Desktop Factory made 3-D printer smaller, cheaper and more affordable. The company will start selling its first printer for $4,995 this year, and price is expected to fall to $1,000 in next four years. So in the nearest future 3-D printer would be available to home users.
How does the printer actually work, you may ask. The plastic powder, an analogue of toner in regular printers, is dropped on and sticks to a heated roller, where it is fused with a light beam to make an image. Then image is rolled onto metal plate to form a layer. The plate moves down as more layers are stacked to make an object. When the object is created, the plate moves up to squeeze the layers under heat and fuse them. (Pictures taken from www.nytimes.com)
The printing method is yet to be improved, because the model makes objects with rather jagged edges and rather sandy finish that many do not find attractive, NY Times story tells. But there is demand that does not require high quality and cannot afford large printers.
The picture above shows what kind of object the new 3-D printer can create. They say more 3-D objects blueprints will be available later on the Internet for people to download and create.