It moved into the home and retail stories this year and will explode in 2013 as the initial $2,000 price of owning a home 3D printer tumbles.
It’s true, consumers may not yet fully understand 3D printing, but the companies they know and love surely get it. In 2012, Staples announced plans to add 3D-printing services to a handful of European outlets and will expand to other countries in short order. When consumers see a 3D printer next to tall stacks of bright-white printing paper, they may start to wonder what all the 3D hype is about.
Concurrently, there will be more and more stories of 3D printing in our everyday lives and industries: at doctors’ offices, in hospitals, even at the local auto mechanic.
In 2013, I expect to see a lot more 3D-printer hardware and services competition and possibly even the first 3D-toy printer.