-o-Matic is being used as a field test for those electronics.  I don't believe Makerwave  is dead yet.

8. Legal action will be threatened against Thingiverse some time in 2011 for distributing proprietarily designs.  It will make big news in the real world.

9. By the end of 2011 more of the "who is making what" photos on Thingiverse will be RepRap printed than Makerbot product printed.

10. Before the end of the year the average cost for the RP parts for a full sized 20x20cm print area Mendel will be $75 (with some being as cheap as $50), full "kits" will be available for $550, and fully integrated and tested RepRap will be avialbe for $750.

11.  Someone is going to offer an injection molded 3d printer before the end of the year.


  1. #3: Other than bluetooth, that seems likely.

    #4: There no reason not to use the wedge design for a CNC router/mill, and most of the home-built CNC mills use a gantry design that is almost the same cartesian bot, just optimized to be constructed from different materials. That being said, I've been playing with some non-wedge designs for future Reprap machines.

    #6: That would be surprising, and would require a lot of equipment to be replaced. The Mk4 and Reprap-style heater barrels would be fairly simple, but I don't expect to see a 1.75mm Mk5 hot end.

    #8: I hope this happens. Worst case scenario is a couple of Things get taken down, but the publicity would be great for the project.

    #10: I assume by "Mendel", you are including Prusa's design. I hope that by then, it will have a different name (I suggested naming it after Alfred Russel Wallace). The numbers sound about right, maybe a little high for the full kits, considering how many bearings have been removed from the design.

  2. There is already a Bluetooth moduel for Arduino so only would need to be implemented in firmware

    The 1.75 prediction has a lot to do with the fact I think more reprap will be sold this year tahn MB products. Everyone I have seen that has used 1.75 loves it

    I think Mendel is here to say for 3d printing.

  3. I wasn't saying that you couldn't add bluetooth, to the Reprap hardware, I'm saying that it would be a bad idea. The speed/latency of the current USB->Serial connection is already occasionally problematic; You do not want to try streaming gcode in real time over a wireless connection.

    OTOH, if we finally get it working with gcode stored on an SD card, it would be possible to load it onto the card over bluetooth. I'm still not convinced that it's practical, though.

    1.75mm filament has a lower theoretical maximum extrusion speed than 3mm, and I haven't heard of anyone using it on a reprap. Other than UP! and possibly some other commercial machines, I think only Makergear is working with the stuff, and their stuff has never been aimed primarily at Reprap rather than Makerbot hardware.

    Mendel's not going anywhere, but that doesn't mean there's no room for other historical biologists in the self-replicating stereolithography club.

  4. Makergear is quickly going over to being a whole lot more RepRap than it has been in the past. I think you will be suprised.

    Your right on the Blue Tooth, without SD it's not going to work.

  5. #5: "because Makergear is the only kit seller that does not rely on forums to do their Tech Support."

    Out of curiosity, what is the correct way to do Tech Support in your opinion?

    Best regards,

  6. By offering support though the company directly, or at the very least have have a public forum or IRC room where a company rep is there some of the time to help people out.

    I have seen more bad advice in Google Groups for the MB folks than I care to mention.

    Also I think it's important for any comapany selling a kit to not let themselves get 100s of emails behind in responding to customers, no matter how busy they are.

  7. I don't think having Bluetooth there by default is a good idea. With a slightly bigger buffer size, latency is no issue, and there is no need for firmware changes at all, which is why bluetooth is the perfect candidate for a "plug this module onto the serial pins and call it done" setup. It's a bad idea to integrate it into the board, as it would increase cost a lot and not be of benefit to a lot of users. Should really be an addon board.

  8. I plan to conquer the world with my powerful R2C2 electronics (50X times more actual Arduino based electronics):


  9. Casainho, I hope you do :)

    Still don't quite understand why we need a 50 fold increase in processing power to run 5 steppers, 2 heaters and process Cartesian points. :)

    But I am sure you will demonstrate something that's going to blow our minds with that board and make us all bow to your brilliance!

  10. I keep waiting for #8. I can't imagine it will take long. I am surprised it hasn't happened already.

  11. for #8 someone actually has to see something they consider actually encroaching on their market. as of this year... nope, not a thing on thingiverse is worthy of competing with ANYTHING commercially sold. IOW the cost of litigating isn't worth the outcome. Thingiverse isn't currently threatening the revenue stream of anyone but 3D printing companies - at this point anyway.

    we'll see though. I could be wrong... it's happened.

  12. Thingiverse got DMCA takedown notice for designs for Warhammer 40K game pieces. I think that counts.