Our 2019 Reader Survey Results

By on January 19th, 2020 in blog

Tags: ,

Our annual reader survey is complete, and we thank everyone who participated. 

I thought it could be interesting to show some of the results, which really are all about you. 

It seems that you, our audience, is getting more professional. We saw an uptick of 5% in the “professional 3D printer user” to an all-time high of 64%. Meanwhile, we saw those classifying themselves as “DIY 3D printer users” dip a bit to 28%. We will still cover stories in both areas, as the two zones do overlap in many ways. 

Those identifying as “Consumer 3D printer users” dropped again, this time to a low of only 7%. This is not surprising, as the consumer 3D printer market stalled a few years ago and thus there are few people involved at that level. 

We asked participants to identify the industry they work within, and found an interesting swap: those identifying with Manufacturing rose (now 63%), while those identifying with Prototyping fell. This doesn’t mean people are no longer prototyping with 3D printing; it means MORE people are doing manufacturing with 3D printing. 

That’s expected with the increasing use of metal 3D printers for production purposes. 

A new category we added this year showed quite large: Artistic purposes garnered 19% of our readers. This could be due to the now-wide selection of inexpensive resin 3D printers available today, which are ideal for producing high-resolution artwork. 

With the increase in professional use, fewer of our readers seem to own 3D printer, now down to 64% from 73% last year. This makes sense as professionals typically don’t happen to have industrial metal 3D printers at home. Correspondingly, the number of readers who merely have “access to a 3D printer” increased, and that’s what you’d expect to see in a manufacturing response. 

Materials use did not change much, with 94% of you using plastics, and about 60% using metal 3D print materials. What continues to surprise me is that there are still substantial numbers of readers who apparently do bioprinting and food printing. I can understand there may be many hidden bioprinting operations around, but 10% of you are doing food printing? Really? 

3D printing of ceramics has risen slightly, now around 7% of our respondents. 

The use of specific materials is more or less unchanged, aside from a couple of interesting shifts. There is a notable drop in the number of respondents intending on using ABS material, dropping by about a third. I suspect this is because of the increasingly available high-temperature or engineering-grade materials that ABS users really wanted all along. Correspondingly, use of ULTEM and ASA increased. 

You’re getting smarter! The proportion of our audience that exceeds five years experience in the field is now 50%. This is vastly larger number than when we started this survey a few years ago. 

The bottom line here is that as 3D printing technology matures, so does our audience and their practices. 

Finally, there is the matter of the US$100 gift code for use at Scultpeo’s 3D printing service, which we intend on awarding to one lucky respondent. We’ll be doing a random draw later this week and will contact the winner directly. If you aren’t contacted, then you unfortunately did not win. 

But we thank you for your participation anyway! 

Good luck to all in 2020! 

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!