The saying goes that is better to steal a good idea than to come up with a bad one yourself. I can only assume that the same goes for Blog Posts..
A guy called Richard, student in Melbourne Australia, has written a very nicely put-together blog entry about the trend of 3D printing here;
He uses Google Insight to get an ..uhmm.. insight to find out how 3D printers are tracking over time. Very interesting to see that search results for Reprap are on the rise. Reprap is a kit that can be built or bought ready made. more info here: http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page
As Richard is predicting, in years to come, 3D printers will be very much the next big thing to be picked up by larger companies like HP and Canon. They have the skills and the resources to develop low cost 3D desktop printers that will sell in electronics stores next to conventional 2D printers.
What I believe to be the bottle neck though is how people actually create the 3D files to print their products from. I predict that sites like Shapeways and Ponoko will be quite important in this equation to act as a database of Virtual Products that people can pay for and print out on their own printers. So people who design products will be the selected crowd who will upload their products to these sites and the users will just be choosing from a use range of products from anywhere in the world to print out in their own home. Skipping the middle man and transport all together! So saving cost AND saving the environment!
Mark my words, if companies that own these sites start to float their business on the share market, those are the shares to buy!
Enjoy the following video about the future of 3D printing!