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I expect people will buy 3d printing material in bulk at wholesale prices from Costco's the same way we buy toilet paper and bottled water, use it as needed, and restock when low.

There's a substantial price difference between buying 50 lbs of something you need 5 lbs of and buying 5 tons a month of the same.

There's Costco's bulk lots and then there's manufacturers's bulk lots :-)

Yes, but when 50 million people buy 50lbs bulk lots from hundreds of Costco's (and other wholesalers) across the country, that approaches, maybe exceeds the manufacturer's.

It doesn't matter if, in aggregate, 50M people buy more than a manufacturer does. Each of those people will still get worse pricing than the single large-volume manufacturer would.

The economies of scale in producing the raw material will likely mean that its price will drop a bit, but the guy buying 5 tons a month will always get a much better price than the guy buying 5 lbs a month. Even if there are 50 million guys doing the same thing.

There's a little markup at the wholesaler, but if a wholesaler like Costco buys in bulk they get the same deal as a manufacturer buying in bulk.

The price each individual pays approaches that of the manufacturer, enough to make this a viable alternative. This is nothing new.

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