3D Printing Hits the Peak of the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies

The Gartner Hype Cycle graphic has been used since 1995 to highlight the common pattern of overenthusiasm, disillusionment and eventual realism that accompanies each new technology and innovation. The Hype Cycle Special Report is released annually to track ‘emerging’ technologies along this cycle and provide guidance on when organizations should adopt them for maximum impact and value.  3D Printing has been steadily climbing to the peak of ‘Inflated Expectations’ over the past few years and now sits on top, poised for the drop into the ‘Trough of Disillusionment, or is it.

It seems in the 2012 report they clarify 3D Printing as 3D Print It at Home, not 3D Printing in general and this does change things considerably.  

In this scenario, 3D printing allows consumers to print physical objects, such as toys or housewares, at home, just as they print digital photos today. Combined with 3D scanning, it may be possible to scan certain objects with a smartphone and print a near-duplicate. Analysts predict that 3D printing will take more than five years to mature beyond the niche market.

Although we agree that 3D Printing is not yet being used by everyone around the world, the awareness and use is growing incredibly fast, and we are betting with all of our time and energy that it will reach the ‘Plateau of Productivity’ in WAY under the 5-10 years that Gartner predicts. Looking at the growth of Desktop 3D Printing over the past 3 years we have seen an incredible improvement in the quality of the 3D Printers, a considerable drop in price and massive variation (on a theme/patent)

There is a very good chance that we will see even greater growth out of the niche, and into the mainstream as Shapeways ramps up production in the USA (new machines being installed right now, eeeek), Obama invests in additive manufacturing, and the Shapeways continues to grow, designing AMAZING 3D Printed products that make it into the hands of people all around the world….

Where do YOU think 3D Printing is on the Hype Cycle??? 


  1. Anna

    I sit at the top of the idea that 3d printing is groundbreaking…..anyone from Shapeways free to come on The Engaging Brand podcast to share their thoughts?
    For me it could crush the traditional model of making money and yet companies are just not thinking about it?

  2. maixj

    I really appreciate the advent of 3D print technology. I am in China and eager to find a way to initiate my own business. I believe 3D print will be a good chance for me. Now I am preparing……:)

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