- Market size – In 2020, 3D printing was estimated to be a $13 billion market.
- Applications – 3D printing is primarily used in industrial applications, typically prototyping and manufacturing. In the early 2010s, manufacturers kicked off a race to create the least expensive 3D printer designed for personal applications but that market failed to materialize. In October 2012, MakerBot, a 3D printing pioneer, opened its first store on Mulberry Street in New York’s hip Bowery neighborhood. Three years later, the company shuttered its three brick-and-mortar stores, including the one on Mulberry.
- 3D-printed homes – In March 2018, Austin, Tex.-based Icon, a startup focused on creating new, sustainable building practices, showed off the world’s first 3D-printed home at SXSW. Its debut project, the East 17th Street Residences, is now under construction. In Rancho Mirage, Calif., another development, pictured above, uses materials from Oakland-based Mighty Buildings. Scheduled to be completed next spring, the 15 Palari homes pre-sold within days, some even purchased with bitcoin.
Mighty Buildings uses robots to print a composite material the company calls Light Stone Material, which is both stronger and lighter than concrete.