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Wohlers Report 2005

Reviews. Trends. Analysis. Commentary. Rapid Prototyping & Tooling State of the Industry Year 2005 Annual Worldwide Progress Report






Photographs and Illustrations

Turn to Wohlers Report 2005, an in-depth worldwide progress report on the rapid prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing state of the industry.

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New in this Edition:

  • Section on castings and direct metal fabrication.
  • Expanded section on Asia with an emphasis on China.
  • New applications of rapid manufacturing.

The 256-page report includes:

  • New developments and trends.
  • Industry growth estimates and forecasts.
  • Emerging applications and business opportunities.
  • Research and development.
  • Where it’s all headed.

ISBN 0-9754429-1-0

Wohlers Report 2005 is a global market study developed with input from 49 co-authors, 47 service providers, 24 system manufacturers, and countless others worldwide. To support the review and analysis, the softbound publication includes 24 charts and graphs, 36 tables, and 97 photographs and illustrations, and seven appendices. This annual study has established a tradition of covering all facets of additive fabrication, including business, product, market, technology, research, and application.

Wohlers Report 2005 addresses many aspects of additive fabrication, including its history, the wide mix of applications, the industries embracing the technology, annual revenues from products and services, growth estimates, sales forecasts, and investor information. It also provides current information on trends and developments in the areas of service providers, system manufacturers, cast metal parts and direct metal fabrication, advanced approaches to tooling, and exciting new applications of rapid manufacturing.

The study also provides updates on new developments in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world, the growth of CAD solid modeling, advances in materials for additive processes, opportunities in medical modeling, and applications and technologies for 3D digitizing and reverse engineering.

The final parts of the report cover emerging technologies, government-sponsored research and development, and college and university education and research. Wohlers Report 2005 concludes with a discussion on the future of additive fabrication—where it is headed and what to expect—to assist in strategic planning and investing.

Table of Contents

About the author
Focus of this report
Introduction to additive fabrication


  • History of additive fabrication
    • Introduction of non-SL systems
    • Initial introduction of 3D printers
    • New generation machines
    • The past 12 months
    • Early inventions
  • Industries embracing the technology
    • How companies are applying additive processes
    • Installations by country
  • Applications
    • Communication
    • Engineering changes
    • Powerful ideas and proposals
    • Concept models
    • Verifying CAD databases
    • Styling and ergonomics
    • Fit and functional testing
    • Prototyping
    • Metal castings
    • Tooling
    • Requests for quotes
    • Manufacturing support
    • Manufacturing of parts
    • Research
    • Art and sculpture
    • Unlimited potential


  • Revenue growth and forecasts
    • Revenues from products and services
    • Annual revenue growth percentages
    • Sixteen years of growth
    • 3D Systems produces most revenue
    • Material sales
    • Revenues from service providers
    • Secondary market
    • Revenues from other services
  • Unit sales growth and forecasts
    • Unit sales growth percentages
    • Stratasys holds its lead
    • Systems sold by region
    • Cumulative systems sold by region
    • Market shares by U.S. manufacturers
    • Market shares by Japanese manufacturers
    • Cumulative market shares by manufacturer
    • Unit sales by manufacturer and year
    • 3D printer sales by manufacturer and year
  • Number of parts being produced
  • Service providers
    • Growth
    • Percentage continues to decline
    • Number of models produced annually
    • Working with service providers
    • Better conditions
    • The future of service providers
    • Service providers have changed
    • What’s ahead


  • 3D Systems
    • Sinterstation Pro
    • InVision LD
    • Other new products
    • Further developments
  • Arcam
  • Concept Laser
  • Cubic Technologies
  • Envisiontec
  • EOS
    • New products, applications
    • In development
  • MCP/F&S
  • Next Factory
  • Objet Geometries
    • New materials
    • Additional news
  • Optomec
    • Customer Applications
    • M3D
  • Phenix Systems
  • POM
    • Trumpf
    • Technology strengths, limitations
    • Sales activity
  • ProMetal
  • Sanders Design International
  • Solidica
  • Solidimension
  • Solidscape
  • Sony
  • Stratasys
    • Product news
    • Future of company
  • Trumpf
  • Z Corp.
    • Spectrum
    • Z510
    • Other developments
  • 3DP licensees
    • Therics
    • Soligen
    • Metal Matrix Cast Composites
    • Specific Surface
  • Others
  • Real cost of the technology
  • Investor update
    • Revenues and earnings
    • Trends and areas of interest
    • Outlook


  • Asia
    • Hong Kong and southern region
    • Beijing area
    • Shanghai and Eastern
    • China
    • Intellectual property and other factors
    • Markets in China
    • Medical
    • emphasis
    • Taiwan and South Korea
    • Chinese system manufacturers
    • Korean system manufacturers
    • India
  • Japan
    • The Japanese way
    • Stereolithography rules
    • Materials for SL
    • Other additive processes
    • INCS
    • CAD solid modeling
    • The future
  • Europe
    • United Kingdom
    • Italy
    • Germany
    • France
    • Portugal
    • Sweden
    • Finland
    • Denmark
    • The Netherlands
    • Belgium
  • Other regions
    • South Africa
    • Canada
    • Groups and associations


  • Direct metal fabrication
    • Laser-based, powder-bed systems
    • Powder deposition systems
    • Other approaches
  • Tooling solutions
  • High-performance tooling
  • Indirect tooling approaches
    • RSP Tooling
    • Ford Sprayform
    • Rapid Moulding Technologies
    • Reconfigurable Tooling Systems
    • Other options
  • Direct approaches
    • Laser Consolidation
    • SLS tooling
    • DMLS
    • Others
  • Other options
    • CNC-machined tooling
    • Hybrid tooling
  • Size of tooling market
  • Cast metal parts
    • Investment casting
    • Sand casting
    • ZCast
    • Plaster mold casting
    • Rubber plaster mold casting
    • V-Process
    • Die casting
  • Metal fabrication comparison matrix


  • What is it?
    • Benefits
    • Product design
    • Materials
    • Custom products
    • Prototyping and production
    • Manufacturing location
  • Applications and industries
    • MG Rover
    • Ski boot buckles
    • Vega launcher
    • Wash blocks
    • Air ducts for F-18
    • Free Flying Magnetometer
    • Formula 1
    • Military tanks
    • Hearing instruments
    • Centrifuge
    • Submarine part
    • Computer lock
    • Lighting designs
    • Mobile Parts Hospital
    • Northrop Grumman
    • Sculptures
    • Medicine
    • Other possibilities
  • When it makes sense
    • Shape and size
    • Production volume
    • Quality
  • Cost analysis and economics
    • Production implications
    • Strategic implications
  • Challenges and needed research
    • Processes
    • Materials
    • Product design
    • Organization, management, and supply chain issues


  • Growth of CAD solid modeling
    • Revenue and seat count estimates
    • New potential markets
  • Materials
    • SL resin developments
    • Laser-sintering powder developments
    • FDM materials
    • New Objet materials
    • Materials from Z Corp.
    • Material for InVision
    • Envisiontec Perfactory
    • Predicting the performance of injection-molded parts
  • Medical modeling
    • Additive processes and medical scanners
    • Transferring scan data
    • Materials for medical models
    • Surgical separations
    • Cranial defect reconstruction
    • Advanced technology meeting
    • Egyptian mummy
  • 3D digitizing and reverse engineering
    • Applications
    • 3D data capture
    • 3D digital reconstruction
    • Inspection
    • Ferrari wing
    • Howmet/Alcoa turbine blade inspection
    • Bronze sculpture
    • GN ReSound
    • Technology
    • 3D digitizing
    • Limitations and other important issues
    • Polygon meshes and surfaces
    • Caveats


  • Patents
  • Emerging Technologies
    • Process development
    • Materials
    • Medical applications
    • Modeling
  • U.S. government-sponsored R&D
    • National Science Foundation
    • Meso, micro, and nano scale technology
    • Process improvements, modifications, and new applications
    • Other new funding from NSF
    • Continuing NSF-funded projects
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • College and university education and research
    • Educational activities in additive fabrication
    • Research and teaching activities
    • Future trends and contributions from academia


  • 3D printing for concept modeling
  • Mainstream systems for rapid prototyping
  • Systems for series production
    • Application areas
    • Low-volume manufacturing
    • Manufacturing complex shapes
    • Manufacturing multi-functional components
  • Tooling
  • Summary
  • Where to learn more
    • Global Alliance of Rapid
    • Prototyping Associations
    • Rapid Technologies and Additive Manufacturing Community


  • Appendix A: Glossary of terms
  • Appendix B: System and material manufacturers
    • Canada
    • China
    • England
    • France
    • Germany
    • Israel
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Korea
    • Sweden
    • United States
  • Appendix C: U.S. system specifications
  • Appendix D: Systems manufactured outside the U.S.
  • Appendix E: Material properties
  • Appendix F: 3D digitizing systems
  • Appendix G: Reverse engineering software

Development Team

The following 49 individuals and organizations contributed to Wohlers Report 2005 and served as important sources for information.

Paulo Jorge Bártolo Institute Polytechnic of Leiria (Portugal)
Joseph Beaman University of Texas at Austin
Alain Bernard Ecole Centrale de Nantes (France)
Paul Besl General Motors
David Bourell University of Texas at Austin
Tim Caffrey Seventh Son Creative Services
Andy Christensen Medical Modeling LLC
Rob Connelly FineLine Prototyping
Vesna Cota Tyco Electronics Canada Ltd. (Canada)
Deon de Beer Central University of Technology, Free State (South Africa)
Carl Dekker Met-L-Flo Inc.
Philip Dickens Loughborough University (England)
Thierry Dormal CRIF (Belgium)
Mike Durham Accelerated Technologies
Ping Fu Raindrop Geomagic
Jim Gentrup Provident Equity Research
Vito Gervasi Milwaukee School of Engineering
Ian Gibson University of Hong Kong (China)
Tim Gornet University of Louisville
Andrzej Grzesiak FhG Institute for Mfg. Eng. & Automation (Germany)
Richard Hague Loughborough University (England)
Russ Harris Loughborough University (England)
Axel Henning FhG Institute for Mfg. Eng. & Automation (Germany)
Berndt Holmer IVF Industrial Research and Development Corp. (Sweden)
Neil Hopkinson Loughborough University (England)
Masato Imamura Sintokogio Ltd. (Japan)
Luca Iuliano Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Oliver Jay Danish Technological Institute (Denmark)
Rik Knoppers TNO Science and Industry (The Netherlands)
Aditaya Kumar Marco Polo Products (India)
Bent Mieritz Danish Technological Institute (Denmark)
Doug Mitchell Ford Motor Company
Tom Mueller Express Pattern
Randall Newton Cyon Research
Ken Patton Saddleback College
Scott Schermer SC Johnson
Joel Segal University of Nottingham (England)
Michael Siemer Mydea Technologies
Adam Smith ATK Thiokol
Rupert Soar Loughborough University (England)
Brent Stucker Utah State University
Ed Tacket Saddleback College
Joe Taylor Caterpillar
Chris Tuck Loughborough University (England)
Jukka Tuomi Helsinki University of Technology (Finland)
Jonas Van Vaerenbergh Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
Pamela Waterman EngineeringInk
David Wimpenny De Montfort University (England)
Shinjiro Yamada INCS (Japan)

What Others are Saying

“Your report was very highly valued as we conducted our due diligence prior to acquiring Z Corp. It is highly professional and understandable, even to those new to this industry.”
Steen Borg, CEO, The Contex Group

“Terry Wohlers is the spokesperson for the overall rapid prototyping industry. Every year, he publishes the Wohlers Report, a comprehensive rundown of RP advances. He represents better than anyone else the mainstream rapid prototyping industry.”
Preston Smith, Lead Co-author of Developing Products in Half the Time

“I have purchased market reports in other industries for $30,000 that do not contain as much information. The purchase of the Wohlers Report every year is a no-brainer.”
Gilles Desharnais, Intermag-Modelex

“The Wohlers Report is the world’s best compilation of activity in the field.”
Dr. David Bourell, University of Texas at Austin

“The wealth of information is astounding, but not as astounding as the amount of research that must be performed each year to put it together.”
Al Dean, Prototype Magazine

“I found it extremely useful in the preparation of a presentation to upper management. Also, the report has caught the interest of many of my colleagues in R&D.”
Patrick Roth, Elkay Manufacturing Company

“I wonder if the industry knows how fortunate it is to have this mirror? Few industries of this size and complexity have access to this level of data.”
Ed Grenda, Castle Island Company

“His extremely comprehensive annual report is considered the definitive analysis of the RP world and is highly recommended.”
David Cohn, Engineering Automation Report

“Nothing comes close to the authoritative and comprehensive nature of this annually-updated report. It has something for everybody and I highly recommend it.”
Jeffrey Rowe, MCADCafe.com

“The report was priceless in developing our business plan.”
Jason Epstein, Ionic Models

“I use it as a reference for any and all RP questions I get that I cannot answer on my own. It is the most resourceful and complete publication we had ever seen.”
Kristopher Matson, St. Louis Community College

“I was in the market for a new RP machine and bought the report as an insurance policy. It definitely paid off.”
Kurt Blankemeyer, GTO

“The report offers the most up-to-date information that is available to us and it continues to improve each year.”
Ranji Vaidyanathan, Advanced Ceramics Research, Inc.
“It’s a great, concise report that covers the globe. I don’t know of any other document that is as complete.”
Tom Greaves, New Directions Consulting

“You are providing a valuable service to the industry.”
Brent Ragsdale, Hallmark

“As always, you have done a spectacular job collecting information from around the world on our ever-changing industry. I commend you on the depth and breadth of your labors.”
Marina Hatsopoulos, Z Corp.

“Very easy to read. It gave me just what I was looking for.”
Douglas Freitag, Bayside Materials Technology

“Whether one is thinking of purchasing an RP device, checking into the sales of a particular company for investment purposes, or just desiring more information, Wohlers’ report delivers at every level.”
Joe Greco, Desktop Engineering Magazine

“It is comprehensive, well organized, and well written. We will be pouring over the details for some time to come.”
Mike Rynerson, Extrude Hone

“The report gave me the best and most concise view of the industry.”
Reagan Hogerty, Jordan Industries, Inc.

“The report has helped our company immensely in selling RP and RT internally to our design, manufacturing, and management staff.”
Glenn Anderson, Southco Inc.

“The section on rapid tooling is particularly interesting. Wohlers systematically looks at all the competing technologies on the market today and provides detailed information on how to best apply each of them.”
Engineering Automation Report

“The report has become a virtual “Bible” of RP … comprehensive and well organized … and is highly recommended.”
David Cohn, Engineering Automation Report

“I’ve just finished reading through the report and I have to say I’m impressed with the shear quantity of information it contains. It has become the bible to those looking at rapid prototyping and related technologies.”
Al Dean, MCAD Magazine and the CADserver

Learn more about ASTM and AM CoE

ASTM unites with the Wohlers brand to build on its market influence and access to top AM industry decision-makers worldwide.

  • Establish standards, certification, and qualification for repeatable, consistent parts and processes
  • Prevent gaps and duplication of work in a dynamic, fast-paced technology space
  • Identify challenges that can be solved with technological improvement

Research and Development

Under the leadership of the R&D team, the AM CoE partners plan and conduct coordinated R&D projects, prioritized annually and targeted to expedite...

Learn More

Education and Workforce Development

Provide a comprehensive program that educates and trains the additive manufacturing workforce at all levels, while continually incorporating new advances...

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