A New Study on 3D Printing From Peer Production – The Industry is Slowly Growing into the Mainstream

A new study on 3D printing has been published by the open source research platform Statistical Studies of Peer Production. It’s a follow-up to last year’s first market research activities into 3D printing, which mapped out the basics of the industry, mainly from a commons-based peer production perspective. The data was gathered from three different identified target groups – developers of 3D printing HW and/or SW, early adopters (basically community 3D printing enthusiasts) and 3D printing end users who weren’t interested in any HW tinkering or service development. All three segments were approached via different methods, such as various mailing lists and Facebook groups, promotion on different Twitter feeds and on widely used 3D printing services such as Shapeways, which resulted in n=344 sample size.  The methods utilised for garnering feedback have raised some questions about the reliability of the results, but the larger themes and trends found in the study are something that most industry insiders – and outsiders – to agree with than disagree.

The top four trends found in this year’s round are unsurprisingly related to the growth and expansion of the industry in all sectors. The authors name the increase in the number of 3D printers and printing services as the two most interesting ones. Other follow-worthy themes emphasized in the study are the  growth-related market polarization with crowdsourcing vs more traditional industrial approaches to manufacturing and the general potential and maturing of 3D printing, which is stated as “being on the verge of spreading outside geek communities despite the lack in hardware and software,” based partly on the decreasing trend of respondents’ memberships with hackerspaces and other maker communities.

The detailed study results bring no real surprises considering the target group and the set-up: RepRaps and MakerBot models are clearly the two most popular 3D printers used (within the sample of 344 respondents), Shapeways is the most used 3D printing service (hardly a shock considering the research targeted users) and object quality is the most sought after attribute placed at the top of the future 3D printing wish list.

If you want to take a closer look at the results, hit the source link for more details.

Source: Peer Production