It seems as though it was just last week that 3D Hubs released their latest 3D Printing Industry Trends report, so I was startled by the realization that it’s already time for the next installment in the report, which switched to a quarterly format before its last release. Time flies, doesn’t it? There’s always something new in every 3D Hubs trends report, and the Q1 2017 entry is no exception. While some things are unsurprising (Ultimaker is still the #1 3D printer manufacturer on 3D Hubs!), there are also some new faces making their debut on the charts, as well as some surprising comebacks. Let’s take a closer look!
In the category of Highest Rated Desktop 3D Printers, the first two spots on the list remain unchanged from the last quarterly report, with the Original Prusa i3 MK2 and the BCN3D Sigma staying in first and second place with average ratings of 4.87 and 4.85, respectively. The Formlabs Form 2 moved up a spot from fourth to third place, with the rest of the desktop 3D printer category remaining relatively consistent.
On the industrial 3D printer side, the 16-year-old Vanguard from 3D Systems makes a surprise debut in the number one spot, with last quarter’s highest, the ProJet 3500 HDMax, also from 3D Systems, dropping down to number two. Unlike the desktop printer list, the highest-rated industrial 3D printers are dominated by just a few manufacturers: Stratasys holds five of the top ten spots with four of their Objet printers and their Dimension 1200es FDM printer, while 3D Systems bookends the list with a total of four printers (the ProJet 660 and Zcorp are at nine and ten, respectively). The near-duopoly is broken up only by EOS, whose EOSINT P 760 takes the number five spot, up three spots from last quarter, although the company was better represented in Q3-2016 with three of the top ten spots.
In terms of trending printers, the number one spot goes, once again, to the Original Prusa i3 MK2, with QoQ growth of 207.8%. The Wanhao Duplicator i3 V2, which held second place last quarter, has now dropped down to number six, while four new printers have climbed up into the top ten: the TEVO Tarantula at number five, the Markforged Mark Two, and, showing once again that it’s all about Monoprice right now, the Monoprice MP Select Mini and Maker Select at two and seven, respectively.
The Top Print Cities list remains unchanged, though with slower overall QoQ growth, as New York City continues to dominate with 585 3D printing services, followed by Los Angeles and London. (Speaking of 3D printing services, don’t forget to check out the new 3D Hubs Events calendar for 2017.)
The Prusa i3, yet again, takes the top spot in the Printer Model Distribution category. The entire category has stayed relatively consistent, with the top four entries remaining unchanged, although the FlashForge Creator Pro has moved up from number seven to number five. In the Printer Manufacturer Distribution category, Ultimaker still holds the number one spot with a one percent lead over MakerBot – a lead that is likely to grow, 3D Hubs predicts, thanks to the recent release of the Ultimaker 3. Also of note, Zortrax has moved ahead of Printrbot for the first time.
It’s always interesting to look at regional differences in 3D printer popularity. The Ultimaker 2 has a huge lead in Europe with a 9.1% market share, and is also the most popular model in the Asia Pacific Region, while the MakerBot Replicator 2 is number one in North and South America. The Replicator 2x is in the top five of all regions except Asia Pacific, with the FlashForge Creator Pro and the Zortrax M200 also appearing more than once.
Interestingly, the criteria for the Popular Printers by Region category seems to have changed a bit, which is why the Prusa i3, which dominated all four regions last quarter, does not appear. According to 3D Hubs, “Prusa i3 and RepRap have been excluded from this list as they refer to multiple printers and not one specific printer model.” The bumping of those two has allowed Sethi3D to reclaim its place as number five in South America.
A couple of categories included in the last 3D Printing Industry Trends report haven’t made it into the new one: namely, Distribution of Industry Spending and Color Distribution, both of which I suspect remain constant enough to not merit inclusion in every report. If white and black are replaced as the two most popular print colors by, say, raspberry and neon green, I want to know about it; until then, I think we can remain confident in the continuing dominance of neutral shades.