World's largest 3D printer network reveals industry secrets

3D Hubs sharing insights on how more than 1,100 3D printers are being used

03 OCTOBER 2013, AMSTERDAM
Summary
3D Hubs, world's largest network of 3D printers, shares publicly how 3D printing is being used and which 3D printers, materials and colors are most popular. Out of 1,100 printers, Ultimaker and Makerbot are the brands signed up most. Ultimaker is taking the lead in Europe and Makerbot in the USA. They are mainly used to make prototypes and all kinds of gadgets, such as customized smartphone and camera cases. White is the preferred color, followed by blue, red and green.

3D Hubs, (http://www.3dhubs.com), the world’s largest collaborative production platform for 3D printer owners and makers, announced the publication today of an industry report on 3D printing trends. Utilizing data from its network of over 1,100 3D printers, the 3D Hubs Trend Report reveals statistics and insights into the ways 3D printers are being used, and which 3D printers, materials and colors are the most popular. 3D Hubs is adding approximately 100 new 3D printers per week to its network, with 651 3D printers now active in Europe, and 239 3D printers now active in the United States. Cities within Europe are considered “unlocked” once 10 3D printers have been listed, while cities outside Europe are unlocked once 20 3D printers are listed. Los Angeles recently became the first unlocked city in the United States. Each of the unlocked cities is generating daily print jobs, which provide 3D Hubs with insights into what is actually being made. The full 3D Hubs Trend Report can be viewed at http://www.3dhubs.com/trends

Highlights of the 3D Hubs Trend Report include:

  • 3D printer brands: Ultimaker and Makerbot currently account for a combined 40.4 percent of the more than 1,100 3D printers on the 3D Hubs network, followed by RepRap (11 percent) and Prusa Mendel (7.3 percent) amongst others. Makerbot leads in the United States and Ultimaker leads in Europe. 
  • Prototypes: The number one use case is still prototypes, however more and more end products have begun to be printed. Gadgets, phone accessories, gifts, toys and fashion items like jewelry currently make up more than half of the platforms’ print jobs. 
  • Colors and materials: Given that desktop printers represent 90 percent of the 3D Hubs network, it is not surprising that plastics like ABS and PLA make up about 80 percent of the 3D printer materials available. Other popular materials include nylon, wood and flexible rubber-like materials. Customers can order these materials in a variety of different colors, however, white is currently the most offered color (15.7 percent), followed by blue (14.5 percent), red (14.1 percent), and green (12.9 percent). More exotic colors are also being offered including gold, silver and glow-in-the-dark colors. 

 

How 3D Hubs Works

The majority of 3D printer owners use their device less than 10 hours a week, and 3D Hubs harnesses the remaining 95 percent idle time. Printer owners earn money when their 3D printer is not in use, and simultaneously establish social connections within their local 3D maker community. 3D printer owners simply join the Hubs listing in their city to offer 3D printing services in their neighborhood. Each Hub decides how much money it wants to earn, and sets its own start-up price for a 3D print, plus additional fee charges for each cubic centimeter of material used. 3D Hubs performs a 3D model repair check using Netfabb cloud software for each order to ensure the uploaded 3D-model is watertight, automatically repairs it if necessary, and once the 3D-model passes inspection, the order is processed and forwarded to the Hub. 3D Hubs adds a 15 percent commission (excluding any applicable taxes) on top of the price entered for each customer quote, processes the order, and collects the payment. Customers use 3D Hubs to locate 3D printer owners in their neighborhood, and then order and pick up sustainable, locally printed objects in a matter of days instead of weeks – something that sets 3D Hubs apart from centralized 3D printing services. 

According to 2013 report from Gartner, “3D printing is a technology accelerating to mainstream adoption, and 3D printers are now priced so that any size business can invest in them and start experimenting with the myriad ways to monetize them. The material science behind 3D printing processes and materials will continue to progress, and affordable 3D printers are lowering the cost of entry into manufacturing in the same way that e-commerce lowered the barriers to the sale of goods and services. As a result, the 3D printer market will continue moving from niche adoption to broad acceptance, driven by lower printer prices, the potential for cost and time savings, greater capabilities, and improved performance that drives benefits and markets.” 

About 3D Hubs

3D Hubs is a collaborative production platform for 3D printer owners and 3D makers. We are on a mission to make 3D printing accessible to everyone by unlocking the world’s idle 3D printers, facilitating transactions between 3D printer owners (Hubs) and people that want to make 3D prints (makers). 3D Hubs is the world’s largest network of 3D printers with over 1,100 printing locations across 200 cities (and counting), helping people print 3D customized products locally every day. Based in Amsterdam and founded in April 2013 by two former 3D Systems employees, 3D Hubs is a privately held company backed by Balderton Capital and Rockstart Accelerator. View a video demonstration of how 3D Hubs works, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, or learn more at http://www.3dhubs.com.

Quotes
"3D printing is a disruptive technology that people are beginning to embrace, and given our unique position within the sector, we thought it would be interesting to highlight emerging trends we’ve started to see on the 3D Hubs network" Brian Garret, CTO and co-founder of 3D Hubs
Videos
About 3D Hubs

3D Hubs is the fastest 3D print solution for product designers and engineers that do prototyping and short production runs. With service providers connected in over 160 countries, 3D Hubs is the world’s largest network of 3D printing services. 3D Hubs was founded in April 2013 in Amsterdam.

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