Like most brilliant and revolutionary ideas are first rejected by all but slowly they become a must have in everyone’s life, the same was the story of 3D printers. 3D printers were introduced in the market in the 1980’s to give a new dimension to the manufacturing industry. From being an invention that are targeted to revolutionize the manufacturing industry to an invention that is intervening in apparently all the leading industries of the world, 3D printing has undoubtedly proved its mettle to all. 3D printers have made consumers the creator of objects that they desire for. So that means that consumers can now not only make their homes but also engineer the objects that they need. We are now in the era of personal printing!
The story wasn’t a happy one from the beginning; the story of 3D printers took an adventurous turn in 2007 when the sales of 3D printers for personal use exploded. This change is often compared with the 1990’s personal computing revolution. The inflation of 3D printers and associated items are expected to boom from $74 million in 2014 to $1.2 billion in 2018. The sales of printers that create solid objects has grown more than 35,000% to 23265 in 2011 from 66 five years ago, keeping in mind the cost of these printers were less than $5,000. Overall, the market of 3D printing products and services has grown to $3.07 billion in 2013 which clearly shows the growth of 34.9% from 2012.
The sales figures have changed with leaps and bounds because of the entry of conventional 3D printer companies in the market. The 3D printers have generated a large market base, by diversifying the areas of application. Currently the areas of application are diverse but the usage of these applications at home or office is yet to be done. 3D printing right now focuses on small models for product designs and proto-typing, fixtures for the manufacturing industry and also mass customization of finished goods. 3D printing is on the verge of expanding its wings into areas such as architecture, defense, medical products and jewelry design. The reason for the wide acceptance of this technology in the mainstream industries is that there is a lot of technological advancement in 3D printers, scanners, design tools and materials. The reduction in the cost of printers after the expiration of patents has also been a factor towards the improved sales figures of these printers. With these modifications the demand for 3D printers at the consumer and enterprise level has increased and in turn this has also increased the quality and the performance that is delivered by these machines. The shipments are expected to grow by 75% in 2014 to 98,065 units followed by doubling these figures in 2015.
For this year’s forecast, experts believe that 3D printing spending will increase to 62% that would be $669 million; the various enterprises are expected to spend $536 million whereas the consumers are expected to spend around $133 million!
Image Credit: Chris Potter (Flickr Handle: 86530412@N02)