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3D printers will be affordable for the masses within a year, expert claims

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With the first consumer available 3D printers already hitting retailers’ shelves, industry experts have suggested the emerging tech will be affordable to the masses within a year.

Although a number of 3D printers are already available through high street chains such as Maplins and PC World, the starting price for these early, basic models is floating around the £1,200 mark, considerably more than the average consumer is willing to pay.

However, speaking exclusively with TrustedReviews, Jesse Harrington Au, Maker Product Manager at 3D design specialist Autodesk has predicted that within the next 12 months this will change dramatically.

“I think 3D printers will be an affordable option for the masses within a year. Easily within a year actually,” Harrington Au told us.

Suggesting the necessary moves to make 3D printers more affordable to the general consumer have already begun he added: “We are starting to see some of the bigger players come into the market. This has been the last frontier that we are waiting for.

“The ones which are already out, even though they might be priced out of the average home sale, I don’t think that will be for long. If you look at something like Printrbot, or a lot of the Kickstarter projects, there are quite a few that are about to be released in the next six months that are definitely priced for home use.”

Looking at areas where 3D printers are set to improve in the coming year, Harrington Au added: “We are still waiting a bit on technology to make them more robust as a machine so that they get better reviews and people can see the purchasable benefits.”

While current consumer available 3D printers are focusing mostly on hobbyists and the ability to make trinkets and smaller items, Au has predicted that future models will have a larger overall effect on consumers’ lives with the ability to create practical and useful items.

“It is a philosophical change in the way that we learn, in the way that we process information and the way that we problem solve as people,” he said.

“There is now the ability to create your own solution to problems with the objects in your life.”

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