3D Printing Trends October 2014

This trend report provides a unique perspective on the current state of the 3D printing industry. Learn what the most popular printers, manufacturers and materials are. The report is based on the data from our 3D Hubs community with well over 7500 printer listings and thousands of 3D print jobs.

You can find the previous August, June, May, April, February, January, December and November releases in the archive.


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zipCrowdfunded 3D Printer Campaigns

This month we have a special addition to our trend report. For the first time we've quantified the impact of crowdfunded 3D printer campaigns.

The numbers are impressive. In less than 4 years, 3D printing campaigns have received more than $20 million in funding for 34,000 printers. In the last 3 years the sales have been growing by 96.6% on average And for 2014 we're forecasting 17% growth in revenue and 28% in unit sales.

Have you just created the ultimate 3D printer and don't know which crowdfunding platform to choose? Our research suggests to go with Kickstarter. Until now two thirds of the projects got funding on Kickstarter, the rest on Indiegogo and a single project on Fundable. Looking at the amount of funding, the top 5 most funded projects landed on Kickstarter, while the platform collected almost 90% of all funding.

It's a cliché, that crowdfunding projects are always delayed. Well, it's true. Apart from a few refreshing exceptions - thanks to the B9 Creator and Rostock Max team - delays are ubiquituous. On top of that, the more a campaign get funded, the more it gets delayed. Stretch goals ring a bell?

Looking at print quality, the picture is much brighter. Some of the crowdfunded printers are among the highest rated printers by our users. The Form 1 has been the highest rated printer before and now its successor, the Form 1+ is trailing in its footsteps. The Zortrax M200 is also regular among the best, while we have seen Printrbot and the Rostock Max in the top 15 as well.

pngTop 15 Print Quality Ratings

Note: these are the top 15 rated printers out of 300 printer models listed on our platform

Insights: Print Quality Ratings

3D Systems’ professional printers have held onto the top positions they secured last month and even managed to improve their stellar ratings. Meanwhile a rising star, the Afinia H480 has made it to the top 3 and became the best rated FDM printer at the same time - offering great value for only $1,299.

The Form 1 has fallen back a few positions, but still managed to remain in the top 5, where it has now been accompanied by its successor, the Form 1+. A familiar printer in the top ranks fetched the 7th place this month, the Zortrax M200. Now we can see why Dell ordered a staggering 5000 units.

New printers took the remaining spots in the top 10. The Builder, the Witbox and the Airwold HD are all known for their class leading print volume - apparently accompanied by great print quality. We’re curious to see if they manage to keep up with the fierce competition in the long run.

Looking at the most frequent printers on our platform, two Makerbot models still made it to our list, but somewhat surprisingly, both Ultimaker models fell out of the top 15.

Note: high quality is in this case not the same as high resolution. The quality rating takes the max. resolution of a printer into account. Only printers with more than 10 reviews are included in these statistics.
pngTrending Printers

Insights: Trending Printers

New entrants to the list have taken the top 2 spots this month: the Form 1+ and the Zortrax M200. Despite the different printing technology, they have a few things in common. They might seem familiar from our Top Quality list and both companies started out on Kickstarter. The Da Vinci 1.0 has fallen to the 3rd position, but still showed a strong 36,2% month over month growth.

This month we have 3 professional printers in the top 10, namely the Dimension 1200, Objet Pro 30 and the Projet 660.

Two printers have reappeared on the list, after taking a summer holiday in August. The Duplicator 4 has claimed back the 5th spot again after June. Somewhat unexpectedly, the Printrbot has reached the 7th spot, despite already having a vast user base. Originally starting out from the RepRap project on Kickstarter almost 3 years ago, the company now offers an extensive line-up of competitively priced printers with great print quality.

Note: only printers with a quantity of 30+ on our platform are included in these statistics.
pngTop Print Cities (NEW)

Insights: Top Print Cities

The table above shows where the 3D printing hotspots are across the world and where most Hubs (3D Printers) are located at the time of writing. Just as we anticipated last month, New York has finally taken the lead from Milan.
pngPrinter Model Distribution

Insights: Printer Model Distribution

No positions have changed within the top 10 since our last trend report. However, if the Prusa i3 continues its rise, it will overtake the Ultimaker 1 for the 2nd spot. The Ultimaker 2 is hot on its tail and due to bypass the Makerbot Replicator 2X within the next few weeks. Printrbot is now aiming for the 7th position - just behind the RepRap, from which its design is originated.
pngPrinter Manufacturer Distribution

Insights: Printer Manufacturer Distribution

Stratasys is still holding on firmly to its leading position with Reprap based printers and Ultimakers following in its footsteps. Even though they are all increasing in terms of printers on the platform, their market share is decreasing as new manufacturers appear on the market.

Note: RepRap is not a manufacturer but has been treated as such in this chart
pngPopular Printers by Region

Insights: Popular Printers by Region

The top 3 has remained the same in North America, while the Prusa i3 has moved up to the 4th spot, replacing the Makerbot Replicator Original.

In Europe, the Ultimaker 2 has fetched the silver medal from the Prusa i3 to accompany its predecessor on the top of the list.

The Ultimaker 2 and the Prusa i3 are on their way up the ranks in Asia, but so far they haven’t made it to the top 5.

The Prusa i3 and the RepRap have conquered South America as they have dethroned the Makerbot Replicator 2x, which fell back to the 3rd position in this month.
pngPrinter Listings

Insights: International Growth

A new milestone of 7500 printers has been passed recently, while recent publicity has only made the slope steeper. Next step? 10.000 before the new year!
pngPopular Print Categories

Average order price per category

Insights: Average order value per category

Some notable changes took place in the Popular Print Category. Art/Fashion has regained a bit from its last drop and increased to US$ 40.7. Scale model has also increased to US$ 67,7, while order values for other categories mostly remained the same.

Insights: Popular Print Categories

Prototype prints have decreased again since the last report, dipping below 30% for the first time. It will be interesting to see whether this trend keeps up as college students start their studies again this fall. Furthermore, the Gadget category has seen an increase of 3% points 16,8%.
pngColor Distribution

Insights: Color Distribution

The most popular colors printed are still White, Black, Red & Blue and account for almost 70% of the total orders. However, Green might soon overtake Red and Grey is moving up the chart as well.
png3D Printing Map of the World

Insights: 3D Printing Map of the World

The map above represents the geographical distribution of over 7500 printers on our platform. See the full screen version here .