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Gartner sees a big future for 3-D printing supplies and services

There are a lot of companies, analysts, and researchers who believe 3-D printing technology is going to be huge in the future. 3-D printers use various forms of media to print 3-D physical objects that you can hold and use for various tasks. Research firm Gartner recently issued a report claiming that early adopters of 3-D printing technology could gain an innovation advantage over rival firms.

Gartner says that enterprises should begin experimenting with 3-D printing technology as a way to improve traditional product design and prototyping. Gartner sees 3-D printing as having the potential to allow for the creation of new product lines and markets. The company also believes that 3-D printing will be available to consumers via kiosks and print shop style services creating new opportunities for retailers.

Cheaper 3-D printers will lower the cost of entry into manufacturing in the same way that e-commerce lower the barriers to the selling of items according to Gartner. The company believes that 3-D printer technology will move from the niche markets to broader acceptance thereby reducing the price of 3-D printing devices. According to Gartner, by 2016 enterprise class 3-D printers will be available for under $2,000.

“We see 3D printing as a tool for empowerment, already enabling life-changing parts and products to be built in struggling countries, helping rebuild crisis-hit areas and leading to the democratization of manufacturing,” said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner.

Gartner sees a future with multinational retailers supplying consumers and making money by selling printers and print supplies as well as individual 3-D printed pieces. Another possible way to make money with 3-D printing technology would be roving display vans that visit a retailer store where consumers can order customized 3-D items while they shop.

Source: Gartner

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By Hakuryu on 3/29/2013 11:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
Cool, I might consider buying one at around that price.

Lets just hope these don't follow regular printer rules, with the 'ink' refills costing $20,000.

By Mitch101 on 3/29/2013 1:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
Why wait look up RepRap or Solidoodle.

By bebimbap on 3/29/2013 2:04:58 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how long that $43 spindle lasts because people that have done 3d printing says the main barrier to usage is cost of materials.

By Bubbacub on 3/29/2013 3:59:16 PM , Rating: 3
the price of a spool of 1mm PLA at the moment is a massive scam.

the sellers know that customers have spent hundreds of dollars and more importantly many weeks of their own time in building reprap type devices - they thus know that they can charge almost as much as they want and will get away with it.

im pretty sure once some chinese slave labour factories get conscripted into mass producing it the price will drop to a price that reflects the actual cost of material.

By Totally on 3/30/2013 12:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
Once 3d printing takes off, I doubt they'll stay at those prices for long, when companies start looking for ways to squeeze money out of people.

By sigmatau on 3/29/2013 1:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
Lot's of missing information in the article. Most enterprise printers already cost more than $2000. Some color models can go over $10,000 easily.

It's nice to know that entry into the market is $2000, but what is the cost of a print? A refill? Have they reduced the cost of a print below $200 yet?

By drycrust3 on 3/29/2013 10:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on whether what you print out is worth more than $20,000 or not. If it is, then the $20,000 could well be considered a cheap price to pay.

Its a miracle
By shabby on 3/29/2013 10:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
A 3d printer article that isn't sponsored by makerbot and its overpriced printers.

RE: Its a miracle
By flyingpants1 on 4/1/2013 6:37:53 AM , Rating: 2
What's oveprriced about marketbot

RE: Its a miracle
By Strunf on 4/2/2013 7:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
It's a 3D printer article sponsored by a market research company, company that probably invested in 3D "stocks"...

"Olympus has fallen"
By lmlim on 3/30/2013 8:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
"Olympus has fallen" is imminent... huh???

RE: "Olympus has fallen"
By lmlim on 3/30/2013 8:50:18 AM , Rating: 2
oops wrong post.. sorry.

Price will drop fast
By Ottawa_super on 3/29/2013 1:58:17 PM , Rating: 2
I remember when color photocopiers were selling for $60,000, so I expect this technology to become way more affordable before long.

Printing materials
By Doken44 on 3/29/2013 3:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
I work in industrial screen printing, and the industry's been around a very long time. The "ink" is still expensive, some is VERY expensive.

I'd be very interested in seeing what the types of "inks" used for these 3d printers are and what they cost.

In the future...
By CaedenV on 3/29/2013 4:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
Growing up I always wanted to watch some sort of Star Trek show that gave a slice of life of what it would be like to move from our world to the Star Trek world. I always imagined the invention of the replicator to have brought huge amounts of tumult because you would essentially be replacing some 90% of the world's jobs (manufacture, design, R&D, distribution, retail, and customer service) with a box that essentially takes electricity (something necessarily cheap in the future), and makes product in your home.
When I first heard of 3D printers for home use some 3-4 years ago I was blown away, but the tech was prohibitively expensive, and only capable of making relatively small things. Now you can make things up to an 8" cube for a very low entry cost, and the plastic and power costs are not terribly high either. It seems like it is the first step towards building a replicator device, and I am pretty stoked to see this part of history unfold!

Now as an adult I have seen a ton of potentially disruptive technologies come, but have a relatively small effect on the market. I thought that online shopping would easily bankrupt electronics stores and some other retail spaces, but it hasn't, and in fact I give my local Microcenter more and more business because they tend to have better sales than Newegg lately. I thought that cheap and easy media streaming services like Pandora and Netflix would destroy physical media sales of things like CDs and DVDs, but it hasn't, and now physical media and drive space is so cheap that I am considering going back to physical media purchases and making my own private media streaming service for my home. I thought that distribution services like Steam and OnLive would have killed off game stores, but they have found a way to stay in the game so far, and when next gen consoles push direct purchasing I am sure that physical stores will find a way to continue on.
Now in my mind I cannot help but think that the ability to download, customize, and print common objects would simply destroy things like the gift giving, kids toy, and nick-nack markets... but I am sure that I will be wrong there too, and somehow places will still manage to get along just fine. But still, in my mind I would think that the $500 home printers available today would make a significant impact in the realm of retail stores, and Chinese factory orders.

Anywho, I am super excited about this technology getting bigger and cheaper so quickly! To think that when I was a kid it was entertaining to watch the old ribbon printer do it's thing, and to try and guess when it would print the next line of text (or ascii art). In a few years when my kiddos are old enough to start playing with this type of tech it should be super cheap, and we will have all sorts of fun with it! $2000 for an industrial quality printer in 3-5 years? Why wouldn't I get one for home so I can build my little boy all the action figures he could ever want, or build an awesome doll house for my little girl? In the long run it is probably cheaper, plus I can make it personal which is way cooler than something that millions of other kids will have.

Nothing to see
By Strunf on 4/2/2013 7:33:00 AM , Rating: 2
The 3D printer stocks are nothing more than speculation no wonder many stock "advisors" like to put it like it's a must have... the fact is that people nowadays are moving away from physical things into virtual ones.

Also 3D printed objects will never be cost effective compared to mold made objects, sure with 3D printer you can have your custom object but how many people really want to have a personalized object.

For me 3D printers are just a new hype, sure they are useful to some but nothing like the market research companies make you believe.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot
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