YouMagine is an online community of 3D printing enthusiasts, and in order to improve their service and offerings, they conducted a survey of just over 500 of their members.
Now that they’ve analyzed the feedback and input and suggestions, they’ve published the results on their blog.
They do offer a few caveats to help explain the results of the survey.
Joris Peels, the community manager for YouMagine, says that even though 501 respondents is a relatively large sample, there were some significant limitations to how the results should be viewed.
He says that, of course, the people who are likely to complete a survey will tend to be predisposed to caring about the subject of the survey, and as the YouMagine community is largely made up of people who are “passionate about open source and open hardware,” the survey is likely skewed towards experienced 3D printer operators. He adds that his company’s association with 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker might also affect the outcome of some areas of the survey.
But some of the input was taken from clearly unbiased data such as Google Analytics. This source, for instance, informs YouMagine that its community members hail from 218 countries around the world; however, responses to the survey came back from 49 different countries.
Peels says YouMagine wants to make sure their philosophy of Distributed Innovation will result in tools their community can use to build a “roadmap” to drive the platform going forward, and in addition, give people an insight into what’s happening in the 3D printing sphere overall.
One way they’ve made it a little easier to digest the information was a set of illustrations by designer Alexey Butakov, and they are rather nice.
One of the major findings of the survey is that users are very much worried about the reliability of 3D printers, and those respondents said that, in order to improve the overall experience of 3D printing, better software, electronics, materials and machines will be a must requirement.
The survey also found, perhaps to no one’s surprise, that users want larger build volumes and faster 3D printers, and they added that the cost of such devices would not be an issue for a number of them.
The 501 respondents also said that, on average, they 3D printed 21 objects per month and that fully 34% of the community use their 3D printer every day. While 11% said they only use their 3D printer on rare occasions, some 50% of the community say they use their printer at least 4 times a week. When it comes to slicing software, 58% of respondents say they use Cura, 23% use Slic3r, and Simplify3D came in with a market share of 10%.
So what do users print? The survey found that the single most popular category of items were household objects with practical applications such as hooks, housings, and repair parts. The second category of items fell under the umbrella of 3D printer enhancements like spool holders, camera mounts and fan mounts, calibration tools, bearings, and brackets.
As for filament suppliers, colorFabb topped the list, followed closely by Faberdashery and Amazon. Of course, “other” and “haven’t found one yet” proved the most popular options, leaving room for those in the space to up their game.
You can check out the details of the survey here on the YouMagine site.
Are you a member of YouMagine or have you ever download design files from the site? Let us know in the YouMagine Survey forum thread on 3DPB.com.