3D printers are claiming to be able to radically change product prototyping, modeling and on demand sculpting, and there are models in the range of US$ 600 hitting the street, making them accessible to end users
All this is new, but one trend I can predict , being from printer industry is that the Vendor profits are going to be driven by sales of consumable rather than the printer itself. Its a well known fact that most of the printer vendors lose money selling printers, making up all the loss and some killer profits in consumable. That’s why they protect the consumable business with several patents, embedding properitory chips in the consumable and lawsuits against anyone who make a compatible consumable , making sure that their consumable can’t be manufactured by anyone else.
3D printer vendors also are going to make sure that their aftermarker consumable business doesn’t go to any third party. At this time, most of the 3D printers use either one kind of plastic or other, which is easy for others to manufacture, but it’s not difficult to see how this will change in future.