Wohlers Report 2021

Technical, market, and strategic advice on additive manufacturing, 3D printing, and rapid product development


charts and graphs




images and illustrations.

Wohlers Report 2021 provides a worldwide review and analysis of additive manufacturing and 3D printing. This edition marks the 26th consecutive year of publication.

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ISBN 978-0-9913332-7-1

This edition marks the 26th consecutive year of publication. The report has served as the undisputed, industry-leading report on AM for more than two decades. Many refer to it as the “bible” of 3D printing. It is available in digital and printed/bound formats, both in full color.

New and expanded features of the 2021 edition include:

  • 3D printing of food, medicine, and electronics
  • Pricing of metals and polymers and the hidden costs of AM
  • Methods of AM part inspection
  • Pandemic’s impact on the AM industry
  • Compilation of expert reports from 34 countries
  • Tables of AM systems, software tools, service providers, and third-party materials

The report was supported by 124 service providers, 113 manufacturers of AM systems, and 24 producers of third-party materials. It documents government-sponsored research and development, collaborations and consortia, and the activities of 150 academic and research institutes around the world.

The report includes important contributions of 88 co-authors and contributors from 34 countries. Wohlers Associates is fortunate to have developed what is believed to be the largest worldwide network of professionals in the industry. This access and trust has resulted in a report that offers an unparalleled window into additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

The 375-page Wohlers Report 2021 includes 54 charts and graphs, 104 tables, and 397 images and illustrations. It also includes 80 pages of supplemental online content available exclusively to the buyers of the report.

Over the past five years, the report has been published in mid or late March. It includes a wealth of detailed information on the previous 12 months, along with data and trend lines that span more than 30 years.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • About the principal authors
    • Associate authors


  • Focus of this report
  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Broad response from AM industry
    • Winners and losers
    • Near-term future
  • Introduction to AM and 3D printing
  • Myths and misconceptions
    • AM will replace conventional manufacturing
    • Complexity is free
    • AM is a “push button” process
    • Most AM systems are similar
    • Few materials are available for AM
    • Metal AM produces parts inexpensively
    • AM parts are inferior to conventional parts
    • Every home will have a 3D printer
  • History of additive manufacturing
    • 1960s to the modern era
    • March 2020 to March 2021
  • Applications
    • Survey approach and respondents
    • Putting AM to work
  • Industries
    • Automotive
    • Consumer products
    • Aerospace
    • Medical
    • Dentistry
    • Academic institutions
    • Power and energy
    • Government and military
    • Architecture and construction
    • Additional industries


  • Processes
    • Material extrusion
    • Vat photopolymerization
    • Powder bed fusion
    • Material jetting
    • Binder jetting
    • Directed energy deposition
    • Sheet lamination
  • Materials
    • Polymers
    • Graphene and other nanomaterials
    • New polymer products
    • Polymer pricing
    • Metals
    • New powders for metal AM
    • Producing powders for metal AM
    • Water-atomized metal powders
    • Metal powder pricing
    • Composites and hybrid materials
    • Materials for metal-casting processes
    • Ceramics and other materials
  • Third-party material producers
    • Open vs. closed material business models
    • Third-party producers
    • Process/material matrix
  • Materials database
    • Materials by process
    • Material producers and products
    • Material properties


  • Revenue from AM worldwide
    • Products and services
    • Growth percentages
  • System manufacturers
    • Unit sales
    • Unit sales growth percentages
    • Market shares
    • Systems sold by region
    • Average selling price
    • Metal AM systems
    • Unit sales by manufacturer and year
  • Desktop 3D printers
    • Sales growth
    • Under $500 3D printers
  • AM material sales
    • Photopolymers
    • Polymer powders
    • Filaments
    • Metals
  • Service providers
    • Primary service market
    • Service provider survey
    • Contributing service providers
    • Survey results
    • Pre- and post-processing
    • Most profitable AM processes
    • Most profitable material
    • Revenue growth
    • Online marketplaces
    • Supplier competition
    • Comments from service providers
  • Investment in publicly traded companies
    • Revenues and earnings
    • On the horizon
  • Corporate Investments
  • CAD solid modeling


  • Benefits of AM for production
    • Reduction of tooling
    • Reduced lead time and on-demand manufacturing
    • Reduced inventory and part consolidation
    • Sustainability and waste reduction
    • Custom product manufacturing
    • Generative design and biomimicry
    • Optimized structures
    • Concept modeling to production
  • Design for additive manufacturing
    • Consolidating parts
    • Support material and post-processing optimization
    • Lightweighting and topology optimization
    • Complex lattice structures
    • Improved fluid flow, conformal cooling, and efficiency
    • Economic benefits of DfAM
    • Calculating part cost and factors impacting it
  • Software for AM
    • 3D scan-processing
    • Design and optimization
    • Repair
    • Simulation
    • Slicing and print preparation
    • Print management
    • Manufacturing execution systems
    • Security
  • Process monitoring of metal powder bed fusion
    • Aconity3D
    • Addiguru
    • AddUp
    • EOS
    • GE Additive
    • Layer Metrics
    • Open Additive
    • Renishaw
    • Sigma Labs
    • SLM Solutions
    • Velo3D
    • Outlook
  • Post-processing
    • Post-processing polymer parts
    • Surface treatment of polymer parts
    • Post-processing metal parts
    • Thermal processing of metal parts
    • Metal support material removal
    • Metal surface treatment
    • Post-process automation
    • AM part inspection
  • Cost and challenges
    • Operating costs
    • Cost justification
    • Machine throughput
    • Metal part production cost considerations
    • Qualification and quality
    • Educating designers


  • Installations by country
  • Africa
    • South Africa
  • Asia/Pacific
    • China
    • India
    • Japan
    • Korea
    • Singapore
    • Taiwan
  • Australasia
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
  • Europe
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Denmark
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Hungary
    • Italy
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Russia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Turkey
    • United Kingdom
  • Middle East
    • Iran
    • Israel
  • Other regions
    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • United States


  • Trends
  • Patents
    • Patent litigation
  • Consortia and collaborations
    • America Makes
    • Fraunhofer AM alliance
    • Women in 3D Printing
    • Partnerships
  • AM standards
    • ASTM Committee F42
    • ISO/TC 261
  • AM Activities at NASA
  • AM in the U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. government-sponsored R&D
    • National Science Foundation
    • DOD, DOE, and DOC
    • National Institutes of Health
  • U.S. national laboratories
    • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    • Sandia National Laboratories
  • Government-sponsored R&D in Europe
  • Academic activities and capabilities
    • Research innovations
    • The Americas
    • Asia/Pacific
    • Europe, Middle East, and Africa
    • Research institutes with AM capabilities
    • Research trends


  • COVID-19 shapes AM’s future
  • Trechnical directions and trends
    • Feedstock development
    • Automotive and aerospace adoption
    • Spare parts
    • Marine activity
    • Environmental impact
  • Applications of the future
    • 3D-printed electronics
    • 3D-printed medicine
    • 3D-printed food
  • Landscape of AM startups
  • Startups and early-stage investments
    • Public offerings and acquisitions
  • New AM companies
  • Market forecast and opportunity
  • Summary


  • Asia/Pacific
    • Aspect
    • Bright Laser Technologies
    • Eplus 3D
    • Farsoon
    • Mimaki
    • UnionTech
    • XYZprinting
    • ZRapid
  • Germany
    • Arburg
    • BigRep
    • DMG Mori
    • Envisiontec
    • EOS
    • SLM Solutions
    • Trumpf
    • Voxeljet
  • Other companies in Europe and the Middle East
    • Additive Industries
    • AddUp
    • Admatec
    • BeAM
    • Digital Metal
    • DWS
    • Lithoz
    • Prodways
    • Renishaw
    • Sinterit
    • Sisma
    • Stratasys
    • XJet
  • U.S.
    • 3D Systems
    • Carbon
    • Cincinnati
    • Coherent
    • Desktop Metal
    • ExOne
    • Formlabs
    • GE Additive
    • HP
    • Markforged
    • Optomec
  • Manufacturer, process, and material matrix
  • Additional system manufacturers


  • Appendix A: Glossary of terms
  • Appendix B: 1988-2006 unit sales
  • Appendix C: Metal AM comparison matrix
  • Appendix D: 3D scanning systems

Report Development Team

Principal authors:

Ian Campbell, Wohlers Associates, Inc. (UK)
Olaf Diegel, Wohlers Associates, Inc. (New Zealand)
Joseph Kowen, Wohlers Associates, Inc. (Israel)
Noah Mostow, Wohlers Associates, Inc. (U.S.)
Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates, Inc. (U.S.)

Associate authors:

David Bourell, University of Texas at Austin (U.S.)
Ismail Fidan, Tennessee Tech University (U.S.)


Jenny van Rensburg (South Africa)

The following 80 individuals and organizations in 32 countries contributed to Wohlers Report 2021 and served as important sources for information.

Mukesh Agarwala 3D Product Development India
Joe Aiken William Blair & Company U.S.
Henrique Almeida Polytechnic Institute of Leiria Portugal
Anton Aulbers TNO Netherlands
Nicolae Balc Technical University of Cluj–Napoca Romania
Kris Binon Flam3D Belgium
Klas Boivie SINTEF Norway
Gerrie Booysen Central University of Technology South Africa
David Brackett Manufacturing Technology Centre UK
Milan Brandt RMIT University Australia
Andy Christensen Somaden LLC U.S.
Doug Collins Avid Product Development U.S.
Deon de Beer Central University of Technology South Africa
Thierry Dormal Sirris Belgium
Alex Doukas Kinetic Vision U.S.
Brian Drab William Blair & Company U.S.
Igor Drstvenšek University of Maribor Slovenia
Willie du Preez Central University of Technology South Africa
Elizabeth Ferrill Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner U.S.
Matthew Friedell Big Metal Additive LLC U.S.
Morgan Gillott-Crooks Wohlers Associates U.S.
Arno Held AM Ventures Germany
Michael Hickner Pennsylvania State University U.S.
Seyed Hosseini RISE Research Insititue of Sweden Sweden
Jeng-Ywan Jeng National Taiwan University of Science and Tech. Taiwan
Andrzej Kęsy University of Technology and Humanities Poland
Malika Khodja TIZIRI South Africa
Babak Kianian Lund University Sweden
Art Kracke AAK Consulting U.S.
Thomas Kurfess Oak Ridge National Laboratory U.S.
Jason Laing ProMake International UK
Martin Lavoie Precision ADM Canada
Feng Lin Tsinghua University China
Aia Lykke Danish AM Hub Denmark
Giorgio Magistrelli A3DM Magazine France
Eric Magleby Finnegan LLP U.S.
Simon Marriott IMCRC – Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Center Australia
Farai Mashambanhaka Africa Engineering Company Zimbabwe
Tom Mueller Mueller Additive Manufacturing Solutions U.S.
Bernhard Müeller Fraunhofer IWU Germany
Ireneusz Musiałek Jan Kochanowski University Poland
Randall Newton Consilia Vektor U.S.
Hideaki Oba 3D Printing Industry Technology Association Japan
John Obielodan University of Wisconsin–Platteville U.S.
Miklos Odrobina Szent István University Hungary
Charles Overy LGM U.S.
Bene Padovani Additive Manufacturing Consultancy Brazil
Keun Park Seoul National Univ. of Science and Tech. Korea
Joris Peels Netherlands
Burak Pekcan +90 Turkey
Sebastian Piegert Siemens Energy Germany
Michele Pressacco LimaCorporate Italy
Michael Raphael Direct Dimensions U.S.
Steffen Ritter Reutlingen University Germany
Boris Salamakhin Independent Russia
Elisa Salatin LimaCorporate Italy
Mika Salmi Aalto University Finland
Marco Salvisberg GF Precicast Additive SA Switzerland
Jörg Sander Hensoldt Sensors Germany
Peter Sander Airbus (retured) Germany
P. Randall Schunk Sandia National Laboratories U.S.
Luke Scime Oak Ridge National Laboratory U.S.
Christian Seidel Fraunhofer IGCV Germany
Jorge Vicente Lopes da Silva Renato Archer Information Technology Center Brazil
Aidan Skoyles Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner U.S.
John Slotwinski John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory U.S.
Chris Spadaccini Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory U.S.
Adriaan Spierings Inspire Switzerland
Jürgen Stampfl Vienna University of Technology Austria
Iain Todd University of Sheffield UK
Riccardo Toninato LimaCorporate Italy
Kjeld van Bommel TNO Netherlands
Joel Vasco Polytechnic Institute of Leiria Portugal
Benoit Verquin Cetim France
John Vickers NASA U.S.
Nicole Wake Montefiore Medical Center U.S.
Matthew Waterhouse 3D Metalforge Singapore
John Wilczynski America Makes U.S.
David Wimpenny Manufacturing Technology Centre UK
Naiara Zubizarreta AddiMAT Spain

What Others are Saying

“Our members consistently tell us the Wohlers Report is one of the most valued benefits of their affiliation with America Makes.”
Tiffany Westbay, Membership Director & Operations Deputy Director, America Makes

“No other report on additive manufacturing comes close to offering what is available in the Wohlers Report. I rely on it year after year.”
Fried Vancraen, Founder and CEO, Materialise

“The Wohlers Report is the guide I always keep at hand for consultation. It is really a vade mecum for those looking for an edge in an increasingly complex industry to navigate.”
Gianluca Mattaroccia, Engineering Fellow, The Estée Lauder Companies

“I have pored over thousands of pages of the Wohlers Report.”
Jeff Immelt, New Enterprise Associates and former CEO of General Electric

“No report is more detailed, more comprehensive, more all-around knowledgeable than the Wohlers Report. The release of a new installment of the Wohlers Report is always a momentous day in 3D printing, and this year is no exception as the 2019 report arrives today.”
Clare Scott,

“Anyone with serious interest in professional 3D printing should be reading the Wohlers Report. There’s no better resource for anyone in the business of digital fabrication. It is the industry bible.”
Mike Senese, Executive Editor, Make: magazine

“In the world of additive manufacturing, Wohlers is both a legend and visionary. He understands the trends and opportunities provided by the technology like no other and is willing to share his insights.”
Peter Sander, Head of Emerging Technologies and Concepts, Airbus

“With over two decades of quality data, the Wohlers Associates team has become the gold standard for computing growth, analyzing trends, and forecasting the future of additive manufacturing.”
Tyler Koslow, 3D Printing Industry

“The report is regarded as the most comprehensive, most reliable collection of information and analysis on the global market for the industry.”
Brent Balinski, Manufacturers’ Monthly

“For those unfamiliar with this technology or looking for details on the players, markets, applications, and forecasts, I recommend the industry’s ‘bible’ from Wohlers.”
Mark Mills, Forbes

“This publication is widely considered the gold standard on the industry, as Terry Wohlers is the leading authority on 3-D printing.”
Beth McKenna, The Motley Fool

“Comprehensive and authoritative, the Wohlers Report is an extraordinary compilation of information on additive manufacturing and 3D printing. It is a must read for those that want more than a cursory understanding of this incredible and rapidly changing technology.”
Ed Morris, Director, America Makes – National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute

“… Wohlers, the industry’s highest profile expert.”
Alexander Eule, Barron’s

“More than just the bible of 3D printing, it is the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. We can’t think of another industry where a single source has such a compelling handle on the entire scope of industry trends.”
Citron Research

“Absolutely fascinating report! It has had a profound impact on my research, and it is defintely the “go to” document for its breadth and depth of AM activity around the globe.”
Brett Conner, Associate Professor, Youngstown State University

“The 2013 report is excellent and perhaps the best I’ve ever seen on an emerging technology. The level of detail is amazing.”
Owen McGarel, Lead Research Engineer, ITW Technology Center

“Now in its 18th year of publication (that’s right all you 3-D printing arrivistes, this stuff has been around for a while), the annual report describes a healthy and growing market for 3-D printing equipment, services, materials and processes, albeit one where the value continues to accrue to industrial applications.”
Michael Copeland, Senior Editor, WIRED

“Wohlers has been tracking this industry for roughly a quarter-century, and recently published the 18th annual edition of the industry bible, Wohlers Report, which monitors developments in the sector.”
Robert Grace, Associate Publisher, Plastics News

“The report gives the latest market trends and global developments of additive manufacturing technology. Hats off to Terry and his team.”
L. Jyothish Kumar, President, Additive Manufacturing Society of India

“I have only barely put a dent in Wohlers Report 2013 and have already learned an incredible amount of useful information. The report definitely pays for itself by accelerating the additive manufacturing learning curve.”
Gary Baker, Com Dev USA

“I read an excerpt from the Wohlers Report and then spoke with Terry by phone. In less than 30 minutes, I had more industry insight than I had gleaned across dozens of blogs and news sites.”
TJ McCue, Forbes

“I received your report this week and I am completely impressed with the depth, variety, and detail. It will be an invaluable reference for the classes and presentations that I am currently developing for our division. It’s just MAGNIFICENT really!”
Jim Horton, CAD/CAM Systems Specialist, Central Piedmont Community College

“I love it. There is no other way to get such in-depth, relevant information that is also up to date. I have read through most of the report and it’s great work, Terry.”
Rob Connelly, President, FineLine Prototyping, Inc.

“The report is amazing.”
Michael Raphael, President, Direct Dimensions, Inc.

“It has become the bible in additive manufacturing.”
Mario Fleurinck, CEO, Melotte (Belgium)

“I can’t believe how much information from around the world you absorb and then present in such easy-to-understand terms year after year.”
Bene Padovani, Brazil

“Wow, you have really created a massive resource over the years. The contributions from the industry specialists have helped produce an industry encyclopedia.”
Randall Newton, Editor-in-Chief, CADCAMnet, and Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, AECnews

“The amount of information in the report is almost overwhelming. I am awed by its depth and breadth. What’s more, the information is not available anywhere else. For example, we hear how China is changing, but few people fully understand the transformation that’s underway. The report gives insight and clarification on China and it covers the rest of the world with the same careful analysis. It also provides insight into new products and applications that you normally would not hear about, such as light-weight structures, nanomanufacturing, growing organs, gaming, and new types of protective gear. One of the secrets of your success is the extensive travel worldwide, coupled with the information you seek from experts globally. Thank you for making something so remarkable available each year.”
Boris Fritz, Northrop Grumman

“It is taking some time to get through your report because I’m underlining all the useful information and using it in my company’s internal reports. Thanks, … it is really a fantastic job.”
Dr. Livia Cevolini, CRP Technology (Italy)

“The report is a real mine of information. It is impressive how you manage to collate all this information.”
Dr. Mike Shellabear, EOS (Germany)

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

“If you need to know anything about where this technology is today or where it is going tomorrow, Wohlers Report is your guide.”
Anthony J. Lockwood, former editorial director, Desktop Engineering

“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, former CEO, The Contex Group (Denmark)

“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, Axis Prototypes Inc.

“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 (England)

“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

“His extremely comprehensive annual report is considered the definitive analysis of the rapid prototyping 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,

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

“I use it as a reference for any and all rapid prototyping 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 machine for rapid prototyping 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, founder of 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 a prototyping 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, ExOne

“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 rapid prototyping and tooling 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

“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

“The report has become a virtual “Bible” of rapid prototyping … 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 (England)

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.

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  • Prevent gaps and duplication of work in a dynamic, fast-paced technology space
  • Identify challenges that can be solved with technological improvement

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