It's hard to get a grip on the scope of how much various industries mean to the world's economic engine, but try this on for size.

A new report from SmarTech Markets Publishing, an industry analyst firm, projects that by the year 2019, sales of 3D printed products for the medical and dental markets will reach $2.8 billion, with 3D printing equipment like printers and scanners accounting for nearly $675 million of that number.

To put that in perspective, analysts at IBISWorld say that the recordable media manufacturing industry will generate some $3.31 billion in that time period. While it's a fact that technological shifts like on-demand digital media have damaged the makers of tapes and disks, it's a harbinger of things to come for manufacturers in general and a touchstone for comparison of market sizes.

Leading 3D printer firms such as Afinia, EOS, EnvisionTEC and 3D Systems have made no bones, as it were, about their targeting of the medical and dental manufacturing sectors, and the players in those markets are developing strategies to cope with some of the toughest materials and regulatory requirements to be found.

The SmarTech report says the juiciest revenue opportunities for 3D printed medical and dental products are in the market for hip implants, and that sector is expected to generate almost $690 million by 2019. 3D printing, which can easily create porous structures allowing bone growth, has a leg up over conventional production methods.

The dental products market is also a venue for revenue growth with 3D printed crowns, caps and bridges expected to reach sales of $400 million by 2019. Again, such products are exceptionally well suited to 3D printing technology, relying as they do on the creation of small, intricate parts.

The SmarTech report is a ten-year sales forecast of the products expected to be 3D printed for medical and dental markets using 3D printers, and the equipment, software and materials involved.

Covered in this report are medical models, cutting and drill guides, hip implants, cranial facial implants, prostheses, crowns and caps, bridges, dental abutments and screws, partial dentures, temporary dental fittings, and orthodontic aligner models.

The forecasts for printer hardware and materials used are broken out by type of material and type of application.

As well as the raw numbers, the report also provides analysis of the product and marketing strategies of leading 3D firms like 3D Systems, 3Shape, AB Dental, Arcam, Argen Digital, Autodesk, BEGO, Bespoke Modeling, Concept Laser, Dassault, DENTORUM, DWS, EnvisionTEC, EOS, Geomagics, Innovation Meditech, Lima Corporate, Materialise, Medical Modeling, Optomec, RapidShape, Renishaw, SLM Solutions, Solidscape, Stratasys, VSG and Within Labs.

For more information, and to get your hands on a complimentary extract of the report, contact Lawrence Gasman at