By October 24, 2013. 3D Printers, Business, Featured, News

HP’s CEO Meg Whitman recently made a breakthrough, potentially paradigm changing announcement at the Canalys Channels Forum in Bangkok: “We are excited about 3D printing… we want to lead this business. HP Labs is looking at it…” HP plans to enter the 3D printer market in the middle of 2014, said Whitman. I have been speculating about this since I was a young man. And that increasingly feels like a long time ago…

As part of its ongoing RAGNAROK (Research on Advancing Glass & Non-organic Applications to Recreate Objects & Kinetics) 2012 project, HP Labs is looking at glass as a potential candidate for use in 3D printing. HP first ventured into the 3D printing space through an early partnership with Stratasys, which was created in 2010 to produce HP-branded 3D printers akin to the uPrint. The partnership ended in 2012, but HP’s R&D team has, unsurprisingly, continued to explore the many possibilities of 3D printing.

To quote myself last year at dimensionext: “HP has had some involvement with 3D Printers, in that it had an arrangement with Stratasys to resell HP-labelled uPrint 3D Printers, but only in Europe. It was kind of a strange test, that on the surface seemed to founder. This year [2012] it was announced that the two companies were terminating this agreement at the end of 2012. There are two possible conclusions. First, one could suggest that HP didn’t do very well in this market and thus decided to exit the market before taking more losses. The second possible conclusion is that HP used the Stratasys arrangement as a kind of experiment to learn more about the technology before launching its own venture.”


Whitman added that she does not expect 3D printing to become a big business very quickly. “3D printing is in its infancy.These businesses go along, get a little traction, go along, get a little more traction, then hit the knee of the curve.” Whitman expects 3D printing to reach its inflection point in three years. No further details about what kind of 3D printing product HP is developing were revealed, but Whitman said it will be a ‘new technology’. And this new technology will be shown off in mid-2014.

We’ll be waiting and watching….

  • Kevin Quigley

    HP made U Print successful. They expanded the VAR network, they offered warranties that covered everything and supported the machines centrally. And they reduced the price. First thing Stratasys did when taking back U Print was increased the price of machine and consumables, and returned warranty support to the VAR.

    So companies that were reselling HP printers with warranties were suddenly selling Stratasys U Prints and having to sort out how the hell they could offer warranty support. For the established 3D printer suppliers this was no issue, but for the new breed of ex HP dealers, whose main market was graphics plotters and printers, it was a serious issue.

    The rumour going around at the time when HP and Stratasys split was that Stratasys wanted HP to buy them, but HP turned around and said no thanks, we’ll do our own thing. Then Stratasys merged with Objet.

    If HP launch a product into the £3k to £10k market, I would buy it.

  • BillD

    There are so many established companies in professional 3-D printing that I suspect HP won’t make much of a dent. If they’re targeting the consumer market, we might see a different situation. An entry-level HP 3-D printer could go a long way toward putting these printers in a lot of households. The only way I could see them failing in the consumer market is if they price supplies at the same insane levels that 3DSystems is pricing the cartridges for the CubeX line. No consumer wants to pay $100 for a refill cartridge on something they plan to play with a lot.

    • Bill, much supposition in my proposition here, but I’m anticipating HP entering mid and high range prosumer home desktop 3DP, low and mid range professional.

      3D Print Shops will be the target of HP’s low and mid range professional and the main earner for them for the next half-to whole decade. 2014 will see supermarkets spread public consciousness of 3DP. 2015 may be the real breakthrough year for home 3DP – the public are cautious, the mass media hype & anti-hype ridden, the 3DP gun story has done damage to public opinion in the developed world.

      Regarding the pricing trends we are seeing for the CubeX and increasingly MakerBot for the high range prosumer (personally, I’m now classing USD$99 – 500 as low, $500 – $2000 as mid, $2000+ as high… price have dropped a LOT over the past year…) reusable filament refills for FDM may be a burgeoning market 2015 – 2020 as the filamaker / filabot / etc. upcycling and recycling tech progresses.

      The key is new technologies and patent expirations. The now widely reported expiration of SLS patents will have no impact on the home prosumer market below $10,000 for half to a whole decade. It will however impact mid to high professional, and explode in the industrial market. Home Stereolithography will progress.

      HP may purchase a few existing companies 2015-2016 that are compatible with their brand image: Mcor for example. Desktop paper 3D printing has a market that is yet to be accessed.

      As I say though, much supposition in my proposition here.

  • Balint Szent-Miklosy


    It’s not to late to develop this technology, though it was first submitted to Meg Whitman, no contract has yet been signed.

    Every laser printer deposits and fuses a layer of ink onto a page that is easily felt with the fingertips and is, in fact, printing in the third dimension.

    The Dust to Dust Printer takes things a step farther. Since paper is a 3 dimensional object, the Dust to Dust Printer also prints the paper.

    Starting with nanoparticles, when printing is called for, the user decides the size, shape and thickness of the paper. The designated size and shape of the desired paper is fused at the top layer of nanoparticle dust in the bin to form a sheet of “paper,” using laser or a chemical reaction that creates a continuous sheet we recognize as paper. At normal room temperature the paper looks and feels like regular paper that can be printed on.

    The printer uses a toner with high iron content.

    The second stage of the Dust to Dust Printer is that one can put the waste “paper” back into the system for reuse. Input, as if into a shredder, the paper disintegrates at a low temperature, back into its dust stage. The metalized ink is magnetically separated and sent back to the toner bin while the paper dust is collected and sent into its own hopper. Paper clips and staples are also separated and ejected.

    The system is the ultimate in green technology. It is self reinforcing, with the more paper/ink recycled the more printing can be done.