Mini-cars, bracelets, cookie cutters, desserts, – the possibility of what you can make on even a small desktop (FDM) 3D printer is nearly endless. Almost as endless, is the list of possibilities of who can design these amazing toys, trinkets and tools.
Thanks to free tools, creative people, and the art of the search engine plus YouTube tutorial combination – we’re finding that the face of these 3D designers is changing, evolving and just as exciting as the designs that they create. So, who are the pioneers who are out there in this new 3D printing wave taking over the maker space?
Who are our 3D Designers?
Our designers are: hobbyists – looking for ways to make some extra money (36%), Full-Time Designers (44%), Part-Time Designers (14%), and Hobbyists – who are in it for the fun of it (5%).
They are 81% male and 19% female. The largest age group (60%) of designers is between the ages of 23 and 34, 17% between 35 and 40, 12% between 41 and 51, 8% between 17 and 22 and 4% between 52 and 60.
The top 8 countries for 3D designers are: 1. The United States (35%), 2. India (13%), 3. Netherlands (7%), 4. Spain (6%), 5. Italy (5%), 6. Chile (5%), 7. Sweden (3%), 8. Romania (3%).
What’s their background?
62% of Pinshape designers were self-taught while 38% are a graduate of a 3D program. They have backgrounds in: 3D Modeling (60%), 3D Sculpting (40%), Gaming (26%), Industrial Design (26%), Engineering (22%) and Toy Design (13%).
They range from having less than a year to over 10 years of experience in 3D Design and 3D printing, with over half of the designers (62%) having 2 or fewer years of experience in 3D printing only. A fourth of the designers have 10+ years of general, 3D-design experience.
What do they use to design?
Their favorite tools are: 3D Max (17%), Maya (16%), ZBrush (14%), Rhino (12%), Solidworks (12%), Blender (9%), Netfabb (5%), Meshlab (3%), Modo (3%) and Sketchup (3%).
A little over ¾ of designers (78%) use Windows and while the remaining ¼ (22%) use a Mac as their operating system.
51% find themselves pulling out a tablet to design while the other 49% are just fine without one. In fact, 18% don’t plan on buying a 3D print any time soon.
So, how many designers use an actual 3D printer during their design process?
Our survey shows, only 32% actually print their designs while the other 68% do not. Of those that did print their designs, they use sites like Pinshape, Shapeways, Sculpteo, 3D Hubs and Materialize. 25% of designers who plan to print just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
The top 5 most owned 3D printers in our design community are: 1. Form 1, 2. MakerBot Replicator 2, 3. Ultimaker, 4. Leapfron Creatr and 5. MaekrBot Replicator 1.
The Future: Where is 3D printing going?
The designers think that toys (47%), tools/gadgets (23%), clothing (15%), food (7%), parts (5%) and jewelry (3%) will be the dominating areas of consumer 3D printing in the future.
They are most excited about using: plastics (44%), ceramics (35%), non-precious metals (33%), carbon (22%), precious metals (22%), wax (19%) and conductive materials (19%).
See the great designs uploaded by these designers here!