Demand growing for home use of 3D printing

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: November 26, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Machinery, Design

MONTREAL (Nov. 26, 11:35 a.m. ET) — Home use of 3D printing systems will be the fastest growing market for the technologies, according to a speaker at Expoplast12.

“North American demand is about $1.7 billion in products and services,” said Vincent Laithier, sales manager of Axis Prototypes, a 3D printing and prototype producer based in Saint-Leonard, Quebec. “The market will double in size in the next four years, primarily from home printers.”

Laithier was addressing delegates at the Innovation Briefs seminars held at Expoplast, held Nov. 14-15 in Montreal.  Laithier was citing statistics generated by Wohlers Associates Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo.

Home use will include consumers making replacement electronic parts and appliance parts from CAD drawings downloaded from Websites. In the future consumers could elect to make their own toys using 3D printing. A novel use will be creating 3D family portraits from 2D photographs, he predicted.

Laithier said 3D printing began in 1986 when the first stereolithography machines hit the market. More technologies were developed and in 2003 direct metal laser sintering became available. Axis added metal laser sintering to its capabilities recently and at Expoplast it was featuring in its booth stainless steel parts made that way.

Laithier said the biggest current market for 3D printing is consumer products, representing 24 percent of demand. That sector is followed by motor vehicles (19 percent), medical/dental (13 percent), business machines (10 percent), aerospace (8 percent), government/military (7 percent), architecture (4 percent), academia (4 percent) and other, including home use, (6 percent).

Rapid manufacturing is a fast-growing area, opined Laithier. Aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co., for example, uses selective laser sintering for short runs of parts.

Advantages of 3D printing include no tooling costs, no inventory costs, shorter time to market, ability to innovate during development and make major changes to the critical path of part development.

Toy producer Mega Bloks of Montreal uses 3D printing to create prototypes which it can show to retail buyers to help them decide to pre-book orders before the actual toys are molded.

Laithier said one of the major recent market shifts occurred in spring 2012, when Stratasys Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn., merged with Objet Ltd. of Rehovot, Israel.

Axis has more than 15 years of experience in 3D printing.


Comments

Demand growing for home use of 3D printing

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: November 26, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Design, materials, engineering finding a faster way forward

August 27, 2014 1:50 pm ET

Engineering and design specialists at Altair Thinklabs and Eastman Chemical Co. have developed prototypes that would not just help Paralympics...    More

Image

Design Stories: Young designers showing the way in adaptive design

August 27, 2014 12:12 pm ET

Amanda Bolton, then 19, decided to change her major at the University of Cincinnati from fine arts to industrial design, creating products for people ...    More

Image

Haitian to start assembly of injection presses in India

August 25, 2014 2:59 pm ET

Chinese press maker Haitian International Holdings Ltd. plans to expand its operation in India.    More

Image

Prosthetic arm concept wins in student thermoforming competition

August 22, 2014 1:56 pm ET

Pressure forming company Freetech Plastics Inc. has returned with its annual Student Thermoformed Part Competition, intended to expand the exposure...    More

Image

Reiloy Westland to build new headquarters

August 22, 2014 12:53 pm ET

Reiloy Westland Corp. will build a 45,000-square-foot headquarters factory, as the Kansas maker of screws and barrels expands under the ownership of G...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events