Filament Market Promising for Vendors & Users: Aleph Objects Takes on Another New Materials Partner, filabits
Aleph Objects, Inc. is creating a world unto itself for those who own LulzBot 3D printers. Centered around the RepRap concept of open source and freedom–terms that pop up almost constantly with Aleph–they are steadily providing their customers with a wide range of valuable options in materials.
Accessibility is one of the main keys to allowing the 3D printing community to expand in every way, and every direction, and the Aleph Objects team is undeniably on a mission to provide that.
Because both the LulzBot TAZ 5 and LulzBot Mini have virtually unlimited potential with materials, Aleph Objects has had the freedom to work with a number of suppliers and create a variety of strong connections with filament manufacturers. And today they’ve announced an exclusive partnership with a very unique company, filabits, LLC. The LulzBot lineup will now be the exclusive 3D printers of filabits.
Offering exactly what their name suggests, filabits offers a great service in allowing users to purchase bits of filament. True to the creative spirit, they allow users the latitude to experiment affordably with small batch materials from companies like NinjaTek, taulman 3D, Proto-pasta, and many more. What users will find most exciting is that for what they might normally pay for one reel of filament, they can now try more than a dozen different materials through filabits. Dabbling is encouraged!
“We are truly excited about our new partnership with Aleph Objects (LulzBot). Not only are their printers regarded as top-shelf, but their focus on Libre Innovation and Open Source Hardware meshes perfectly with Filabits’ desire to bring accessibility to printing materials,” notes Corey Schlichter, President of Filabits. “To have an adaptable machine suitable for any task will be crucial as we explore new flavors of filament that come along.”
A ‘dramatic increase’ in 3mm filament sales for the LulzBot lineup precipitated this partnership, as the company reports that unit sales are up by 3.75x year-over-year, while HIPS and specialty filament have grown to nearly half of the company’s filament sales in 2015 through Q3.
“Thanks to years of trail blazing by RepRap developers and hackers, the filament market has achieved critical mass. There are now many companies pioneering new premium materials compatible with open source hardware,” explains Harris Kenny, Vice President of Marketing at Aleph Objects. “Filabits is a valuable resource for anyone looking to enjoy this new era in the rapidly growing 3D printing industry and we are thrilled to be partnering with them.”
With their hardware certainly going strong in the form of the TAZ 5 and the LulzBot Mini, Aleph Objects is reporting ‘a fundamental shift in the materials segment of the desktop 3D printing industry.’ They see filament sales as fleshing out their revenues nicely in the future, especially due to ‘the high reliability of 3mm filament and robustness of the LulzBot platform,’ all of which allows for users to do a great deal of ‘dabbling’ and innovating with new and alternative materials.
Current data is as follows, according to the company: For Aleph Objects, the company’s share (in units) of HIPS and specialty filament has grown from 0% in 2012 up to 48% in 2015 (through Q3). Their unit sales of 3mm filament have grown 3.75x year-over-year, thanks to the company’s industry-leading partners like ChromaStrand, Eastman Chemical Company, eSUN, NinjaTek, taulman 3D, Proto-pasta, and CC-Products.
As we also very recently reported, Aleph Objects announced a new partnership earlier this week with Netherlands-based colorFabb to support additional natural, metal, and co-polyester specialty materials in the form of bambooFill, bronzeFill, copperFill, and woodFill.
While this may be a business model from which some companies differ today, there is a reason why Colorado-based Aleph Objects was just listed by 3D Hubs in the top five for the ‘Manufacturer Loyalty’ category in 3D Printing Trends 2015. For LulzBot owners, they have a true and dedicated mission–to see that they have and enjoy the freedom to explore and innovate, learn, improve, and share. Discuss this partnership in the filabits / Aleph Objects forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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