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Prusa buys 3D printer vendor Print Solid to expand US footprint – TechCrunch

There’s a lot going on in the world of desktop 3D printers – not a sentence I thought I’d write anytime soon. Days after MakerBot and Ultimaker announced their merger plans, one of the companies’ most high-profile competitors is taking action on its own. Prague-based Prusa Research acquires Printed Solid Inc., a Delaware-based 3D printer reseller.

Founded in 2011, Prusa shares some DNA with MakerBot and Ultimaker, as an extension of the open source RepRap project. The company’s i3 system has become one of the leading FDM-based desktop 3D printers, due to its low cost, small footprint, and ease of modification/repair.

Print Solid, meanwhile, was founded in 2013 as a retailer of 3D printing materials and parts. Three years later, the company made its own acquisition – Ranlaser – and has since begun manufacturing and selling its own printer security enclosures.

Buying the reseller will give Prusa a channel to expand sales in the US. Sales of the manufacturer’s products are largely confined to business, government, and education customers in the United States. This move will further expand that footprint to more consumer sales. MakerBot and Ultimaker also cited expanding sales channels as a key factor in their decision to merge last week.

Print strong notes in a blog post:

By the fourth quarter of 2022, Printed Solid Inc. will acquire more warehouses, operational space and staff dedicated to maintaining and improving Prusa Research’s already industry-recognized quality and reputation and offering US-based warranty and out-of-warranty repairs and services, including parts fulfillment for Prusa Research. Help reduce the burden of international shipping and shorten response times for customer repairs and replacements.

The Print Solid brand will continue under its new parent company, with David Randolph remaining as CEO.

“[Randolph’s] An incredible team will help improve the availability of Original Prusa 3D printers, parts, accessories and services beyond the ‘big pond’,” said founder Josef Prusa in a post. “We have already started with the corporate, government and education sectors. In the near future, we would like to offer 3D printer maintenance services to all customers in the United States. Please, everyone, be patient. We have completed the acquisition and the first round of training, but it will take time to get everything up and running so the team can support the same load as we can in our HQ.

It’s been an unusually busy two weeks for the world of desktop 3D printing, which is now several years past its initial hype bubble. It’s fun to see movement in space, though.

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