3D Printing is an exciting industry that saw a lot of development this year. From my perspective, metal 3D printing is exploding, materials are getting stronger, and processes are becoming faster and more precise. But, what were the biggest 3D printing trends of 2018? What were people around the world really excited about and searching for? What made headlines in 2018 that nobody talked about in years’ past? To try to figure out what the biggest 3D printing trends of 2018 were, I turned to Google Trends.
Google Trends tracks what people search for all over the world, and makes some of that information publicly searchable. This means we can search for anything – in this case 3D Printing – and see what areas were most popular.
If you want to watch how I came to these conclusions, feel free to watch the video of me navigating the biggest 3D printing trends. If not, then without further delay, here are the three biggest 3D printing trends of 2018, according to google trends.
#3 – The $10,000 3D Printed House
The Icon 3D Printed House (link) took the #9 and #12 spots on the Google Trends top queries related to 3D Printing. This house took 48 hours to build for roughly $10,000, which caused it to become wildly popular online. The Texas-based company later secured $9 Million in seed funding to grow their company. They are looking forward to building homes for the developing world and disaster areas.
#2 – 3D Printed Guns
I designated guns as the #2 biggest trend only because it really only hit popularity for about a one-month stretch. However, this was also the most people have been interested in 3D printing in over five years – again, according to Google Trends’ charts. This past year, the Supreme Court decided that 3D printed guns were legal. Then they delayed their decision, then made them illegal. The dramatic unraveling of all of these events occurred over the course of a month or so in 2018. This pushed 3D printed guns to the top of the list of 3D printing trends in 2018.
Aside: As someone that loves 3D printing, it is important for me to point out that it makes me sad that 3D printed firearms created so much hysteria this year. You can read more about my input here if you’re interested. (If not, I’m not offended either).
#1 – The Ender 3 Hobbyist 3D Printer
The Ender 3 is a cheap, hobbyist-targeted 3D Printer. Creality, a Chinese company, is the main source of this 3D printer, but there are many clones and knock-offs on the market. This 3D printer exploded in popularity due to its low price, and widespread affiliate marketing. Without a doubt, Google Trends reveals the Ender 3 was the most popular 3D printer in 2018.
Because I have the privilege of working with 3D Printing every day, I tend to focus on the industry as a whole, rather than what is most popular. It is interesting to look back on the biggest 3D printing trends in 2018 according to Google to see what the world was really interested in.. The topics that gained the most traction online were 3D printed homes, guns, and cheap 3D printers. However, those are not the trends I am most excited about.
From my perspective, 2018 brought more widespread adoption of metal 3D printing, and new processes and materials. I think the the most exciting trend of all is the use of 3D printing for end-use, mass-produced parts. By 2030, the 3D printing industry is predicted to be worth $400 billion, with the majority of that value coming from end-use parts (link). I am excited to see where 3D printing takes us in 2019!