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What Future For Desktop 3D Printing? The Answer Is Sharebot 42

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The company presents its new Sharebot 42 desktop 3D printer, releases financial performance information and data, announces partnerships with Milan’s Politecnico University for new materials and with 3DZ for distribution.

The new 3D printing work year officially started and, like every year, Italian 3D printer manufacturer Sharebot is starting it off with a bang. The company just held a presentation in its Italian HQ where it announced its plans for the upcoming months, starting with its very own answer on the future of desktop 3D printing, the new Sharebot 42.

Sharebot 42-15
The new Sharebot 42

Sci-fi fans will immediately pick up on the reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where 42 is the ironic, ultimate answer to the meaning of life. Sharebot has made many cultural sci-fi references in the names it chooses for many of its projects (such as its previous generation 3D printer, the Sharebot NG, or its DLP 3D printer Voyager). And, of course, the underlying Star Trek reference for all of 3D printing: the atomic replicator.

Sharebot 42 Is Blowing in the Wind

Like all desktop 3D printing companies, Sharebot has been struggling with understanding exactly who will benefit from 3D low cost printers and thus who will buy them. While mass consumers are not yet ready for them, prosumers and professionals may be. 3D printer adopters need easy to use, reliable, repeatable, qualitative, open platforms. That is exactly what the company wants to provide with the 42.

Sharebot Presentation2The machine offers a full metal body for better stability, plug&play functionalities such as its self calibrating system for X, Y and Z axes, an interchangeable extruder that can be set at .4, .6 and .8 mm (for faster prints), and a filament sensor to pause the prints if the consumables run out. The machine also integrates several electronic improvements both on the outside and on the inside.

It has a 6” full color touch screen fo stand alone 360° management of all printing operations, with double USB (one for reading files and the other one for future hardware expansions and add ons). The all new, more powerful ARM internal electronic board also enable seamless operation from the wi-fi connected web interface and integrated on-board webcam.

3500 3D Printers Sold to Date

Sharebot Presentation8
Ambrogio Donghi, Sharebot’s co-founder and CEO, with the Sharebot 42

The event was also an opportunity for Sharebot to release important information on its financial performance over the past two years. The numbers show quite a healthy company, with €1.2 million in revenue in 2014 grown more than 33% to €1.8 million in 2015.  The company has sold an impressive 3,500 3D printers to date. It is also investing heavily in R&D, with both an SLS system (Snowhite) and a large size SLA 3D printer (Andromeda) in the works or in beta testing. The company now holds 6 patents and it is aiming to become an international leader in several segments of 3D printing.

Sharebot’s business is based on 20 resellers, 3 premium resellers, one flagship store (the Sharebot Store in Florence) and, now, one official distributor: 3DZ, which has six offices throughout Italy and more offices abroad. This contributes to Sharebot’s international presence, which has brought its machines in 15 countries through two international offices (in Spain and Germany) and a total of seven international resellers. Not bad for a company that was incorporated less than three years ago.

More materials and more questions

The conference also offered a backdrop to the launch of a new, ecologic filament called 3D-paper and developed in partnership with Next Materials, at Milan’s Politecnico. This new filament has a number of excellent properties. It comes from recycled materials, it is biodegradable, it dissolves in water, it hardens when heated, it is elastic and it can be colored.

All in all not a bad day for Sharebot and its partners. 42 may be the answer for now, but we are fairly sure that Sharebot is going to keep asking a lot more questions in the years to come.

*A big thanks to Andrea Pernarcic for the conference photos

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