"If you can mass produce a spoon out of metal stamping, 3D printing isn't going to compete with that for a number of years," he says. What 3D printing can compete with: customized parts in low volume such as out-of-circulation spare parts.
"The costs of more accurate machines will be prohibitive to entry into the consumer market for the foreseeable future," adds Turney. "Of course, in many ways only one thing will drive change, and that's the price of goods.... Along with... ease of use, low financial and technological barriers to entry are giving small 3D printing operators a whole new world to discover."