c1Back in October of 2001 Apple launched their popular piece of music hardware called the iPod. Initially, skeptics were weary whether or not this tiny gadget would be yet another flop in a string of hardware woes produced by the once thriving PC manufacturer. To the surprise of many investors and skeptics alike, Apple reignited their innovative ways, sparking what would become the world’s most valuable company. It wasn’t just the hardware which set the company back on track, however. In fact iTunes was what drove iPod sales. Without content there would not have been a market.

As we find ourselves in the first inning of the desktop 3D printing games, an analogy can be made with that of the example above. Just like iTunes made the market for mobile digital music players, 3D models will make the market for consumer-based desktop 3D printers. Without available printable models, there will be little desire to purchase a 3D printer. Just like the majority of individuals don’t make their own music that they listen to, the majority of 3D printing enthusiasts will not be making their own designs.c2

CGTrader, an online community and marketplace for 3D graphics and 3D printing specialists, understands this, and has taken a designer friendly approach. The marketplace has grown substantially, spurred on in large part from the rapidly expanding 3D printing space. Today, the company announced that they have added their 100,000th design professional to their membership. In doing so, they have grown by a remarkable 10,000% in the last 24 months.

“Our staggering growth provides a good indication that the 3D graphics and printing industries are thriving,” said Dalia Lasaite, CMO of CGTrader. “As arguments continue about the consumerization of 3D printing, we recognize that the views here on the front line are quite different. It’s not just the number of designers but the talent levels of these individuals that make out community understand that 3D is no passing thing. The explosion is not imminent, it’s already happening.”

CGTrader was founded back in 2001 by artist, and now CEO Marius Kalytis. Kalytis knew that in order to succeed he would have to offer incredible royalty deals to his designers. What started out as a handful of designers has become a thriving community of highly skilled individuals who cater to both 3D printing enthusiasts as well as those seeking 3-dimensional designs for other applications.

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“We focused entirely on empowering 3D designers by giving them all the support we could think of: helping them sell, share and improve their work, take custom jobs and choose their clients,” added Kalytis. “This is a kind of freedom that I was seeking for myself and that every artist deserves. Just over a year ago, CGTrader had an active community of 1,500 3D designers and now, we estimate that around 10% of world’s 3D designers are engaged on our platform.”

This incredible growth is a testament to the enthusiasm seen within the 3D modeling and printing space. It will certainly be interesting to see if CGTrader can continue their torrid growth in the months and years ahead, as 3D printing slowly works its way into the mainstream.

Are you a CGTrader designer? Have you purchased a model on the platform? Discuss in the CGTrader Growth forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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