Sep 2, 2015 | By Alec

3D printing community is expanding every day and has become a minefield and maze of 3D printing enthusiasts, 3D printer models, makerspaces and startups. That’s exactly why its very fortunate that some people continuously try to develop comprehensive data and statistics on the community, and few have been as successful as 3D Hubs. The Amsterdam-based 3D Hubs has been releasing monthly trend reports for some time now, and have just released the report for September 2015.

Their successful and insightful reports are some of the best around, and that’s hardly surprising. After all, 3D Hubs have access to over 21,000 3D printers spread out over more than 150 countries. Being involved with thousands of 3D prints per month, few people are in a better position to judge what’s going on in the world of 3D printing. What 3D printers are trending, what machines are most popular? And what hubs are truly 3D printing hotspots?

Well to begin immediately with the most popular category, 3D Hubs reports that the Prusa Steel and the Rapide Lite 200 – both relatively new entries on the list -  are holding on to the top two positions in the list of highest rated desktop 3D printers. ‘The race is quite close though, with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th printers having nearly identical scores,’ they add, doing little to make the choice for a new 3D printer easier. However, if you’re going to use these stats to help make a decision, be aware that eligible 3D printers require at least 35 reviews to participate, while some are far more widely reviewed than others; the top three all have less than 60 reviews, while #19 has nearly 500.

Interestingly enough, the relatively obscure CEL Robox is a huge winner this month, climbing three spots in the list, while Afinia's H480 jumps 4 positions to #7. Definitely 3D printers worth considering, if public opinion is anything to go by. However, slightly lower down the list, the Kossel Mini has become the second Kossel 3D printer on the list,while the Makergear M2 also returns into view. However, as you can see for yourself, the differences throughout the top 20 are minimal.

Meanwhile, little seems to have changed in the field of best-rated industrial 3D printers. Stratasys’ Objet Eden 260 is still at number one with an almost perfect score of 4.98 stars (slightly below its previously perfect score of 5 stars). Closely following it are the ProJet 3500 HDMax (silver, same as last month) and the ProJet 3510 on #3 (also the same). Interestingly enough, nearly the complete top ten 3D printers rely on jetting technology, rather than any alternative, which speaks volumes about printing quality.

Indeed, more interesting things are going in the world of trending 3D printers, were the top two contenders of last month switched spots. The M3D 3D printer is now number one, very closely followed by the Ultimaker 2 Extended. Spots three and four are occupied by the more powerful Objet 3D printers by Stratasys (the Alaris30 on bronze, followed by the Objet24). LulzBot’s Mini 3D printer, last month’s shocker, completes the top five, after being completely absent before, suggesting that this could definitely be a machine to keep an eye on.

However, popularity can only be properly understood within the context of model distribution. And it that respect it is interesting to see that the Ultimaker 2 is still very popular and expanding, occupying an impressive 1560 printing locations (closely folled by the Prusa i3 at 1490). In combination with the popularity statistics, this speaks volumes. An interesting riser is the Zortrax M200 at number eight, which could be overtaking the ever stable Form 1+ in a few months. Looking at 3D printer manufacturers largely shows the same trend, except that RepRap (including the Prusa) edges over MakerBot slightly. That top 3 is completed by Ultimaker.

However, that ranking is clearly not the same in every region, as the following statistic reveals. According to 3D Hubs, the Prusa is popular in every portion of the world, but MakerBot is far more popular in North America than in Europe and elsewhere. Occupying the first and third places with the Replicator 2 and the Replicator 2x in North America, this stands in stark contrast to Europe, where makers evidently prefer the Ultimaker. Interesting risers include the Printrbot Simple Metal in North America, which pushed the Form 1+ from the fourth spot, as well as the MakerBot Replicator 2X in South America (taking first place).

However, a personal favorite of mine is the fantastic overview of 3D printing destinations part of the 3D Hubs family, that now include some interesting (tropical) locations. Adding more than a thousand printers this month, 3D Hubs can now boast a total of 21,000 3D printers throughout the world. ‘Barbados and Mauritius are further increasing our tropical island 3D printing network, accompanied by the - bit less tropical - Iceland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Liberia,’ they add.

Of all these hubs, New York ever remains the largest (growing more than 4,7% this month), though Los Angeles has been steadily outgrowing it. With a gap of just 50 3D printers between them, they could be switching positions soon. Third place is now a tie with London and Milan fighting it out; at this speed, London will definitely take over from Milan. ‘A pleasant surprise on the 6th position, as our hometown Amsterdam is the fastest growing city this month with double digit growth,’ the 3D Hubs people add.

So what are all these 3D printers being used for? The most popular print categories remain to be Prototyping and Hobby/DIY Prints, though the other categories are increasing their demand. However, as you can see below, the average order value is highest for scale models. As always, however, Black and White filaments remain the most popular, together representing more than 50 percent of all 3D prints.

Once again, the complete 3D printing trends report is very illustrative and insightful, especially for people thinking about getting a new 3D printer or working with a new hub in their area. For more, check it out here


Posted in 3D Printing Company



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AMnerd wrote at 9/7/2015 12:57:25 PM:

Good info but better resolution please

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