In the late 1980s, 3-D printers were virtually unheard of, elephantine machines owned almost exclusively by research labs. But now, consumer-sized 3-D printers are becoming cheaper and easier to use, giving plebes like us the ability to print virtually anything--children’s toys, household items, futuristic jewelry--in the comfort of our own homes. In 2013, 72,503 personal 3-D printers were sold, up from 35,508 in 2012.
As a little celebration of just how far 3-D printing has come in the past decade, the Wall Street Journal has put together a chart depicting the increased sales of personal 3-D printers under $5,000 from 2007 to 2013--a chart that you can 3-D print. So meta. If you download the chart as a file from Thingiverse, your 3-D printer will pop it out as a kind of trophy, congratulating you for adding to those groundbreaking sales. With 3-D printers, even boring data can be turned into a fun plastic toy!
[Illustration: Wohlers Report 2014 (3-D chart) Credits: Paul Antonson, Drew Evans, Mike Sudal (Animation), Roger Kenny (3-D design and programming), Megan Douglass, Jon Keegan, Wilson Rothman (Editors)]