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Sorry Investors Business Daily, Proto Labs is NOT a 3D printing company
April 25, 2013
1:55 pm
Mark Fleming
Forum Posts: 19
Member Since:
July 23, 2011

I've written many times on the blog how one of the companies touted as a 3D printing company is NOT a 3D printing company. In fact, it's almost the exact opposite -- instead of using additive manufacturing they use subtractive manufacturing.  The company is Proto Labs (PRLB).

I thought of writing something about this again as I read yet another article by an investment writer who suggested that Proto Labs is in the 3D printing category.  It was no other than the venerable Investors Business Daily.  For many months, I had been writing comments on their Proto Labs articles to correct the author, that the company uses CNC machines, not 3D printers.  I thought it had finally took the last time, I think several weeks ago.  But yesterday the writer once again could not resist associating the company with 3D printing.  In an article yesterday author Brian Deagon called their technology "its 3D-printer-like additive manufacturing technology." 

Embarrassing, really. It took months and months to get the authors over at Seeking Alpha to understand as well, but at least it they seems to have figured it out.  Still, there are plenty of articles elsewhere calling Proto Labs a 3D printing company.

That all said, I like Proto Labs. In fact, I own some shares of the company.  But not for anything having to do with 3D printing. I own it because they use CNC machines, along with a patented online quoting system that rapidly takes orders and completes short run part runs unlike other CNC shops can.  I'm a bit concerned about their PE ratio, but after reading the conference call transcript today, I think their growth rate is intact.

April 25, 2013
5:50 pm
Cameron Naramore
Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
August 29, 2012

Does Proto Labs mention 3D printing in their earnings calls? Or is it just analysts misspeaking? 


Mcor Technologies calls their subtractive paper printers 3D printers, but they appear to be a private firm.

April 25, 2013
6:27 pm
Mark Fleming
Forum Posts: 19
Member Since:
July 23, 2011

The analysts seem to know better -- in the entire conference call there was no mention of 3D printing by the company or the analysts.

The problem lies with no-nothing writers at investing sites.  It's a good lesson for people: don't think the guy writing the article knows what he's talking about. Do your own research.

April 30, 2013
1:10 pm
Daniel H
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
April 30, 2013

I've noticed the same thing. In fact, I've seen your comments on some articles, tell these guys they have it wrong. But if you still like the company, I'm going to check it out again.

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