HP's Whitman: Our 3D printers will be faster, higher quality

HP's Whitman: Our 3D printers will be faster, higher quality

Summary: Meg Whitman said watching 3D print projects complete was "like watching ice melt" and the quality "isn't where it should be."


Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman dropped a small bomb on the 3D printer market and said that the company in June will outline enterprise systems that will create models and parts faster and with higher quality.

TechPro Research: 3D printing: A primer for business and technology professionals

Whitman was asked about HP's no show in 3D printing so far at the company's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday. She said HP was "hot on the case of 3D printing." Whitman said there has been a lot of hype in the market and that watching 3D print projects complete was "like watching ice melt" and the quality "isn't where it should be."

"We think we've solved both of those problems," said Whitman.

HP plans to outline its 3D printing plans in June with a tech announcement. Shares of Stratasys, ExOne and 3-D Systems took a hit on the news.

The move is expected and 3D printer players have been bulking up in anticipation of HP's move. Whitman said that HP will initially focus on the enterprise market, which will be much bigger than the consumer 3D printer opportunity.

"We're going to focus on the business side of 3D printing first. The bigger market will be the enterprise space for parts and prototypes," said Whitman.


Topics: Printers, Hewlett-Packard

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  • yes, I'm looking for an HP 3D50 cartridge

    Can't wait. Instead of bulk filament or pellets, the media will come in tiny proprietary cartridges that cost $50 for 1oz of plastic.
    • Get the new "XL" versions of their things

      Only $95 dollars for 2oz of plastic.

      A $5 savings!
  • Cost

    If the cost of the cartridges is not bad then I can see one in my future.
    Otherwise I can wait for a long time.
    I am fairly sure that I would only be printing thingies and nothing important at this time, but you never know, get one and find out it really is useful.
  • i hate your regular printers, why would I buy your 3d printer ?

    Hey Meg, why not start with making your regular printers higher quality ? After a series of several HP printers that I inevitably grew to hate, yet for some reason kept buying thinking "they must have worked out the bugs in the newer model" .... I switched to Canon and have been quite happy. Plus Canon customer service is in good old USA, which is so nice when you call with a problem and don't have to contend with a language barrier.
    • @ aklsdjfhaklsdfh

      If quality prints is really what you want, why don't you splurge a little and buy a Xerox Laser printer?

      I got a 6510 with network capability for less than $200 including shipping two years ago. I am very pleased with it. Of course you have to watch for these sales as they come only once in a lifetime, but once is all you need.
  • Doesn't HP just license other companies' technology?

    Aren't there standard printers just based on Canon technology? I used to think of HP as a product leader until I learned that they just license and assemble their products. And overcharge on ink.
  • You ain't seen nuthin' yet!

    Wait till Xerox(tm) gets into the race.

    Followed by Canon, Epson, Brother... or maybe they'll just let these startups do the heavy lifting, buy a successful company and proceed to drive their quality into the ground.
    • Xerox sold their 3D piece to 3D Systems

      ...about 4 months ago.
  • An HP 3D printer...

    The driver stack will take three hours to install, including a dozen startup services and applications you'll never use.

    The higher tier units will speak the 3D variants of PostScript and PCL, but the affordable ones won't.

    Tech support reps will instruct you to reformat your computer if there's a filament jam.

    "Head Cleaning" will never solve a problem, but will take ten feet of filament.

    Linux drivers will take three years to be released. Source code never will.

    Third generation units will have a screen that will offer to print you a new trinket every morning, even though no one will ever use it.

  • HP's Printers

    Whitman forgot to add 'and more expensive' as well. ROFL

    Their printers will be sooooooooo overpriced compared to cheaper alternatives that you'll have to 'rob a bank' just to replace the cartridges!
  • Seems everyone feels the same

    HP is a great company...to stay away from. 3D printing will have become mature when Brother starts offering a model. I hope some of the current small companies stay in business but I fear they will be run out of business or bought up and dismantled. Isn't the free market wonderful?
  • All talk/hype.

    No substance. Until you show your stuff, it's like the old story, I have some cheap swamp land in Albuquerque to sell you. :)
  • Focus on Corporate Printers = HP Fail

    HP will have to play a fair amount of catch up if they plan on focusing on the corporate world, especially with their "plans" to be announced in June (remember they said plans... not products, so in the IT world that means they're decades away from producing any product).

    Maybe they're re-focusing / re-entering the market a little late, just like most of their products which are practically obsolete when they hit the market???

    Meanwhile the desktop / home 3D Printers are getting better each day and are quite affordable along with the consumables. Even $2500 3D Printers can print large objects and with multiple colours. Even $1500 3D Printers can print some amazing things.

    Anyway, would like to hear other people's comments, so far it doesn't look like HP has too many fans based on other people's postings here!

    Sarcastically, does anyone actually buy any HP Products anymore? Corporate or Consumer?
    • enterprise scale

      I've been shopping around for these. Offerings valued below $5000 lacked resolution that I need for accurate reproductions. I consider that the consumer market, and enterprise more like $20k - $50k (and up for specialized applications)

      You're right: existing consumer competition is advancing wonderfully. I don't think HP is after that range, though.

      Aside, yes HP products (PC's and printers) are purchased at the corporation I work for. I avoid them, but then I don't make all purchase decisions. The only HP product line I cannot do without is their DesignJet line of roll-feed plotters, although I'm sure I could find viable alternatives if I cared to try.
    • We have finally had to let our HP printer go

      We had an all in one injet that served us well fo ryears, it finally had to be put to rest after it quit recognizing the color crtridge. We tried every simple thing to fix it, it was several years old, so we replaced it with a Cannon (price was great), the new one is wireless, where the old HP was wired, via my desktop, and with my desktop out of commisiion recently that would have made printing difficult. The power supply on the HP desktop failed after about 10 years and I replaced it this last week, and now it is back up and running. I have always thought of HP as a good printer manufacturer, and have had no real problems with the either that could be attributed to HP.
  • Empty Bluster

    Many here are familiar with HP. I do not appreciate their consumable costs either. However, only a couple of commenters seem familiar with existing 3D printing options.

    "Shares of Stratasys, ExOne and 3-D Systems took a hit on the news." I know about Stratasys and 3D Systems at least. They both have extensive patent portfolios developed over the past 30 years, and continue to innovate rapidly. I appreciate the new offering which prints wax models for use in lost wax casting process to cast the part in metal. HP, otoh, is late to the party and only has public visibility and brand recognition to its benefit.

    I will be truly amazed if they deliver on their promises, but then they haven't been adequately specific about materials, colors, processes, or any of the the technicalities that enable the whole thing. So far they've only made vague representations. Speed at expense of other material properties such as pliability, durability, variety (sugar, wax, chocolate, metals, biotech, pharma) or color will get them nowhere ahead of existing competition, but rather they seem to be announcing to consumers who don't even understand the real trend behind the hype.

    No, it's not as fast as the Replicator on Star Trek. Get over it.
  • I wonder how large the software package footprint will be...........

    Judging by their normal printer software we'll need a quantum shift in disk sizes before this becomes a reality
  • Errrr

    Can we take Whitman & HP to court if they aren't faster or of better quality? Should have the option to do so. After all, you can take a company to court for false advertising. Isn't this advertising?
  • Question for anybody familiar with 3d printing

    What are we looking at as far as tolerances go on a good 3d printer?
    I'm just wondering because it seems like a great way to make temporary dental crowns if it can function in the neighborhood of 30 microns.
    • Depends on cost & material, but probably

      I located some references for you but cannot link them for you directly here. 3dsystems.com -> Resources -> Information guides page currently has a PDF link on bottom right called 3d-printing-process-comparison-chart which details both layer thickness and recommended minimum feature size.
      I had another summary sheet with details on mid-range models, that has the exact info you're after - but it's at home so I can't reference it now. Other leading manufacturers will surely have similar information available with a little searching.

      Also, I recently learned that InvisAlign uses oral 3d scanners to design their corrective trays, and produces them using 3D Systems products (don't know which model nor process type). So it's entirely possible to achieve useful resolution (tolerances). This may be worth looking into more detail if you're interest is dental.