Solido, true to its word, unveiled its new pricing structure for the Solido SD300 Pro 3D printer at SolidWorks World 2010 yesterday. It is not quite the watershed price that some would have liked to have seen, but it is certainly well below the $5000 benchmark that Desktop Factory was aiming for this time last year. At $2950 Solido seems to be making the right noises to draw a crowd and has, on the face of it, laid down the gauntlet to the rest of the market.
There is a sting in the tail though, unfortunately. That price is for the machine only! The full Value Pack, which includes the printer, 8 (XY) cuttings knives, 4 magnetic pads, 24 modelling kits (modeling material, glue cartridge and anti-glue cassette), SDView software, a 12 month warranty and 12 months free software upgrade and hotline support, costs $14,950.
Not quite the leap forward that is needed to prompt new users to give this a go.
There is not a huge amount of 'chat' going on about this either, which is generally a good indicator of impact for an announcement like this. There was more said pre-announcement than post. Compare the couple of mumblings (including my own) about the actual Solido news with the tirade of commentary that followed the Stratasys/HP announcement a couple of weeks ago.
I do think that Solido has a sound product that produces good models, however, regrettably, I think the company has missed an opportunity here at a key time in the history of 3D Printing, and that this is more PR stunt than a real effort to broaden the 3D printing user community.
I understand how a product has to be commercially viable, it needs to make money. That's a given, that's business. That said, I don't know how much of a margin is involved here, although I could probably make an educated guess. But while Solido is effectively an SME, it has some powerful backers and I believe it would have been in the company's long term interests to take a bolder stand.
[NB: I have absolutely no commercial / financial interests in Solido or associated companies.]