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??? 

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  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……:)

  3. KevinBorg

    Hi shapeways,
    I love your site and what you do.

    i thought about 3d printing a maybe a year and a half ago.
    and started buying up 3d printing names.

    I think 3D Printing is going to be just huge,
    especially in certain areas, 3D Printed Organs
    which they are doing now, 3D Bone Printing
    which is happening now.
    Helping handicapped people who need Prosthetic limbs
    are also getting them printed now.

    The cost of 1 off items will drop like a rock, due to the
    savings in not having to make dies and templates.

    Remember the Chinese Olympics with their Birdsnest
    Main stadium, the company that won the contract
    presented the Chinese Government a miniature version
    of the exact stadium printed on a 3d printer, which they
    had to print in sections due to it’s complexity.

    I also registered for the new .Build domain extension.
    And i was lucky enough i feel to be able to grab
    a few good names, and now after coming across
    Shapeways i feel I will get a chance to launch them.

    As time goes by and looking at the Gartner Graph
    i feel they will become more and more valuable
    as time goes on.

    A couple of the ones i bought were
    3DPrinter.build, 3DPC.build, 3DU.build, 3DYou.build, Mega3D.build.

    And one other one that was not related, but felt it would be a very good
    name to have because of the amount of searches it gets per day is
    phenomenal, and this one was the hardest to buy, as we had a
    few fights with a few companies claiming copyright infringement
    against us was “Health.Build”.
    In the end after legal fees for lawyers etc we were awarded the
    domain name ownership in May this year.
    So were over the moon to Win that auction.

    And as you all know Health is a huge industry online so to have that
    1 word keyword in our Domain Name is a great start.

    As time goes by these names will become very hard to find and buy,
    in the 3d Printing Industry, as Forbes called it “The Next Trillion Dollar Industry”
    so with Shapeways ill be able to provide my customers with a
    great selection of professional services that are on the cutting edge
    of new and emerging technology and with some great Keyword
    domain names, I am hoping to become part of a rapidly growing
    industry that is on the crest of the wave, I can’t wait to get started.

    That’s my few cents worth, and thanks to Shapeways for a great
    site and awesome services.
    All the best.

    Kev Borg

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