Few will be happy to see RepRapPro go. With a host of rock ‘n roll quotes that could no doubt be applied here, we’ll just say that everyone appreciates a humble and graceful exit. No doubt, the team at RepRapPro Ltd. has had a long and interesting ride, from Adrian Bowyer’s role as a true revolutionary in technology, as the founder of the origins of the low-cost 3D printer, to the company’s continued–and dynamic–role in supporting the open source community.
With a press release that borders on dour but resigned, one must appreciate the simplicity of their statement which lets everyone know that they are closing, and the company will cease trading on January 15th.
“The market for low-cost 3D printers is now so crowded and so competitive that a small specialist company like ours cannot expand,” their press release continues to say. “So, because we are not bankrupt and we do not have any debts to pay, we have chosen to stop now while we are ahead and to concentrate on other activities.”
While many who have orders in may be in a semi-panic wondering what will happen, the company does state that they will be fulfilling all orders that are outstanding, as well as offering service, support, and warranty requests up until that date.
The UK-headquartered company, a collaboration between RepRap Limited and eMAKER Limited, leaves a legacy behind of open-source, free designs to be found online and mainly centralized on their website and github. Undoubtedly too, they leave behind a community of inspired makers who will continue their work. Bowyer began building this foundation over a decade ago from the University of Bath, creating an open-source initiative with the result being a 3D printer that could self-replicate, printing most of its own components and democratizing manufacturing as well as passing along incredibly self-sustainability and affordability to makers everywhere.
Partner Jean-Marc Giacalone is the founder of eMAKERshop, as well as the creator of the Huxley RepRap 3D printer. Along with Bowyer, he too was responsible for making significant contributions to bringing down the cost of and improving accessibility to 3D printing.
“The fact that, unusually for a former company, we will be able to leave megabytes of useful information available to everyone in perpetuity is due in part to the support from those people,” states the team on their website.
RepRapPro sold the Ormerod, Mendel, Huxley, and Fisher 3D printing kits–with the Fisher being their latest, released last May, as we reported. All of their kits were available to be shipped around the world. While some users have reported slow service and slow response from the company lately, RepRapPro certainly has contributed to leaving a community that now knows how to subsist on its own, with a range of other companies continuing their work and following their concepts, as well as many volunteers who are involved in the open-source format as well.
As 3D printers work away all over the world right now, many have the RepRap concept to thank, and their concepts will obviously be shared, literally, well into the future. As the team from RepRapPro disbands and moves onto other projects, they will certainly rest assured that makers all around the world are still making their own 3D printers and sharing. Let’s hear your thoughts on this news in the RepRapPro Closure forum on 3DPB.com.
The closure does not apply to RepRapPro China Ltd., a separate but somewhat connected company.
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