3D Printing Trends February 2014

This trend report provides 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 of our 3D Hubs community with well over 3100 printer listings and thousands of 3D print jobs.

This month's version has been completely overhauled to give even better information. You can find the previous January, December and November releases in the archive.


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downloadNew: 3D Printing map of the world

Insights: 3D printing map

Last month we have added over 500 Hubs to our network of 3D printers. The following map shows how the network is geographically spread out. As you can see we've already covered Europe almost completely and all of the urban parts of the US. While 3D printing is mostly happening in the western world, we believe that 3D printing is posed to spread rapidly into the emerging world as well.
downloadNew: Popular printers by region

Insights: Popular Printers by region

When reviewing our data on a regional level it reveals some insights in printer popularity. Makerbot is undeniably dominating the worldwide 3D printers market by occupying the top spot in all regions except Europe. In the US, they are even making a rare clean sweep by holding both the first, second and third spots.

Next to the Makerbot dominance, they are a few regional contenders emerging. It's evident that Ultimaker has it's roots in Europe, Printrbot and Solidoodle are mainly US-driven operations and that the company behind the UP! printers is Chinese.

It's also worthwhile to point out that the share of DIY RepRap-based kits and printers appears to be larger outside the US than within the US and that the Cube printers are the elephant in the room that hasn't entered the top ranks yet.
downloadNew: Popular Print Categories

Insights: Popular Print Categories

Each of the opened cities are generating many print jobs per day, providing 3D Hubs with insights into what is actually being printed.

We were already releasing qualitative insights in what iour users are printing in the Maker Tales but now we're releasing quantative insights in what our users are actually printing as well. The first results show that the number 1 use case is still prototypes (36%), but Hobby/DIY projects are not lagging far behind (22%). We clearly see that the majority of the our customers are coming from either a professional, hobbyist or student background.
downloadTrending Printers

Insights: Trending Printers

This chart reveals the fastest growing printers on the platform. We still see the effect of the Ultimaker 2 launch. The FlashForge Creator and MendalMax are gaining popularity quickly, entering the list on the 2nd and 3rd spot.

Furthermore, Makerbots are still growing quickly with both the Replicator 2 and 2X represented in the top 10. With this growth rate the Replicator 2 is posed to overtake the Ultimaker 1 as the most popular printer on the platform soon.

Note: printers are included once they reach 30 printers on the platform.
downloadPrinter Model Distribution

Insights: Printer Model Popularity

When zooming in on printer models, we note that the market is divided between a myriad of different models. We see that the top 5 is dominated by Makerbots, Ultimaker 1 and RepRap variations. However, there is a significant long tail of unique printers that all serve a slightly different segment.

FDM printers are still making up the majority of our install base. However, EOS and Zcorp printers are becoming more prominent due to the increased interest of professional service providers. We also expect that the Form 1 will enter the top ranks soon.
download3D Printer manufacturer distribution

Insights: Printer manufacturers

Makerbot announced last month that they have sold in total 44.000 devices, which means that we have 1.3% of all Makerbots actively runnning 3D printing services through 3D Hubs. Furthermore, according to public sources there are roughly 100.000 3D Printers sold worldwide. Having signed up more than 3% on our platform we start to see some interesting patterns.

Our biggest insight lies in the fact that the Open Source based RepRap DIY kits and Ultimaker are both bravely holding significant market in a market that is targeted by 3D printing giants Stratasys and 3D systems.

Due to the Makerbot, Stratasys is the market leader with 26% of the install base on 3D Hubs. However, RepRap and Ultimaker are not lagging far behind with respectively 21.6% and 15.4% of share of the install base. Finally, 10% of the registered printers on 3D Hubs are made by 3D systems.
downloadUpdated: Color Distribution

Insights: Color Distribution

Due to the distributed nature of our platform people can order prints in a rainbow of colors, we see the range of available colors expanding further as people start making more prints over time.

This month we've updated our color data to be based on actual orders instead of what our Hubs are listing. White is currently the most used color, followed by black, shades of blue, red and Transparant. At the same time more exotic colors are being printed at quite a few locations, think of gold and silver, great colors for fashion pieces such as Jewelry. Next to that we see glow in the dark colors, perfectly suited for toys as well as wood and brick materials.
downloadMaterial Availability

Insights: Materials

As desktop printers represent 90% of the printers on the platform it's not surprising to see plastics like ABS and PLA making up about 75% of the materials available.

Other popular materials include Nylon, Wood and Flexible rubber like materials. Another category is resins, which is directly linked to the Formlabs Form 1 printer and similar devices like the B9 Creator.

Furthermore, materials like Porcelain, Clay, Silver, Play Doh, Metalized Clay, Gold, Bronze and Aluminium are offering significant room for experimentation.
downloadPrinter Listings

Insights: International Growth

3D Hubs grew from about 2500 listed 3D printers to more than 3100 in just one month. 3D Hubs remains the largest distributed 3d printing platform on a global scale.