3D Printing

CAD Users Don’t Really Use 3D Printing, But They Plan To

A recent survey about CAD software conducted by telecom research firm Business Advantage Group offers a bit of insight about how 3D printing technology is (or is not) utilized by CAD software users.  The study, titled “2014 Worldwide CAD Trends Survey”, demonstrates the many advantages that 3D printing offers businesses that rely on CAD. More interestingly, however, is the fact that provides some interesting insight into the lack of 3D printing use by its 409 survey participants.

benefits CAD 3D Printing

The survey points out some of the benefits of 3D printing that have invariably already been pointed out in a number of 3DPI posts and elsewhere, but here are some of the things that CAD users who currently work with or plan to work with 3D printing are saying about the technology.  63% of CAD users who already utilize 3D printing ,or plan to, see the technology as aiding them in design improvements. 54% said it saved them design time; 24% said that 3D printing saves them in overall costs, and 38% said that the technology gives them faster response times to market.

usage CAD Trends 2014 3D Printing

Those that use 3D printing technology, though, represented only a small portion of the 409 participants of the survey. Chris Turner, CEO and Managing Director of Business Advantage, describes the survey’s results, “3D Printing is currently used by 14% of the CAD users surveyed and strong future growth is anticipated.  By the end of this year 21% expect to be using 3D Printers and in the next 5 years 32% expect to be using 3D Printing.  This growth is likely in all sectors and regions although current usage by region shows higher usage in the Americas (26%) than in EMEA (12%) and Asia Pacific (11%) as well as higher usage in large companies (28%) than in medium (16%) or in small (6%). Of course this survey is with users of CAD technology so it is only predicting growth related to that audience whereas 3D Printing has other applications (e.g. so called additive manufacturing), so its overall market growth is probably higher than this survey is predicting.  Perhaps less encouraging for 3D Printer manufacturers is the very low brand recognition among CAD users — the majority could not name their brand of 3D Printer.

The survey included users of a number of CAD software packages, from AutoCAD to SketchUp to SolidWorks. On the one hand, this might mean that 3D printer manufacturers haven’t targeted CAD users enough with their marketing. On the other, it could signify the lack of importance that the technology has among CAD users.  Or, if you look at it with a glass-half-full sort of attitude, you might look at the results by saying that there’s plenty of room for growth among the CAD community, as the planned use for 3D printing among the respondents suggests an increase to 32% in the next five years.

For the full survey and how CAD users relate to trends like the rise in open-source CAD software or “Pay As You Go” CAD software, visit the 2014 Worldwide CAD Trends Survey.

Source: MCADCafé