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Gartner Says Consumer 3D Printing Is More Than Five Years Away

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, August 28, 2014
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3D printing and its uses continue to evolve rapidly in response to hype, greater visibility and, more importantly, demand. Naturally, some technologies are maturing faster than others and will be widely available in just a few years. In fact, some are already in general use. An example is 3D printing for prototyping, which has been the mainstay of the 3D printing industry since its inception.

 "3D prototyping enables organizations to reduce or mitigate the risks associated with the design, form and functionality of products in research and development programs. It may also be used to support new manufacturing processes, and can reduce new product development schedules," said Mr. Basiliere.

 In two to five years, there will be greater adoption of enterprise 3D printing, nurtured in part by the continued acceptance and use of 3D print creation software, 3D scanners and 3D printing service bureaus. "At around this time, 3D printing of medical devices will offer exciting, life-altering benefits that will result in global use of 3D printing technology for prosthetics and implants," added Mr. Basiliere.

 Lastly, and reflecting different market drivers, macro 3D printing of large structures and classroom 3D printing are more than 10 years away from mainstream adoption. This is not to say that valid use cases for each do not exist:  the work on macro 3D printing shows great promise but has only just begun. Meanwhile, adoption of any new technology within secondary and post-secondary schools, even one as transformative as 3D printing, is always expensive and difficult to implement, especially when considered in relation to the explosion of other educational technology that is competing for attention in the classroom.

 More detailed analysis is available in the report "Hype Cycle for 3D Printing, 2014," which is available on Gartner's website at Gartner analysts will discuss the ways in which 3D printing enables digital business at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2014. The Hype Cycle is part of Gartner's "Hype Cycles 2014" Special Report, which includes a video in which Betsy Burton, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst, gives more details of this year's Hype Cycles, as well as links to all the individual Hype Cycle reports.
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