3D Hubs’ Trends Report Provides Deeper Insights

By on March 4th, 2015 in research


This month’s trend report from 3D Hubs again provides deeper insights into the use of personal 3D printing gear. 

3D Hubs is in a very unique position. Their virtual 3D printing network now exceeds 12,000 units, likely a reasonable chunk of active 3D printers today. Fortunately, 3D Hubs analyzes the gathered statistics and publishes them monthly for all to see. Here’s some notable items found in this month’s report.

The report tallies the print quality ratings for all devices, as reported by recipient of prints built on the 3D Hubs network. Understandably, in the “desktop” 3D printer report Formlabs’ Form 1+ and Form 1 show high on the list because they use a different process to produce high resolution output. Beyond that, it seems the best print quality is provided by the Zortrax M200 and the CTC-3D. Curiously absent from the list are the majority of MakerBot’s gear, the sole exception being the new MakerBot Mini – which employs the same extruder as the other new MakerBot models and should exhibit the same quality characteristics. Meanwhile, the MakerBot Replicator 2 remains the most popular 3D printer in 3D Hubs’ network. 

This month’s “trending” report shows a variety of different desktop 3D printers, but the report is sorted by percent growth and not absolute gain. Thus we could theoretically see a printer grow by 200% – but in reality moving from 1 unit to 3. We’re hoping 3D Hubs will change the report to show absolute gain instead of percentage as it would then hint more directly at the strength of sales of each machine. 

The most popular types of prints is “prototype”, suggesting that the users of 3D Hubs are engineers or inventors looking for parts but not interested in owning or operating their own equipment. This is in line with our theory that the growth area of 3D printing is in fact professionals and not consumers. 

Similarly, the half of 3D Hubs’ prints are done in either white or black color, suggesting coloring is not a particularly important factor for prototypes. It makes you wonder about all those wonderfully vibrant colors produced by filament manufacturers. 

Via 3D Hubs

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!