QU-BD of Little Rock Makes 3-D Printing Accessible

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 12:00 am  

“That was what really launched us into 3-D printing,” he said. “Now we carry parts for all major 3-D printing companies out there.”

In 2013, QU-BD took the next step by taking orders for its own brand of 3-D printers.

“We’d learned a lot from our customers,” Myers said. “What’s working well, what’s not working well, what areas need improvement.”

He said the solution was a printer that could be bought cheaply, so customers could decide if they wanted to get further into the field or not.

The One Up and Two Up printers soon debuted during QU-BD’s second Kickstarter campaign. The printers retailed for $199 and $279. The One-Up can create objects up to a 4-inch volume, and the Two-Up has a 7-inch build volume.

Now QU-BD also sells 6-inch and 9-inch volume printers under its Revolution line that retail for $1,000 and $1,300. Additionally, the company makes a $1,999 model that can perform light-duty milling of metal materials.

By comparison, the new professional-grade iD3 inDimension 12 printer can create a 12-inch object and costs about $4,000. The upcoming Makerbot Replicator Mini, billed as a starter machine, costs $1,375 and can create an object that’s 10 inches by 10 inches by 12 inches.

QU-BD raised about $413,000 on its One Up campaign, and has since been shipping the printer and its big brother to customers around the globe.

Challenges

The One Up can be sold so cheaply partly because its build speed is fairly slow, but mainly because it arrives as a kit. But this business model comes with deep customer service issues, as the printers have a long path to travel between being shipped from Little Rock to becoming a fully functioning device in a customer’s house.

On the One Up’s Kickstarter page, alongside positive reviews, some backers have reported that they’ve received broken parts or their printer wasn’t working.

Many customers report their printers don’t work when, Myers said, often they are not using the machines correctly. “If you input the wrong temperature, the extruder won’t work,” he said. “It will either burn the plastic or the plastic won’t melt.”

 

 

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