One thing about the 3D printing industry is that it moves very quickly. It is dynamic, and there are constantly new technologies coming out every 6 to 18 months. So, as new developments and technologies come up, the 3D printing industry is making old technologies obsolete. This is especially true with FDM printers, which is what we use here at Slant 3D. After nearly 4 years of operating the World's Largest Print Farm, we have a learned a few things about mass production 3D printing, and the bottom line is, printing farms CANNOT use third party machines. The reason for this is that after about 18 months, your entire infrastructure will be obsolete and need to be replaced. This could be a huge issue if you have hundreds, if not thousands, of machines. So, it is extremely important, for a company that manufactures 3D printed parts, to build their own internal machines.
This is why Slant 3D designed the Mason 3D Printer. This printer was originally designed as a production 3D printer, so we were able to create a machine that: 1) didn't go obsolete in a few years, and 2) allowed us to update the machines, rather than replace them, as technologies evolved. Another big reason we designed the Mason, is because there isn't really a third party machine out there that has been designed for mass production 3D printing. So, it was virtually impossible for us to find a machine that was optimized to fulfill the demand of printing thousands of parts at a time. The reason being, most third party 3D printers are designed for consumer use. These printers have a lot of the bells and whistles that make them convenient and user-friendly, however, they lack any of the optimizations or concessions that you need for mass production. They are designed around the trends of consumer sentiment, which is very detrimental because trends typically become outdated very quickly. Once a product becomes outdated, the designer usually dumps it and moves on to the next trendy thing.
Simply put, there is no way for a mass production print farm to operate and be profitable while using third party 3D printers. The margins just aren't large enough to be able to afford replacing machinery every few years. So that is why Slant 3D decided to build our own machines and why we strongly recommend, to anyone that is seriously looking to start a print farm, to do the same.