If there was a census bureau for the 3D printing industry, it would probably look a lot like 3D Hubs, except for the unique twist that the company puts on the ability to share 3D printers. Okay, so maybe there is a lot more to 3D Hubs than simply gathering data and then presenting it to the public, but they certainly do a tremendous job with their monthly trend reports.
In this month’s report, there is a bit of an added bonus. Other than providing details on the top rated 3D printers, the month’s trending printers, and geographic details on where these 3D printers are the most popular, they added a little twist to the latest report.
Last month, in the 3D Hubs 2015 3D Printer Guide, they asked users which 3D printer(s) they will buy next. The results that they got back (based on 2,279 certified 3D Hubs) are quite interesting.
When it came to which 3D printers these hubs were interested in purchasing next, two machines stood above the rest. They were the Ultimaker 2 FFF-based 3D printer and the Form 1+ SLA-based printer. As you can see in the chart below, there really was no other competition for these two.
Another interesting question that the hubs were asked was if they planned to buy their next 3D printer from the same company as their current machine(s). This question goes a long way in providing details on how loyal a company’s customers are. Loyalty means that the customers are very satisfied with the product that these companies have to offer. When it comes to loyalty, LulzBot takes the cake, according to this report. They are the undisputed winner of this category, although Zortrax, Ultimaker, and WASP came in pretty close with a loyal following of their own.
When it comes to the top rated 3D printers, the Form 1+ held on to the top spot this month with an average print quality rating of 4.83. A surprising new printer debuted on the list as a very close second. The $700 CTC-3D Printer came in at a close second with a quality rating of 4.82. This printer is a Replicator-based machine that apparently works quite well. Perhaps this is proof that there are in fact some quality 3D printer manufacturers based in China.
As for the industrial-level 3D printers, three machines were tied for first place on the list, as far as quality ratings go. The Projet 3500 HDMax by 3D Systems, the Objet Eden 260 by Stratasys, and the ProJet 460Plus by 3D Systems all received a quality rating of a perfect 5 stars.
Trends are something that 3D Hubs take pretty seriously when reporting on data, and this month’s top trending printer is the FlashForge Creator Pro, which is a dual extrusion FFF-based 3D printer that is priced under $1400. It was followed by the Printrbot Simple Metal, which jumped from the 17th spot last month, and another newcomer to the list, the DeltaWASP.
When it comes to 3D Hubs’ locations, New York City has featured the greatest number of hubs for quite some time now. Currently with 176 hubs, which is a 10.7% growth from last month, the city that never sleeps holds quite a lead over second place Milan and third place London.
The most popular 3D printers in North America are two machines from MakerBot: the Replicator 2 and Replicator 2X. In Europe, the Ultimaker 2 takes the top spot away from its predecessor, the Ultimaker Original Plus, and is followed closely by the Prusa i3.
In Asia, the MakerBot Replicator 2 continues to hold the top spot, and in South America, the Prusa i3 jumped ahead of RepRap and the Replicator 2x.
This month saw 3D Hubs surpass the 10,000 3D printer milestone, and that number now stands at 10,521 3D printers worldwide. What do you think of this month’s 3D Hubs trends? Discuss in the 3D Hubs forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the entire report at 3DHubs.com.