From the first time any of us saw a replicator on Star Trek
, we’ve been dreaming of the day when we could just dial up whatever we wanted and watch it magically appear in front of us thanks to a powerful machine. We’re obviously a ways off from that reality even with the advent of 3D printing
, but according to Gartner, 3D printing capabilities are going to skyrocket in the near future, even as prices drop.
To put a number on it, the research firm believes that enterprise-class 3D printer
s will be available for a price tag under $2,000 within three years’ time. Still, it’s reasonably affordable even now. “The hype leads many people to think the technology is some years away when it is available now and is affordable to most enterprises,” said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner, in a statement.
Cubify consumer 3D Printer
The Gartner report further notes that companies would be wise to become early adopters of 3D technology, as they’ll have a distinct advantage over those who don’t put the time in to understand 3D printing’s capabilities, technologies, knowledge of materials, and so on.
Gartner makes an excellent point. The 3D printing market is developing rapidly, with everything from consumer-oriented machines
and sites like MakerBot
to massive building construction
3D printers. Use cases are limited only the imagination (and, you know, the current level of technology); everyone has seen neat little toys that have been printed in 3D, but other people have found uses for 3D printing in the medical
and personal defense
3D printed exskeleton for a little girl
As with every developing technology, costs will inevitably drop while capabilities will increase. Gartner suggests jumping on board the train while it’s still gaining steam.