Gartner’s hype cycle for 3D printing

Gartner’s hype cycle for 3D printing

Hi there!

In this post we’ll share some interesting patterns which evolved in the 3D printing technologies as they happened over the last few years.

The most popular 3D printing technology

The biggest interesting observation is that FDM has established itself as the peoples’ 3D printing technology of choice. FDM based machines ahve made their way in peoples’ homes and offices for good.

Speaking of myself, as a person who witnessed this while being a part of it, this effectively means that when in 2012, when we used to receive all the reasons from customers why FDM isn’t good enough, and today when FDM is solving quite a good bit of users’ problems, it has made us understand how any technology evolves and gets established, how perceptions change, and how limitations don’t mean uselessness. It also showed us how the whole ecosystem comes together to establish or precipitate the adoption of a technology, with technology itself being only one part of the whole story.

In FDM’s case, it is definitely the materials ecosystem. It is the eagerness with which thousands of innovators jumped in to make filaments of all types and sorts, which are compatible with FDM. This simply tipped the balance solidly in favour of FDM, despite all its limitations on paper.

It is like one giant equation of nature with variables being players in the whole world, and the final solution can be anybody’s prediction.

And it is probably one of the first, of not THE first collective commercial success of humanity, when we worked together and took care of various tidbits of the larger picture, and ushered ourselves into 3D printing. This was definitely not the case with earlier revolutions e.g. of the transistor or the computer, when there was a small special group which did most of the load lifting.

Interestingly, the timing also matches with the start of the path for an Entrepreneurial India. This definitely is a great time to be living!

Gartner’s hype cycles for 3D printing

For your musing, here is an interesting something. Over the years that our 3D printers have existed (2012 to 2015), here are the three gartner‘s hype cycles:

In 2012:

See! Right on top! Maximum inflated expectations, maximum hype, and technology said to be ready in next 5 to 10 years.
Note that there is a single “3D printing” identified here! This is when the first of our printers was putting out parts, and making it in hands of their first users who loved to be on the bleeding edge like ourselves!
Here is how it looked In 2013:

Note that Consumer and enterprise 3D printing was identified clearly by now, and it was understood that while consumers still needed to go another 5-10 years, the enterprise 3D printing would be mainstream in 2 to 5 years.
Incidentally, this was by when we had realized the importance and requirements of serious 3D printers, pulled the plug on the Reality 3D printers (the hobby ones) and launched the ProtoCentre 999 in Oct 2013, India’s solution to serious 3D printing.
Here is the hype cycle for 2014:

The consumer 3D printing has shaved 1 or 2 years off from being real, but still some time to go. Enterprise 3D printing was on its way to be real and here.
Here at Aha3D, we were installing ProtoCentre 999 machines at distinguished places, and were literally travelling the slope that you see above! Including the hype, disillusionment, inflated expectations, facing and dispelling the same, and providing real industrial solutions and happy customers.

And finally, 2015:

2015 kept seeing ​3D printing plodding its way surely and steadily into peoples’ lives. We at Aha3D have been plodding away at proving more industrial applications of 3D printing. We’ll keep you posted on the same!
You may also like to read about Aha3D 3D printers, the ProtoCentre 999 and the Aha Star, which are trailblazing in their own segments!