How 3D Printing Is Changing Etsy

The future of 3D printing

Cheap, high-end 3D printers coming

Holmes' dream of a more sophisticated future of 3D printing isn't far-fetched. In fact, it may happen sooner than he thinks. Low-cost, high-quality printers that can produce both functional prototypes and finished products are already starting to appear on the market, and they have 3D artisans like Hsu excited.

Hsu, who currently has to wait two to four weeks to receive her 3D-printed models from Shapeways, is eager to get her hands on her own 3D printer, even if she can only use it to test new materials. She said she's keeping her eye on the Form 1 by Formlabs, a first-of-its-kind desktop stereolithography (SL) printer that uses an ultraviolet laser to harden photo-sensitive liquid plastic into a three-dimensional object.

Access to such a printer could be a game changer for artisans like Hsu, who said she's already looking to branch out from the world of 3D-printed jewelry.

"I want to gradually make objects that relate more and more to the life around us — for example, home and kitchen accessories, then moving on to bigger things," Hsu said. "I want to learn by thinking about a thing I am interested in and then making it."

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