Data collection as a network effect.

Markforged is working on an AI tool that gathers information about all the 3D printed parts made on their printers. It then analyzes based on the material and the features in the part and figures out how to better scale and modify parts so they come out to their exact dimensions when printed, rather than sometimes distorted.

Gathering this data, and applying it in such a way helps everyone. It makes the cost prints that are out of tolerance lower and less time-consuming.

The more data gathered, the better the parts will come out with less waste. Better to have all your printers be Markforged, a horizontal network effect, so they learn more about your business. And it won’t hurt if you tell a friend, so his efforts help yours as well. That’s a vertical network effect, though on the weaker side.