I’m totally impressed with Formlabs’ latest video series.
The company this week published a set of three videos that show viewers “How To Choose A Desktop 3D Printing Technology”.
Aha, I thought. This is another one of those scammy campaigns that directs viewers directly towards their products. I’ve seen this approach before from several vendors, who typically feature only their own product lines, and somehow don’t describe anything else. Usually the good features are exaggerated, and the bad features are not mentioned at all.
Those types of campaigns really make one less trustful of the vendor publishing them. But is Formlabs doing the same?
I sat down and watched the twentyish minutes of video that comprises the three sections. These examine the speed, applications and cost of 3D printing in the three most popular 3D printing processes: FDM (which really should be called FFF), SLA and SLS.
Wait a moment. Formlabs does not offer FFF products. And their SLS option, the Fuse, is (still) not yet released. They are going to talk about other vendors?
As I watched the video, I was quite impressed. Equal time was allocated to each of the three technologies, and the comparisons were entirely fair and accurate. While Formlabs’ products at the moment are only SLA-based, at many points the videos would suggest FFF or SLS might be better in certain circumstances.
While the visuals shown for each of the three technologies features Formlabs’ own Form 3 SLA 3D printer and upcoming Fuse SLS device, the FFF device featured was their competitor’s, Ultimaker.
As the videos ended, I realized the narrator had not once mentioned ANY Formlabs product, nor that of the competitors. They only described the true nature of the processes, and I could not find a fault in their information. If you stripped off the visuals, you would have a completely generic analysis of the three 3D printing processes that could apply to all vendors in the space.
After watching these videos, a viewer would absolutely realize there is no “One True Process” that rules over the others; in fact all 3D printing processes are compromises offering different combinations of advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to the operator to choose which one best meets the requirements of the application.
That is the literal truth of the matter, and it’s quite impressive to see a major 3D printing vendor focus on truth instead of hype. When I see a party saying both the good and the bad, I intuitively have more trust in what they are saying; if a vendor says only good things about their own products and negative about the competition, then I have less trust in their statements.
Selling equipment of any kind requires a strong degree of trust between customer and supplier. Significant money might be changing hands, and that can only be done when there is sufficient trust involved.
It looks like Formlabs is taking the high road here, portraying their products on an industry measurement that allows it to stand or fall based on the requirements of the users’ applications.
That’s how every company should market their products.