Saturday, 23 January 2016

3D Printing Hype Cycle...

If your not familiar with the Gartner Hype cycle, it graphically represent a technology evolution. I 
Hype Cycle Definition
recently came across this article updating the 3D printer Hype cycle.

Pick out where you think it is. I am making parts for around the house, prototypes to get my ideas clarified for use at work by myself and others. Racing car parts for Greenpower and of course bits for my kids. Would be interested to hear where you are.

The hype cycle seems particularity relevant with the 2015 cull, or recent demise of 3 UK 3D printer companies (though I am pleased to see Nophead has time now to post on his blog again). With market consolidation probably formerly starting in 2011 with 3D Systems and notably in 2013 when Makerbot was acquired by Stratasys.

I imagine 2016 will continue to see a mixture of old kids on the block dipping their toes in the segment. Further consolidation of manufacturers and perhaps even lower cost Chinese sourced devices. Such as the CTC 3D printer.

I saw a print from one of these printers this week. At 290 UKP from e-bay  ( 232 UKP without sales tax or ~ 350 USD ) including shipping. It's not surprising there is some fall out in the UK producers,  if they did not wish to source complete from China. The build quality was "a bit hit and miss in places". The achieved print though was rather acceptable and dimensionally, nominally correct out of the box.

This year it will be interesting to see if there is a general fall in filament prices, or fall out here as well. As there is currently around a 5:1 per kg price range in the market (e.g. Makerbot to CTC). Of course, we see not all filaments are created equally. The old adage, you get what you pay for seems to hold to for filament as well. However the true test, as with MP3 and CD sound, will remain. Just what is good enough?

3D Printer Hype Cycle 2015

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