It’s undeniable that 3D printing is a very popular topic in the tech world.
No wonder. Just a few decades ago, it took a minimum of one year to build a house. Today, we print it! And pretty fast.
The industry of any type has demonstrated a big interest to apply 3D printing technologies.
From aircraft, automotive, and construction to medicine, and also the food industry is improving its products and making the production processes more efficient with the technology of 3d printing.
But, it took a while to achieve this.
As with every technology, 3d printing has evolved over the years, and today we have arrived at the point, where basically everyone can afford to own a 3d printer and print his ideas at home.
The whole evolution process and the complexity of the industry are so interesting, that it simply deserves a post like this.
In this post, we’ll explore some fascinating statistics and facts about the 3D printing industry.
And let’s start with some important facts from the history.
3D Printing history facts
The evolution of 3D printing is filled with many interesting events.
And finally, we are not only able to replace complicated manufacturing processes with modern 3D printing technics, but also every enthusiast can afford to have his little “3D printing studio” at home.
Let’s have a look at how it all began.
1. In 1945, the concept of 3D printing was first time described by genre science writer Murray Leinster (William Fitzgerald Jenkins).
2. In 1971 the first rapid prototyping and controlled on-demand manufacturing patent were filled by Johannes F Gottwald.
3. In 1974, a British magazine called “New Scientist” published the 3D printing concept created by chemist and author David Edward Hugh Jones.
4. In 1980, Hideo Kodama from the Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute published an account of a printed solid model. He invented additive methods for fabricating three-dimensional plastic models with photo-hardening thermoset polymer.
5. The first 3D printing patent in history was filled by American inventor and entrepreneur William Masters in the year 1984. The patent was called Computer Automated Manufacturing Process and System and is the understructure for many 3D printing systems used by companies today.
6. In 1984 cofounder of the 3D Systems filled out the patent for a stereo lithography fabrication system – STL.
7. In 1987 his company 3D Systems Corporation introduced the first commercial 3D printer.
8. In 1988 cofounder of Stratasys, inventor Steven Scott Crump patented the fused deposition modeling (FDM), also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technology.
9. In 1992 Stratasys Ltd. manufacturer of 3D printers introduce the first FDM machine to the market.
10. In 1992 3D Systems Corporation introduced the first stereo lithographic apparatus (SLA) printer.
11. The Fraunhofer Society, a German research organization, developed in 1995 a selective laser melting process (metal additive manufacturing).
12. In the year 1999, the first 3D-printed organ – a bladder – was transplanted into a human.
13. In Morriston Hospital, Swansea in the year 2014, the face of a man after a motorbike incident was reconstructed using 3D printed parts.
14. In 2018 in London, the life of 2 years old boy was saved with a 3D printed kidney from Tri-Tech 3D.
15. In 2010 was printed the world’s first 3D robotic aircraft.
16. In 2011 the world’s first 3D-printed car “The Urbee” was designed by Kor Ecologic.
17. Shanghai based company called WinSun prints in the year 2014 the five-story apartment.
18. Aerospace company Airbus delivers end of 2015 an A350 XWB aircraft to Qatar Airways with over 1000 3D printed parts.
19. In 2016 the first engine of an Airbus was produced with 3D printed fuel nozzles which resulted in 255 weight reduction.
20. General Electric Aviation developed in 2017 helicopter engine with help of 3D printing technology, replacing 900 parts with only 16.
21. The first time in 2018 was 3D printing technology used to create a matrix for cell immobilization in fermentation.
22. The world’s first 3D-printed eye was used for a Patient in November 2021 at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.
Industry stats and facts
The whole industry has very promising prospects. Many companies are recognizing the advantages of 3D printing.
And so the adoption of this technology is taking the trend to another level and forecasts of the industry are constantly upgraded.
The usage of 3D printers among many companies has helped them mostly to reduce their lead times and boost the production of new products.
With the ability to design prototypes, product designers and engineers are now able to bring their innovation to life much faster.
23. Compound annual growth rate (shortly CAGR) in the time period between 2014 and 2019 for the 3D printing industry was 21%.
24. The global 3D printing market for products and services in 2020 was valued at 13.2 billion
25. 68% of engineering businesses have responded to using 3D printing more in 2021 than in 2020.
26. In 2021 the market was valued at 15.10 billion, with the USA leading the market with a 5.72 billion market share.
27. Over 2.2 million 3D printers were sold in 2021.
28. The estimation for 2022 is that the 3D printing market will hit $18.3 billion.
The market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 22.1 % and reach 94 billion in 2030.
29. The market size for 3D printing materials in 2018 was estimated at 1.53 billion and is projected to reach 3.78 billion by 2026.
30. Automotive, Aerospace, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Bioprinting are the biggest market segments with Aerospace leading the market.
31. The 3D printing healthcare market is projected to grow up to 5.8 million by 2030 with a CAGR of 20%.
32. The 3D printing orthopedics market is predicted to grow to $3.7 billion by 2027.
33. 3D-printed dentistry technology is expected to become the leading production method for dental restorations and devices worldwide by 2027.
34. In the period from 2021 to 2026, the 3D-printed footwear market is estimated to grow by USD 1.62 billion at a CAGR of 19.86% during the forecast period.
35. The size of the 3D printing construction market is estimated at USD 11 million in 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 100.7% till 2030. The end-user segment is leading with a share of 73%.
36. Montenegro is the leader among central and eastern European countries with the highest share of enterprises using 3D printing, followed by the Czech Republic.
37. Fused Deposition Modeling, shortly FDM is the most commonly used 3D printing process with Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) as the second most used 3D printing technology.
38. Additive manufacturing and 3D printing devices are expected to grow by 2030 to over 2.7 million.
39. The cost of a 3D printer in the 1980s was around $300,000, which would be 900,000 dollars today.
40. Plastic is the most used material in 3d printing among powder, resins, carbon fiber, metal, paper, graphite, and graphene.
41. The most used application of 3D printing is prototyping.
42. According to a hubs.com survey, in 2021 were 68% more parts produced with 3D printers than a year before.
43. Faster lead times are the most common decision factor why engineers prefer to 3D print parts.
44. In the 2022 survey, 49% of respondents used 3D printing for production runs of more than 10 parts.
45. According to a statista.com survey, for 36 percent of respondents, accelerating product development is the top 3D printing-related priority.
3D Printing companies stats and facts
Some interesting stats about the biggest companies in the space.
There are well-established companies with long-term involvement in 3D printing like 3D systems or Stratasys Ltd.
46. The world’s largest aerospace company Boeing reported saving $3 million from adopting 3D printing for titanium parts.
47. With a revenue of 615 million in 2021, 3D Systems is the biggest company among all 3D printing manufacturers, followed by Proto Labs inc.
48. The biggest software provider in the industry is AutoDesk, with annual revenue of 4.39 billion in 2022.
49. Creality with his Ender 3 is the biggest favorite under beginners, with over 800,000 shipments worldwide.
50. In the United States, General Electric is leading with the most registered 3D printing patents.
Facts and stats about the biggest 3D projects
I couldn’t skip this section. As 3D printing enthusiasts, we all probably love to see the biggest innovations from space.
It’s just amazing. 50 years ago, this was just an exciting idea, today 3D printing technology is revolutionizing and shaping many industries.
And without a doubt, “the printed parts” are serving not only humans, but they are helping to solve serious environmental problems.
This is just a fraction of all the innovative projects running today that would deserve to be placed on this list.
51. The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center has introduced 2021 the first 3D printed house, build entirely from bio-based materials.
52. The company Mighty Buildings 2022 has produced the first 3D-printed “net-zero” home. The 1,171-square-foot (159-square meter) house will produce as much energy as it consumes.
53. Polyformer – an open-source 3D printing Canadian project, which aims to produce sustainable machines that turn plastic bottles into filaments for 3D printing – won The James Dyson Award for Global Sustainability 2022.
54. In 2023 starts the reservation for one of the most advanced 3D printing project in history. ICON – a 3D printing company, and Lennar – one of the biggest home building corporations in the US – will “print” 100 modern designed homes using advanced robotic and 3D printing technologies.
55. For Lego enthusiasts, the company is making the second 3D printed element available at Lego House in Billund, Denmark, using the selective laser sintering process. For those who visit the factory, Lego is offering the opportunity to design their own Lego figure.
56. Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) with its scientists has designed a 3D-printed pneumatic hand with customizable muscle’s contraction.
57. In 2022, the international deep-tech food company Foods LTD organized the first US tasting event in San Francisco.
The fascinating world of 3D printing is full of interesting statistics and facts.
Me and the researcher team, we made this collection to demonstrate all: the past, present, and future potential of the whole industry.
We love to see how the space is growing, but mostly, we are happy to see that everyone nowadays can afford to be a part of it.
And if you have any interesting facts, that you believe should be on this list, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
We took the information’s from the following resources: