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Consumers are still meh about 3D printers

Lucas Mearian | April 25, 2014
3D printers may be gaining ground in the workplace, but the same isn't true for consumers, according to Juniper Research.

"My personal opinion is this is not a market mature enough, and if they don't come into it with enough level of support, the right level of systems surrounding it and the right level of maturity, it will be a lot of noise and it will throw the stocks around, but I don't think it will shift the market," Wagner said.

Wagner spoke as part of a venture capitalist panel at the recent " Inside 3D Printing Conference" in New York City earlier this year. "I think there's a lot of expertise required to do this [3D printing] right and I don't know that the market is mature enough yet for the large technology manufacturers to be able to...come in and help to back it," he said.

Terry Wohlers, lead analyst and founder of Wohlers Associates, said HP has been more tight-lipped about 3D printing than any technology in past memory. "They're saying nothing about this, even to people internally who work for the company. We don't know what they're doing. Until they tell us more it's total speculation," Wohlers said.

In January, the Hershey Company penned a multi-year development agreement with printer maker 3D Systems to create a variety of 3D printed chocolate and non-chocolate products and consumer and professional 3D food printers.

"Educating and motivating the public on the idea of 3D printing to create everyday objects is critical for the long-term success of this segment," said Juniper analyst Nitin Bhas. "Killer applications and content will be the key drivers — something unique and personalized, which is not available in stores already."


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