More than 750,000 items were 3D printed by a user community of more than 100,000.
The consumer-based 3D printing revolution received a lot of press in 2011, with a variety of companies enjoying rapid growth. One of them, Brooklyn-based Shapeways, has published an infograph to show just how strong the growth actually was. (For more background on Shapeways, read the June 2011 GraphicSpeak article, “Shapeways seeks to lead personal manufacturing revolution.”)
Shapeways offers its 3D printing services as an online community and marketplace for personalized production where, it says, “anyone can make, buy, and sell their own creations.” Custom-made products are created one-of-a-kind and on-demand in a variety of materials using the latest 3D printing technologies from several hardware vendors. In recent months Shapeways has added food-safe ceramic, silver, and gold to the list of materials available to customers, which already includes glass and a variety of metals and plastics. New products are added to the inventory daily from their maker-members, and include model train parts, home décor products, and custom jewelry.
Key points from the infograph:
- Income to “shop owners” in 2011 was almost triple the income earned by them in 2008-2010;
- Shapeways printed more than 750,000 items in 2011;
- There are more than 100,000 members of the Shapeways user community.
Shapeways is a 2007 spin-out from the technology incubator at Royal Philips Electronics, and maintains a production office in The Netherlands as well as in the US.