What is going on with Hatchbox availability?

5/11/18 Update  Printed Solid is now offering our own brand of PLA!  We call it Daily PLA.  You can find 1.75mm here and 2.85mm here.  We are starting out with only five colors, but will have more soon.

 

Original Article:

TL;DR Printed Solid is no longer carrying Hatchbox.  When the existing inventory is gone, it will not be replaced.  We are working on some alternatives. 

For now, colorFabb economy and Materio3D (find them both at printedsolid.com/economy) are our most comparable offerings in terms of price, quality, and color selection.  We expect to have announcements around several other standard grade material offerings in the next few months. 


Mid 2013 - Printed Solid starts selling filament

One of the core pillars that I founded Printed Solid's filament business on was the concept that there are 3D Printing filaments out there that are higher quality and have better mechanical performance than others.  You might call me a filament snob, and you'd probably be accurate. 

For the first three years of our existence as a company, these were the only filaments we we dealt in.  We had only the best materials and the companies that are the best at making these materials.  These are companies like Polymaker, Proto-Pasta, colorFabb, Taulman3D, Ninjatek, etc that make higher end and specialty materials.  A bit pricier, yes, but you are getting special performance for the extra spend.  Some people might use these types of materials for all of their printing, but for most, they would use these brands and materials for special projects and use a cheaper / lower quality material for daily use and throw away prototyping.  As an engineer with a primary interest in materials, this was just fine with me; Printed Solid would be your go to for special requirements.

Mid 2016 - The Printed Solid showroom is opened

When we transitioned from being purely an online business to being a business with more of a local presence with our showroom opening in May 2016, it became apparent that we needed to add a lower cost material for our local customers who were just running  prints that didn't need anything special.  Just a plain, decent quality material, that would print reasonably well.  I found that people loved to come in and talk about 3D Printing, but that they sometimes found it frustrating that they couldn't come in to just pick up a plain material for their daily printing.

Early 2017 - Enter Hatchbox  

We started working with Hatchbox in January 2017.  We had a great inside sales rep there who made sure that we were always well taken care of, and as such, we were always able to have most colors in stock.  Occasionally, we had quality complaints (brittleness, color variation, etc) but they generally exceeded my expectations for a Chinese manufactured filament at that price point.  

Fast forward to the end of 2017.  We received notification that our inside sales rep had left the company.  Maybe it was coincidence, but every order that we tried to place after that was out of stock.  Her replacement seemed to try his best to find materials, but generally we could not buy enough to meet demand, and the most popular colors were never all available at once.  

In a fairly short period of time, Hatchbox became one of our better selling materials on the website and of course in the showroom.  Many of our customers looked to us as a main source of this material for their 3D Printing hobby, and, in many, cases cottage businesses.  This was frustrating to us.  I'm sure it was frustrating to you too, and I apologize for that.  

Spring 2018 - The official Hatchbox exit

As many of you have seen on /r/3DPrinting, Hatchbox sent out letters announcing that they were discontinuing their wholesale program.  While I am happy for their success, it is unfortunate that they were not able to ramp up production to meet their demand.  

So, what are we doing about it?  

Well, we have a few good alternatives already.  colorFabb Economy PLA and PETG has been a great one.  While colors are a bit limited, the quality it higher and the cost isn't far off.  We've added Polymaker Polylite in 2.85mm and expect to add it in 1.75 soon.  Then finally, we have Materio3D850.  This is a slightly more expensive, higher grade PLA, but it is priced reasonably and offers many color choices.  

There will be more announcements for economy grade filaments in the next few months.  We have been evaluating different options all year and should be making announcements on a few great ones very soon.  




Matthew Gorton
Matthew Gorton

Author

Matthew Gorton is the founder of printedsolid.com. He is a mechanical / materials engineer by education and has worked as a design, process and quality engineer in the medical, electronics, and aerospace industries. He is enthusiastic about applying all he has learned through these experiences to 3D printing and sharing that with others.



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