To commemorate the sale of their first 100,000 3D printers, Prusa Research has released a documentary video following their journey to this milestone. The video titled ‘The Road to 100,000 original Prusa 3D Printers’, is available via YouTube. They achieved the feat of selling and manufacturing these 100k 3D printers in early 2019, and in the time of making this documentary have surpassed to over 130,000 printers sold in total.
‘When we started with 3D printers several years ago, I had no idea that we would achieve such a milestone,’ says Josef Prusa, Prusa Research CEO. ‘I started building 3D printers with my brother in a small basement, we have essentially bootstrapped the whole company, there was no need for any investors. And still, up to this day, we deliver our 3D printers to customers directly, without distributors.’
3D printers by Josef Prusa are published under an Open-source license with all project documentation for these machines available on the internet completely for free. This allows enthusiasts from all over the world to contribute to the development process, design new parts, or modify existing ones. This spirit of sharing has helped build their community of followers in a way few brands can. Prusa Research ships 80% of their 3D printer sales as assembly kits, enabling the customers to build the machine at home, learning how it works in the process. ‘I think this is a way to raise a new generation of hobbyists and makers, who like to learn how things work; they can repair various devices and use them in creative ways. I believe that our growth is a strong indicator that the DIY scene is not dying – on the contrary! It thrives more than ever,’ says Josef Prusa.
Prusa Research, a privately held company of Czech entrepreneur and investor Josef Prusa, has been named the fastest-growing tech company of 2018 in Central Europe by Deloitte. Its turnover rose from 164,000 USD in 2014 to 1.07 million USD in 2015, 10.69 million USD in 2016, 26.17 million USD in 2017 and finally to 50.42 million USD in 2018. Prusa Research keeps growing at a faster rate than the global desktop 3D printer market, which has grown by 11.7% to a total of 744.9 million USD. According to the estimation by Wohlers Associates, 591,079 desktop 3D printers have been sold in 2018. With 59,776 3D printers sold in 2018 alone, Prusa Research has gained 10.1% market share.
Wohlers Report 2019 also states that desktop 3D printers are most commonly used for the production of functional prototypes (21.8 %), cosmetic models (17.8 %) and in education (17.2 %). 3D printers are also used for end-use parts (12.2 %), casting molds (10.5 %) and spare parts (13.1 %). ‘Thanks to lower prices, desktop 3D printers are often used at universities and high schools, as well as in other educational institutions around the world,’ states the report.
While they have traditionally focused on FFF or Fused Filament Fabrication devices, a type of 3D printing that utilizes a melted strand of plastic to create models, in 2018 Prusa Research expanded their offerings into the SLA (a liquid resin-based process) market. The SL1 announced in late 2018 has began shipping earlier this year.
Another endeavor that promises further growth is the in-house production of filaments. Prusa Research’s own filament, called Prusament, is almost constantly sold out due to high demand. With a highly-precise manufacturing process, and the option to check all parameters of every manufactured spool online, Prusament is well on its way to gain a significant global market share. The global market with filament spools reached 308 million USD last year, nearly 50 % of the 3D printer market value.