3D printers still a decade away from mainstream use in consumers' homes

High-quality 3D printers can prove costly

The public is still a decade away from seeing widespread use of 3D printers in consumers’ homes, according to a report from analyst firm Gartner.

The firm claimed that the medical and business applications of 3D printers are numerous but their price will see them used only by industry for years - before they enter mainstream use.

Although 40 manufacturers sell 3D printers at prices of several hundred pounds, it stated that the price is “too high for mainstream consumers at this time".

It added that organisations are more willing to experiment with 3D printing devices because they can be used in business on a daily basis.

Additionally, the report argued that 3D printing isn't one technology but "seven different ones".

The report read: "Hype around home use obfuscates the reality that 3D printing involves a complex ecosystem of software, hardware and materials whose use is not as simple to use as 'hitting print' on a paper printer.”

Pete Basiliere, vice-president of Gartner research, said: "3D printing is evolving rapidly, although many technologies are still five to 10 years away from mainstream adoption.

"Consumer adoption will be outpaced by business and medical applications that have more compelling use cases in the short term."

Basiliere added that executives looking into the potential of 3D printing, should first, determine the material, performance and quality requirements of the finished good before making a choice on a product.

This comes after Amazon last month announced that some manufactures will sell customisable 3D printed objects through a new outlet on its website.

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