Aus3D Mark2 – Two Months On

We’ve now been shipping Mark2 kits for two months. It’s been fun seeing our kits released out into the wild, and we really appreciate everyone who has given our printers a try – thank you! We’ve made a few changes, and would like to explain why.

We offer a lot of different upgrade options on the Mark2 printers, and over the last two months we’ve noticed a few things. Out of all the upgrades available, there are three¬†in particular that a vast majority of people have been buying – those being the LCD upgrade, and the heated¬†bed glass and insulation upgrades.

The Upgrades

For the LCD Control Panel ($79.95), we’ve been seeing an attachment rate of over 85%. The LCD Control Panel does make the printer easier to use, it allows for adjustments during a print, makes configuration faster, and allows for instant feedback on the printer’s status. It’s understandable why a lot of people would consider it an essential feature.

We weren’t originally offering the glass plate ($24.95) as an upgrade – we’ve only had it available for the past few weeks, alongside an additional upgrade for a wooden bed insulator. Considering only the time in which the glass has been available, we’ve been seeing an attachment rate of over 77% – it’s been a pretty popular upgrade. The glass plate ensures the bed is flatter, provides a good print surface without the need for re-applying Kapton tape frequently, and makes it easier to remove prints afterwards. It’s an upfront cost that makes each print a bit easier, so again we can understand the popularity of this upgrade.

A lot of people have been interested in the wooden insulator upgrade ($24.95) for the heated bed too – since introducing it alongside the glass, we’ve seen over 60% of orders include this upgrade. The wooden insulator allows the heated bed to heat up faster and reach higher temperatures – making the Mark2 suitable for printing those trickier materials that require high temperatures.

The Change

Most people are buying these upgrades – we’re here, including them with more kits than not, and we can’t help but do a little thinking. These upgrades are popular, and they significantly expand the capabilities of the Mark2 printer. We want to be offering the best quality for your dollar, and if most people feel that they need to spend more to make that true, then we’ve done something wrong.

Overall, the cost for these three upgrades is $129.85. This brings the total cost of one of our printers up from $899 to $1028.85. We’ve decided that we’re going to include these three upgrades in the base model, at a revised price of $999.

By making these upgrades the norm, we can save ourselves a bit of time and money in the kitting process. We’re directly passing those savings on in the lower overall price, and from the attachment numbers we’ve been seeing this means that more of you guys – our customers – will be saving money from this move than not.

There’s another reason that we’ve been considering this move – we’re worried that the different upgrade options may be fragmenting the Mark2 user base, and that’s not something we want. The LCD Control Panel makes it possible to tweak some settings mid-print that you can’t otherwise – if someone asks us for help troubleshooting, we have different procedures depending on whether or not they have this upgrade. If someone is having trouble with their prints sticking, we need to ask if they’re using Kapton tape or glass. Often, our solution to a problem with the Kapton is to upgrade to the glass. These small differences are a sign that we’ve not been doing the best job at delivering a consistent experience, and this move is intended to fix that going forward.

By standardising around a set of features, we can offer better support and a better overall product.

We realise that raising the base price is probably not going to be the most popular move – our printers were $899, and now they’re $999. We didn’t make this change lightly, and we’ve only done it in response to the numbers we’ve seen and the feedback we’ve heard.

We think this is our best bet to deliver a better quality experience at a better overall price. As always, we’re open to any and all feedback – leave a comment or send us an email if you’d like – if people think this is a mistake, we’ll reevaluate and see what the other options are.

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