Ian Forsyth

A new report says the market for personal 3D printing products and services will reach $1.05 billion by 2019.

This latest report from SmarTech Markets Publishing entitled Personal 3D Printing Markets: 2014 – 2023, says equipment will represent the largest chunk of the activity in the personal 3D printing markets, accounting for 65% of the total. The report also notes that the gap between large personal printing companies and lean newcomers will close over the course of the next ten years.

"As we see a dizzying number of companies popping up seemingly overnight, a few players are really beginning to distinguish themselves as a cut above the rest," says the author of the report, Senior Business Analyst Ian Forsyth. "We believe Afinia, Formlabs, PrintrBot, and Ultimaker have the management, expertise, and vision to continue to grow their already impressive customer base in this area."

The report identifies key developments happening in the personal 3D printing space and is focused on key opportunities in equipment, materials, software, services, scanners, and peripherals.

Total Personal 3DP Market

"Over the last twelve months, I have been asked countless times what products I think about when trying to gauge the potential size of the personal 3DP addressable market," Forsyth said. "The two industries I keep revisiting are microwave ovens and powered lawn care equipment. These two industries bear remarkable parallels to the 3DP industry. Optimists tend to refer to microwave ovens as the best comparison. Like microwave ovens, personal 3DP will be in high demand because of the high value that microwave ovens can bring to users. Experts who use this analogy believe that 3DP creation will become more and more intuitive, to the point where you only need to click a few buttons to produce a printed object on demand. Most professionals use this analogy to argue that mass adoption of personal 3DP equipment, when it occurs, will be rapid, just like (that of) microwaves, which went from anonymous to ubiquitous in only a few years."

The report breaks down the current structure of the industry and cites major players like 3D Systems, HP, Stratasys, Beijing Tiertime, Afinia, Fabbster, HP, Printrbot, Aleph Objects, Formlabs, Solidoodle, Ultimaker, Zortrax, Airwolf 3D, FlashForge, Type A Machines, HoneyPoint 3D, Hyrel 3D, MakerBot and others.

But it's Forsyth's lawnmower analogy which is sure to get some attention.

He says that product category bears a remarkable resemblance to the personal 3DP market with their similar price points. He says the potential market for lawn care equipment resembles the potential market for personal 3D printing equipment in that "not all homeowners own lawns that require substantial mowing equipment, and a percentage of home owners with lawns choose to outsource lawn care, instead of spending the time and effort of doing it themselves."

Does that sound familiar? It does to Forsyth and he said he sees these same tendencies occurring in the personal 3D printing market and the service bureau revolution now underway.

"Personal 3DP may not fit the needs of some consumers. Meanwhile, other consumers may choose to simply outsource the benefits that 3DP can bring to their products to outside manufacturers or service bureaus," he said.

As for other nascent markets, Forsyth has this take:

"An increasing installation base of printers will also yield large opportunities for 3D printing peripherals," he says. "Large 3D printing online communities create major opportunities for 'killer apps' in the form of co-creation software and ways that allow users to interact with CAD/CAM designs in new and intuitive ways."

If you'd like to check out the report in full, you can see it here: www.smartechpublishing.com.