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)]