"Today, the software can perform basic manipulations to an object's geometry, and it can do things like embossing text, so you can print a phone case with a name on it," Schell said.
According to Schell, the final retail price once the MODt goes into mass production in late 2015 will still be below $400.
Even at a reasonable price, though, consumer-grade 3D printers are still a technology looking for a purpose. Printing eye-glass frames, smartphone cases and figurines is fun, but hardly worth dropping a few hundred dollars on.
Wohlers believes that the more likely use for mainstream 3D printers will be to fulfill services.
"Bakeries will operate professional-grade machines and consumers will buy custom cakes, chocolates, etc., from them," Wohlers said. "The same is true for the production of industrial parts and products; consumers will buy them online and at shops and this market will grow very large.
"Most consumers will not be running the machines," he added.
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