Consumers not ready for 3D printing wave

Friday, 2 August 2013 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Need a toy, just print it out. Need a dress with your very own label... just design one and hit print. It doesn’t stop there. Last month, Nasa commissioned the production of a 3D printer that can make food, instead of just plastic products. 3D printing was invented about 30 years ago, but its appeal has shot up in recent years. Earlier this year, President Obama gave the sector a shout-out in his State of the Union speech as one of the areas for growth. Since then 3D printing stocks have been on a tear. 3D Systems is up 30 percent for the year. The company reported results Tuesday. It missed profit estimates, as its high margins materials business shrank for the quarter. Sales of printers though nearly doubled. But there is scepticism about whether this is going to be a living room device anytime soon... there’s no place for it next to our telephone, TV or even regular printer. Pete Pachal, tech editor at Mashable, said: “I don’t know if it’s quite going to get to that level of say everyday inkjets where everyone has one now. There’s obviously a cost involved with 3D printer that’s a little more and the materials themselves for 3D printers cost a little bit more. But also is there really a need, do you need to print out objects. Everyone could use it, could use that service on some level, like just thinking of toys and hobbies like Lego blocks or something similar you could print out. But is that as necessary as paper. Not really.” 3D Systems is now offering a compact, everyday version called Cube, available in an array of colours, kind of like an iPod. This one retails for $ 1,299. In a push to consumers, the Cube just started selling at B&H in Manhattan last week. But the real area for growth lies in selling those printers to offices, small businesses and stores who need prototypes for products and need them fast.