Interview with BQ: How to democratize 3D printing?
BQ are a well-known 3D printer manufacturer hailing from Spain that produce a number of popular printers. Perhaps the most popular of their range of BQ 3D printer machines is the Witbox Go! This sleekly designed machine was designed to be as simple to use as possible, and can even be operated via your smartphone. We therefore sat down with Astrid Sánchez, Business Director of 3D Printing and Robotics at BQ, to ask questions about BQ’s history, how their printers can be used in education, and what their plans are for the future.
3DN: How did BQ start in the 3D printing industry and why did you decide to manufacture 3D printers?
At BQ we are always attentive to market demands. We started distributing 3D printers in 2013 when 3D printing was barely known in Spain, and clients had to go to manufacturers in other countries. We realised two things: how difficult it was for users to receive support if they had a problem, and that 3D printing could interest a wider audience, yet was only used by a minority with very technical knowledge.
Therefore, we took the step in manufacturing our first DIY 3D printer, the Prusa i3 Hephestos. Additionally, we created a ready-to-use 3D printer, the Witbox. Since then our catalog has grown and we now design our printers from scratch and manufacturing them allows us to control the entire production process. We manufacture the printers here in Noáin (Navarra), Spain, and make around 400 machines per day to be sold all over the world.
3DN: What are BQ’s 3D printers’ primary audience, and why?
3D printing has evolved a lot during the last few years. At first it was a technology that only a few experts knew, but slowly it is reaching more areas and is now used in medicine, architecture, art, fashion, industry, and education. 3D printings’ possibilities are endless and therefore our goal now is to simplify it and bring it worldwide.
The latest 3D printer we launched onto the market, the Witbox Go!, has a simple design (which won a prestigious Red Dot design award) and is very easy to use. You can even send prints in one touch via a smartphone. The idea was that you can use this printer even if you have never used the technology before.
3DN: What plans do BQ have for 3D printing in 2018?
We have recently launched the Witbox Go! and our team will continue working in 2018 so that the machine can democratize 3D printing but for now we cannot reveal what will be next.
3DN: How important is BQ to the development of 3D printing in education, and why?
3D printing is already beginning to be introduced into education, and we believe this is one of the areas where the technology can have the most influence. 3D printing will become a tool for learning and creation that will help young people to obtain artistic skills in engineering. These skills will influence the industry when they join the labour market. Our BQ Education department takes time including 3D printers in their training of teachers and children, as we have proven they encourage creative thinking.
3DN: Do you have some last words for our readers?
We hope that little-by-little, 3D printing will become a staple in homes worldwide. We will continue working on the design and technological advances so that it reaches the whole world, and put an end to the stereotype that 3D printing is only for geeks and engineering. 3D printing is available to everyone, you just have to adapt it to what you like.
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