3D printers reach tipping point

3dprinterOver 217,000 3D printers will ship in 2015, but this is only the start of a headlong rush for people buying the devices.

A report from the Gartner Group estimates that 108,151 3D printers will ship this year, but shipments will double between 2015 and 2018.  Worldwide shipments then will be around 2.3 million.

It’s 30 years since the first 3D printers were invented, surprisingly, but unit shipment growth rates were trifling.  Gartner thinks that the 2.3 millin shipments in 2018 are only the beginning of the matter.

Gartner said 3D printers which use material extrusion will be the dominant technology and drivers for 3D printers include models costing less than $1,000, improved quality and a wider range of materials used to  print.

The market will be worth about $6.9 billion in 2018, it predicts as vendors add features and improve performance.