As 3D printing technology continues to evolve and the printers themselves increase in number, many ancillary products needed to support the industry have seen a surge in demand. US based Media Supply is a company that has seen several generations of technological development within its inventory of accessories during the past 25 years of operations. The company’s origins are in selling 2D printers that were specifically designed for printing and applying labels to floppy discs, however, a quarter of a century on sees the latest additions to its product catalogue include 3D printer filament and other accessories.
Media Supply’s initial 3DP offering includes a selection of different coloured filaments as well as extruder nozzles and glass build platforms for Afinia 3D printers. Customers can also order basic tools for calibrating personal 3D printers and removing support elements from printed parts. The very inclusion of these items in the catalogue of a renowned printing supplies specialist suggests that there is a sufficient critical mass of people owning a variety of different desktop 3D printers to warrant carrying stock for 3D printing supplies, which is in and of itself a notable development.
Larger manufacturers of 3D printers have already anticipated the importance of supplying materials and services together with their hardware, and have adopted this as part of their business model. This bundle of core products and subsequent supplies is often referred to as the “Razor-Razorblade Model” and it has proven to be very successful for large manufacturers like 3D Systems, which generates a significant portion of its revenue from material sales to its existing 3D printer customer base.
It is interesting to see that independent companies, like Media Supply, are now entering this market segment to serve the growing number of 3D printer owners, it is highly likely that others will follow. Equally interesting, we think, will be to observe whether it will take another 25 years to see if the current filament & tool supplies feel as distant as floppy disc labels today!