Home > Despite hype, widespread consumer 3D printing a long way off: Gartner

Despite hype, widespread consumer 3D printing a long way off: Gartner

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Research released this week by US-based technology information firm Gartner has suggested mainstream adoption of 3D printing by consumers is five to 10 years away.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for 3D Printing, 2014 report identified two major themes, according to a release from the firm.

Enterprise 3D printing (for production) was separate from personal use, and driven by different sets of applications.

The second was that “3D printing” as a description could be misleading, as the broad term covered seven different technologies.

Gartner concluded that widespread consumer use was still up to a decade away.

"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,” said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner.

“However, even this price is too high for mainstream consumers at this time, despite broad awareness of the technology and considerable media interest."

The report notes that the short-term focus would be around business and medical applications, with particular excitement around medical uses such as prostheses.

According to the annual Wohlers Report for this year, the global market for 3D printing was worth $US 3.07 billion last year, an increase of increased 34.9 per cent in 2013.

Image: Gartner

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