Bambu Lab 3D Printers Expand to the UK with New Reseller

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Bambu Lab´s Carbon P1P and X1 Carbon 3D printers have been quite a shock to the desktop additive manufacturing (AM) system. I’ve heard of companies buying these systems instead of others that cost five times the price. I’ve learned of print farms, universities, large enterprises, and ordinary consumers turning to Bambu Lab for their machines. Now, the company has been signing up resellers. Bambu Lab still sells directly through its website, but now has resellers based in Thailand, South Korea, South Africa and the Netherlands. The latest is U.K.-based Additive-X, which brings Bambu Lab’s total resellers to 26.

“We are thrilled to have Additive-X as our partner in the UK. Their reputation for delivering high-quality additive manufacturing solutions and excellent customer service make them an ideal partner. We believe that our X1 Series and the P1P, paired with the expertise and service from Additive-X, will provide UK customers with an unparalleled 3D printing experience,” said Cedric Mallet, director of Business Development for Bambu Lab.

As we’ve detailed before, these machines have ushered in a new paradigm and will prompt other similar printers to follow. Indeed, the first similar systems are emerging and we can assume that these machines will forever alter the market. With a software suite, software-based vibration reduction, and high reliability, repeatability, and yield, these printers deliver on performance and price. From $700 to $1,500, they’re affordable and outperform a lot of the pack in terms of speed, quality, and surface finish.

I am normally not a fanboy of much of anything, but, in this case, my enthusiasm stems from real world performance and feedback. The systems are far from perfect and long-term reliability and quality are doubtful, but we will have to see about that. Support and service has been spotty and the company will have to solve this. So far, however, these systems could open up the market to new entrants and supplant a lot of the existing desktop market. Even if they ultimately disappoint, Bambu Lab has changed what people expect from a desktop 3D printer.

Additive-X itself sells Markforged, Ultimaker, Formlabs, and 3DGence machines. Another reseller in the Netherlands, Layers, sells Ultimaker, Formlabs and HP. Bambu’s New Zealand reseller also sells Ultimaker and Formlabs, as does this Mexican partner. The pairings are hardly a coincidence and it’s safe to say that the Bambu team is focused on those that already offer professional printers. Or perhaps they outsourced their due diligence to established and admired brands—not a bad strategy by the way.

Not all the resellers are from the pro segment, though. Bambu’s Norwegian partner sells Anycubic, Artillery, and Creality. 3DBotX in Israel this offers similar machines, while this reseller in Indonesia provides a ton of different printers, as does this Australian one, which sells systems ranging from Phrozen to WASP.

Some resellers are clearly the leaders in their countries, while others have tiny portfolios. Bambu is represented by multiple Mexican and Thai firms, but there is only one listed for the U.S., MicroCenter, a computer, electronics and Apple retailer with 25 locations. A few have very slick websites, while others are stuck in an e-commerce time warp. Some sites are geared towards businesses while others are very consumer oriented.

Why Resellers?

Bambu Lab has a successful Kickstarter under its belt and an engaging website. Why would it forgo margin and opt for resellers? Generally, with resellers, you can generate extra cash that you would have otherwise missed. A client walking into a showroom or shopping online for filament can be converted into a 3D printer buyer. Resellers can buy in bulk and continually improve your cashflow position, as well. Conserving cash is very important to fast growing companies and startups in general. It is tricky to export products into a country like Brazil and local language support in Danish may be a difficult to accomplish for a Chinese startup.

Resellers also enable parallel growth and market penetration. It may take you months to hire someone in Europe and set up a logistics hub there. Meanwhile, you can have some stock in the region thanks to your resellers’ efforts. Likewise, it may take you a long time to train up and find the right support staff, while resellers can offer informal support now.

DJI

In my dusty local department store, DJI has the only drones for sale. They’re in almost every electronics store, a lot of online drone shops and other retailers, on Amazon, and available through its the company’s own online stores. DJI is everywhere and is winning in consumer drones like few other companies. Because a lot of Bambu Lab’s key team members are ex-DJI, I think that is guiding the firm’s channel strategy. It wants to be everywhere, just like DJI.

Now, this is good news for people wanting to stock Bambu Lab machines, since big box stores and more online retailers could be let in to be resellers. At the same time, the club of 26 is almost sure to grow, meaning less exclusivity for them. I’m fascinated by Bambu Lab. For all the skeptics, I know that the company has also made mistakes and they’re far from perfect machines. However, our market was growing slowly with glacial progress in good $5,000 printers and gradual improvement of $200 printers, with stasis in between. Bambu changed this and, now, more firms are more ambitious as to what a desktop 3D printer has to be. That will ultimately benefit us all.

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