Felixrobotix, the Dutch company behind the open source Felix 3D printer, has decided to open up a base of operations in the United States. Locating themselves in the greater Silicon Valley area in Fremont, California, the US branch, Felixusa, is up and ready and they’ve already begun selling the company’s newest 3D printer, Felix 3.0.
Felixusa is meant, not only as a retailer of Felix machines and spare parts, but as an R&D hub and customer service space for local customers. As the company provides customer support to guide members of their community through the building process, trouble shooting, and printing, the Fremont location serves as a means to serve US customers more readily. And, by basing their US location in the Silicon Valley area, it’s possible that they may, one day, establish itself as one of the go-to brands for local tech employees.
The US branch has already begun selling the Felix 3.0. The previous iteration of the Felix was deemed by Make Magazine, in their last issue of their “Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing, as a “Surprise Hit of 2014”, but, as Felix puts it, “they didn’t see [their] new FELIX 3.0 yet.” The Felix 3.0 offers the same open source foundation as earlier versions, but has a larger print area and, its manufacturer boasts, higher accuracy. This new machine has a build volume of 10″x 8″ x 9-1/4″ (255, 205, 235 mm), with minimum layer heights of 50 microns on the XY axes and 10 microns on the Z axis. Felix has also been upgraded with a heated bed and customers have the option of purchasing dual extruders and an LCD screen.
The Felix 3.0 3D printer is available fully-assembled and calibrated starting at $1,850 or as a DIY kit starting at $1,400. Customers wishing to purchase a base model will be able to get their hands on upgrades, like the dual extruder and LCD screen later on. And any 3D printable upgrades will be available for free to be 3D printed on the customer’s own machines. You can see the assembled Felix 3.0, according to the company, 3D printing straight out of the box without any tweaking or added calibration:
To me, it seems almost necessary for 3D printer manufacturers to provide in-person customer service to consumers, as desktop 3D printers can be finicky machines. While experienced Makers may be able to navigate the problems that arise in 3D printing, users unaccustomed to the learning curve of their new home “appliance”, may need help from experienced experts. With a base in California, Felix has begun to open its products up to US consumers who would have otherwise had to deal with time zone differences and Skype calls that may not have always left them happy. Local customers can now turn to their neighborhood Felix shop for questions and repairs. Next, it’s possible that they may have to find a way to help their customers outside of the immediate vicinity.