3D Printing Trends Updated

By on July 17th, 2018 in research

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 3D Hubs trends report is out!
3D Hubs trends report is out!

3D Hubs released their latest trends report today.

Each quarter the 3D print services network releases a comprehensive survey of their view of 3D printing by examining the statistics found on their vast network of participating 3D printers and customer requests. 

They’re in a unique position to produce this information, and thus their trend reports are one of the few public sources of objective 3D printing information we have access to. 

But what’s new in this quarterly report?

In the industrial 3D printer category, EOS maintains a perfect score for print quality with their popular Formiga machine. Scoring 5 out of 5 consistently suggests to me that the operators of this not particularly new machine have matured their operational processes so well there’s nothing left to improve. 

Also in the same category, HP rates very high, in second place challenging EOS. However, all the machines on 3D Hubs’ industrial list are relatively close in terms of print quality. These are all good machines.  
The most used industrial machine is also HP, but there’s some other interesting notes here. I see UnionTech present on the list, a machine that was not particularly well known a year ago. There’s also an ancient Dimension 1200es category on the list. This list seems a bit weird to me, as this does not match my expectations of usage. I suspect that 3D Hubs’ industrial participant list is still a bit short to smooth out the stats, and it is being skewed by a few large installations.  

As always, their desktop 3D printing category interests me greatly. However, as usual the rankings of print quality on their top ten list are again virtually the same, with only a 2% ratings difference between place 1 and place 10. It seems that these machines are each doing about as much as you can achieve with the state of desktop 3D printing. I suspect you’d see more variation in quality simply by picking different materials, rather than something to do with the machines themselves now. 

As for the most used desktop machine, this is interesting, but again features the same players. For fun I combined different models from vendors to see which company is “winning”:

  • 25,140    Prusa
  • 14,516    Formlabs    
  • 12,469    Ultimaker
  • 10,399    Flashforge
  • 5,771    Zortrax
  • 3,574    Fusion3

This sounds about right, as these are definitely popular machines. But where’s LulzBot on this list? They must be below the top ten on 3D Hubs’ list. 

It seems that 3D Hubs users are still using standard materials such as PLA and ABS – especially PLA. Between the two of them, they represent about half of the production on 3D Hubs in desktop 3D printing. With such a buzz around new engineering materials, you’d think people would be requesting them more than they do, but apparently not. However, there are small quantities of nylon, ASA, PETG, TPU and even a chopped carbon fiber now appearing on the list. 

And the most popular color is still black. Sigh. 

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!