Until recently, office technology largely concerned the latest advances in printing technology and other shortcuts in the average workplace environment. However, new shifts in the market have turned in an entirely new direction, with the newest equipment possibly printing much more than just papers.
According to CNN, 3D printers are becoming ever-closer to mainstream adoption with rapidly declining costs dovetailing with new and more efficient functions. While recent years have seen the technology suffer occasionally from issues such as limited features and frequent printing failures, new steps taken by development companies are quickly pushing it closer to the open market.
Its uses are rapidly expanding, for instance, with plastic no longer the only material that products can be made out of. Metal and even edible objects can easily be created using the technology, often costing only in the mid-thousands, while ceramics and pottery are on the rise as well. At the same time, companies are cutting down on errors and removing much of the stress and strain from the technology's development.
Accordingly, the demand for printers is rising, and not just because of new developments like a one-button printer that can immediately develop products sent. Gartner says the printers' shipments will rise by 75 percent in 2014, and the overall consumer market will hit $133 million in addition to the $536 million overall development market.
Sculptures and jewelry
The growing possibilities for objects to be printed are largely responsible for the rapidly increasing interest in the technology. USA Today reports that toys, tea cups, iPhone cases, sculptures and even jewelry can all be developed in record time. One worker told the news source that with prices down and the quality of printed products rising, it's now possible for independent designers, and likely small business leaders, to buy their own printers.
Developments using the technology continue to grow as well. Recent MakerBot and XYZPrinting models have dropped their prices into the thousands and even hundreds of dollars, also adding new uses in the home. One prominent use is expected to be in replacing parts – a small piece that may cost hundreds of dollars may be able to be replicated in mere hours.
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