Growth averaged 346% each year from 2008 through 2011. In 2012, the increase cooled significantly to an estimated 46.3%
What are the trends for <$5,000 3D printers?
A relatively new category of additive manufacturing (AM) systems, personal 3D printers, has developed over the past six years. Wohlers Associates defines personal 3D printers as AM systems that sell for $5,000 or less. The category includes RepRap and RepRap derivatives, MakerBot Industries, Delta Micro Factory Corp., Cube from 3D Systems, and many others. Collectively, these systems represent an interesting growth trend, as shown in the accompanying chart. The numbers represent the estimated number of systems sold each year.
Growth averaged 346% each year from 2008 through 2011. In 2012, the increase cooled significantly to an estimated 46.3%. One reason for the slowing is the belief that much of the “low-hanging fruit” has been picked. Many of the machines are being sold to hobbyists, do-it-yourselfers, young engineers, and engineering students. Typically, the machines in this category are not being used for professional/industrial applications. It’s possible that the early markets for personal 3D printers are moving toward some level of saturation.