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3D printing for consumers? Still not there yet

3D Printers still not there yet.

Analyst firm Gartner says that we will have to wait for at least five years (i.e. towards the end of the current decade) until 3D printing becomes mainstream and is embraced by consumers.

Gartner research vice-president Pete Basiliere said: "Today, approximately 40 manufacturers sell the 3D printers most commonly used in businesses, and over 200 startups worldwide are developing and selling consumer-oriented 3D printers, priced from just a few hundred dollars."

Business product for now

He added that while there is considerable media interest in the technology and people in general are aware of the technology, there is still a lot to be done especially when it comes to the price of the devices themselves and the consumables.

Gartner analysts identified seven different technologies that sit under the "3D printing technology". It is not as Basiliere puts it as simple as "hitting print" on a paper printer.

Additive manufacturing, as it is commonly known in the industry, isn't as straight forward as its 2D counterpart. 3D Printing kits such as the Velleman K8200, costs £700, which while cheaper than what it was last year, is still far too expensive for the average household.