3D Printing Favored by Younger Generation

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3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) has been growing steadily in use in the power generation and oil & gas sectors over the last few years. It is commonplace for some small turbomachinery components to be printed using metallic powder. However, the technology cannot be said to be in broad usage throughout the industry. While the big OEMs and some specialty shops are using it heavily, the bulk of maintenance, servicing, and repair operations have yet to adopt it. But that might be about to change.

A new study by Primary Research Group,Survey of American College Students, 2022: Use of 3D Printers,” looked closely at how many and which students are using 3D printers at their colleges, or other locales, and how much they are using them. In addition, it asked their opinions on the value of 3D printers and their level of awareness of their availability in academic libraries. The following findings are based on a survey of 1076 college students from 4-Year colleges in the USA.

  • 46% of students majoring in engineering/mathematics/computer science have used a 3D printer, the highest of any major or range of academic fields in the sample.
  • Older students aged 26 to 35 are much more likely than others to find a 3D printer valuable or very valuable.
  • Students raised abroad used 3D printers three times as much as students raised in the United States.
  • More than 64% of students from the lowest income strata were unaware if their academic libraries offered a 3D printer.

With about half of new engineering grads entering interest with an orientation toward additive manufacturing, they are going to become advocates for the implementation of the technology at their eventual place of work. In fact, the availability or lack of availability of 3D printers may well exert an influence on their employment preferences.

PDF and print versions of this 83-page report are available directly from Primary Research Group at: