The revenue numbers are a big disappointment because the printers were supposed to follow the time tested and much beloved razor blade model with most of the sales coming from resin filament. The markup on the filament in most cases is a holy grail level 1000% – 2000%. The fact that 3D systems, the pioneer of additive manufacturing, couldn’t make this work is bad news for the industry as a whole.The machines do go through a lot of filament.
Before a single elephant can be printed, though, somebody has to produce the master data file. Getting this right is not trivial, as several model railroaders who have experimented with the technology have informed me. That might be where the money is. "One business model for 3D printing that seems to be working isn’t selling the devices but making and selling the final product." That is, the rapid prototyping company sells snippets of its learning curve to clients, at a price less burdensome than the expense involved in do-it-yourself.