Critical Video Published About Prusa Research: “Dear Prusa Research… We Need To Talk.”

By on February 10th, 2023 in news, video

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YouTuber Jonathan Levi talks about Prusa Research [Source: YouTube]

A very controversial video has emerged directing strong criticism at Prusa Research.

The video, published by Jonathan Levi of The Next Layer, is entitled “Dear Prusa Research… We Need To Talk.”

That’s an ominous title, and it’s exactly what you think it is: Levi is “breaking up” with Prusa Research.

Hold on, why would that be? Isn’t Prusa Research one of the leading producers of desktop 3D printers? Isn’t the company beloved around the world for their reliable equipment, amazing service and quirky marketing angles? Aren’t their machines successfully used everywhere? (We operate a bunch ourselves, and like them a lot.)

Yes, that’s all true.

So why is Levi breaking up with Prusa Research?

Levi lists a number of concerns, but to condense them all up it’s this: While Prusa Research has succeeded in the past, they have not issued a new flagship machine for several years and the competition has caught up and passed them.

Some quotes from Levi:

“Loyalty and brand reputation can only take you so far, and let’s be honest, it’s been a long time since you truly innovated, at least with your most popular core products.”

“A printer or a series of printers come out that are, look, there’s no nice way to say it, better. And not just a little bit better, but a lot better, faster, prettier, more reliable, even cheaper. What’s more, others are able to make exact replicas of your product with more polish for a third of the price.”

“Although we’ve been begging you to update your products for years, you’ve not only known this, but worse, you’ve literally laughed at our requests, turning them into an annual April Fool’s joke, year after year.”

“When will you integrate things that are quickly becoming standard, like input shaping, AI print detection failure, or pressure advances for faster, better, quality?

To add insult to injury, instead of acknowledging that your products are outdated and facing competition, and maybe finding ways to lower your prices, you instead decide to increase them instead of giving us true improvements”

“Recent events have just made me realize how long you’ve been coasting or shifting your focus away from people like me, the consumer enthusiast market that made your company what it is, and instead chasing other markets that you seem to care more about. You’ve made me realize just how out of touch you are with your core market, and that, my friends, has made me and many people like me resent you and your products.”

“Do you really feel that the name Prusa and your company ethos are enough for consumers to continue spending more money for an inferior product with a fraction of the performance, and then have to build it themselves?”

Ouch, that’s brutal.

But it’s also largely true. Prusa Research has indeed not released a truly new consumer-level flagship 3D printer for years, in a market where new machines tend to be release annually or even more frequently. Their MK3S+ device is terrific, but it is also lacking an increasing number of features now commonly found on competing machines that are, yes, available at far lower price points.

Levi asks “how did you go so wrong?” But I am not sure that’s the right question.

I’ve written many times on the clues that have emerged providing evidence that Prusa Research have been slowly moving towards the professional and industrial market. For example:

  • They introduced a print farm concept for low volume production
  • They are working on the Prusa XL, a professional-level device out of the price range of most consumers
  • They acquired Trilab, makers of industrial delta 3D printers

One could also add “they didn’t update their consumer equipment” as an additional point of evidence.

My suspicion is that Prusa Research may have realized, perhaps long ago, that they could not compete with inexpensive Asian equipment in the long run and that they would eventually have to shift markets. While the company has definitely not announced any strategy of this nature, some of their actions (and inactions) suggest this could be the case.

While that would go against their founding principles, and certainly alienate their prime market, it is not an unprecedented move. MakerBot, Ultimaker, 3D Hubs, Formlabs and many others began with consumer-grade equipment and then moved on to more juicy markets where they could compete and survive in the long term.

Each of those companies similarly underwent turmoil, particularly from their prior client base, but survived in the end. The transitions were painful, but necessary if these companies hoped to continue operations.

It may be that Prusa Research could be undergoing the same transition, or considering doing so. This could explain the absent MK4 device.

I get the feeling that Levi could change his mind, should Prusa Research suddenly come up with a MK4. But I’m not so sure. What if Prusa Research has plotted out this device behind the scenes and realized they’d have to charge even more for it? Would they be able to maintain their huge market share in that case? What happens after that?

If Prusa Research were to truly shift markets, we would see them working on equipment and services in that new space (we do) and we would see them not producing more devices for the consumer market (they aren’t). We would also begin to see angry folks from the consumer market.

And that’s what Levi’s video is all about.

Via YouTube

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

1 comment

  1. you think he may be backtracking a little now? does it all make sense why Prusa did what they did and needed to roll out the XL before dropping the MK4 out of nowhere being they are running many of the same parts? haters going to hate….. or the fact they are basically calling bambu out for taking many open source resources and then trying to copyright them into their proprietary systems. A lot has happened in a week and I am just glad I never doubted.

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