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The story of Prusa 3D Printers journey to 100k printers shipped. $230,000,000+ valuation

Ravens_Shadow

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An excellent breakdown of Prusa's journey from nothing to the top of the 3D printing industry.

450 Employees
Company valuation @ $230m in 2016


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX3pDDi9PeU




Nothing short of incredible, and they sold 30,000 more printers during the production of the video.

This just goes to show that putting one foot in front of the other, and not quitting, can take you very far.

Looks to me like it might have been a life style business turned enterprise.
 
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amp0193

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Amazing story, thanks for sharing.

The concept of using a farm of printers, to print duplicate printers is kind of mind boggling.

Impressed with how they completely controlled their supply chain by bringing in everything in house.
 

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bdb

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It's a great story, they started VERY early when most people had not heard about 3d printing and they kept going for years, I think that was key to their success.
 

TheCj

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I think the key to there success is that they use the printers to produce printers. Instead of conventional plastic moulds that would be a lot cheaper and faster. By using the printers they are constantly testing and refining them, which in turn makes them expert's on 3d printing no user will ever print as much. It would be like an automaker having every employee drive there latest r and d car and be monitoring them for feedback. Then using that data to improve. The way that a person can upgrade from there first generation model to the latest is a clear example of this refining and not replacing. It also makes it easier for brand loyalty since can just upgrade as you feel like it.

Very Awesome to see thanks for sharing!
 

amp0193

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I think the key to there success is that they use the printers to produce printers. Instead of conventional plastic moulds that would be a lot cheaper and faster.
I agree that surely they learned a lot. It seems like it was just the cheapest way to bootstrap things.. and it very well may have been, and continue to be.

Traditional manufacturing you're going to have very high MOQs to make it worth it. A 3d printer can print an MOQ of 1 for anything, for no additional cost. The uptime is much higher on a 3d printer, because it can just jump to the next thing without a lot of machinery set up.

I do wonder though, what's to stop some mega-corp with deep pockets from going huge and printing plastic widgets by the millions via traditional manufacturing methods, and wiping guys like this off the map?
 
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Ravens_Shadow

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I do wonder though, what's to stop some mega-corp with deep pockets from going huge and printing plastic widgets by the millions via traditional manufacturing methods, and wiping guys like this off the map?
I don't think that they would be wiped off the map since Prusa has such a loved brand at this point. I think there's something great about saying "A printer that you buy from us had most of its parts printed by the same type of printer." Not to mention it's not the plastic pieces that make the printer, it's everything else that goes with it. Others have cloned their printers and use traditional injection molding or all metal pieces and Prusa is still kicking a$$ with clones flooding the market.
 

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I don't think that they would be wiped off the map since Prusa has such a loved brand at this point.
Yeah, totally. They have the following for sure. And will probably continue to be one of the most innovative companies in the industry.

I guess I mean that we'll see big guys come in with printers at 50% the cost of a Prusa, have a very "n00b friendly" website and offering, and potentially capture a lot of the mass market share. (This is me talking out of my a$$ and making assumptions... I have no idea how cheap or efficient it actually is to print printers using printers, vs. injection mold large scale manufacturing).

The video said 80% of people buying Prusa printers were buying the DIY kit and not the fully assembled version. Their customers right now are primarily hobbyist and early adopters. Putting that kit together sounds like a nightmare to me.

When the 3d printer market finally gets to the top of the bell curve, Prusa could see it's growth slow as they are left behind when someone comes in and makes a dummy friendly offering that appeals to the casual consumer.

I would put myself in the casual consumer spot... I'm not going to buy one of these things until everyone else is. I look at the Prusa website and have no idea wtf is going on or what any of the words mean.

There's a great book on this market growth concept called "Crossing the Chasm". It applies to my company as well, as my macro-industry is emerging from a hobbyist/techy one into the mainstream now. All of the first big niche sites are going to be left way in the dust, because they haven't evolved to meet the needs of the mass consumer.
 
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ollari

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Prusa printers are just good. Have owned couple of them, worked flawlessly out of the box. Exellent tool for prototyping or regular user. In my opinion mega corps are not ready for 3d printing plastic parts. I work in plastic industry, and we have discussed it to have one and make some parts with it. There is a lot of good aspects like almost zero setup time, really complicated shapes that you can make and so on. The downside is printing time, surface quality, overall strength of parts and so on. This is compared with mechanical machining e.g milling and turning. But as for tinkerers like myself, best bang for the buck.
 

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TheCj

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I actually own a tiny interest in a 3D printing company.




Wow. And now we know how a Dyson Sphere would be created.
The tech is also being created used for metals too unfold themselves basically into a predetermined shape, so looks like self building.

You've got the energy and the tech... but where do you get all the raw material from?
Asteroid mining :)

I agree that surely they learned a lot. It seems like it was just the cheapest way to bootstrap things.. and it very well may have been, and continue to be.

Traditional manufacturing you're going to have very high MOQs to make it worth it. A 3d printer can print an MOQ of 1 for anything, for no additional cost. The uptime is much higher on a 3d printer, because it can just jump to the next thing without a lot of machinery set up.

I do wonder though, what's to stop some mega-corp with deep pockets from going huge and printing plastic widgets by the millions via traditional manufacturing methods, and wiping guys like this off the map?
When start to scale I don't think 3d printing beats traditional manufacturing, definitely not in the time sense. Yet that is the beauty of there business. Since as they grow as a company they are forced to improve the 3d printer to meet the higher and higher demands in quality and quantity.

Traditional manufacturing can punch out parts every 10secs or less. Where as the 3d printer is going to take hours to make one part. The finish and the quality as well as range of materials is not at the same level yet either. Companies like Prusa will be closing that gap constantly.

Prusa's advantage is that a traditional mega corp will take version one and pump out millions, while this company will already be refining version 2 and so on. So they are constantly learning what needs to be improved and what they would like etc.. since they are users. Making the previous version's obsolete. It works out so well for now :)
 

ollari

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Prusa's advantage is that a traditional mega corp will take version one and pump out millions, while this company will already be refining version 2 and so on. So they are constantly learning what needs to be improved and what they would like etc.. since they are users. Making the previous version's obsolete. It works out so well for now :)
Thats´s exactly what I like about Prusa. They take care of their customers, there has always been an option to upgrade your machine into next generation. You don`t need to buy new one, just upgrade old one for a little sum of money.
 

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