In my opinion as well as others 3D printing is set to revolutionize the way we do stuff for ever.
In a matter of years every home and office will own a 3D printer.
3D printing will offer consumers the ability to print solid object from simple reels of plastic.
Currently the technology is still in the early stages in regard to consumers with many people still unsure what 3D printing is and how it can and will benefit them.
Click Here for a list of the best 3D printers.
3D printers can currently print almost anything. The problem is that manufacturers and retailers have been slow to take the technology up. Click Here for a list of examples of what 3D printers can print.
IMHO I believe that what is required for 3D printing to really take off is three fold.
One - the technology needs to get better to the point where we can use smaller printers to print in many different colours, faster, cheaper and with less energy. Currently most 3D printers are expensive, bulky and are only printing with one print head at a time, this mean only one colour per print (object). They are already working on this with newer better models coming out it seems every few months, like this one.
Two - Retailers and manufacturers need to jump on board so that there is a real reason for people to want to buy and use a 3D printer. Currently consumers don't really have a reason to buy a 3D printer with most users only downloading trivial type files with designs such as kitty toys, hex bit holders and toy sausages from sites like thingiverse.
Only when retailers and manufacturers begin working together and creating then offering designs via paid for downloadable files on their websites will 3D printing expand into regular consumer consciousness.
Thirdly - the consumer technology needs to expand outside of simple plastics and begin offering metal based printing which can then be used to print jewellery, tools and computer components, proteins and complex carbohydrates which can be used to print foods and medicines and finally minerals which can be used to print things such as glass ware, dishes and supplements.
Here is one example of where designers and manufacturers are thinking outside of the box when it comes to 3D printing.
I think that as Internet Marketers we need to begin discussing this topic more.
3D printing is going to revolutionize and change everything and the opportunity that we as IMers have is that 3D printing relies on the web.
"Success can be defined as when preparation meets opportunity".