Even though market analysts expect only around 220,000 3D printers to be sold this year (I think they are drastically underestimating the market), this number is expected to grow substantially over the next three to four years. In fact Gartner estimates that by 2018 shipments will top 2.3 million. With millions of individuals expected to purchase a new desktop 3D printer over the next several years, and with literally hundreds of different machines already available on the market, consumers will undoubtedly require a way to compare and sift through them all.
In comes Hamburg, Germany native, Marek Gibney who runs the Product Chart project. In the past Gibney had created incredibly useful comparison charts for product categories such smartphones, laptops, tablets, solid state drives and flash drive. His comprehensive charts have been touted as “The best way To find the perfect laptop for you” on Business Insider, and their usefulness continues to expand as new products are released and added.
Gibney recently decided that with hundreds of 3D printers on the market already, and hundreds more likely to launch over the next couple of years, now would be the perfect time to expand the scope of his project to this new category. Late last week he launched a ProductChart section just for 3D printers, and I have to tell you, it’s awesome!
Currently with close to 140 printers listed, the machines are all initially plotted on a graph based on build volume and price. These ranking, along both the X and Y axes can be changed, so that the graph can base its plots on other information such as printer resolution, speed, or height. When a user places his/her mouse over a particular machine, a treasure trove of relevant information pops up. Users are also able to filter the results to eliminate printers based on a variety of important specifications.
For instance if you want to find all the machines available priced under $1,000, which are assembled and have a print speed greater than 200mm/sec, simply slide the price bar over to $999, the speed bar to 200mm/sec, and check the box at the top of the menu saying ‘Assembled’. The results pop up immediately; in this case, just one printer, the German-made Neo.
Additionally users can search for specific keywords or narrow their search down by brand. The charts are incredibly easy to use and navigate, and the way in which the results are displayed make understanding the various options available a breeze. Certainly Gibney spent a lot of time working on this project and will continue to do so as he adds additional machines to the database. In fact, if you know of a 3D printer which is missing from the chart, Gibney asks that you shoot him an email to email@example.com and he will send you an excel file so that you may enter the key specifications of the machine to be added.
Let us know your thoughts on this incredibly useful tool in the 3D Printer Comparison Chart forum thread on 3DPB.com.