A signal 3-D printing is passing the point of mainstream, Home Depot on Monday began selling MakerBot Replicator printers as part of a pilot project.
The test, which spans 12 locations in California, Illinois, and New York, follows Home Depot's move three months ago to offer MakerBot printers on its website. MakerBot, which Stratasys, a 3-D printing company geared to professionals acquired last year, has sold more than 50,000 devices since its founding in 2009.
“Ten years from now, it will be quite common for people to have 3-D printers in their homes,” Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd told Bloomberg Businessweek. The publication cited research that said the 3-D printing consumer market totaled $70 million to $80 million last year and is expected to hit $600 million in 2017.
Though 3-D printing has made considerable progress in recent years, one of the major challenges of consumer models remains the output quality. The resulting products are usually of lower quality, a reflection of the materials used, which are often the same as those of plastic lids and Lego pieces.
[Image: Flickr user Keith Kissel]