The global market for additive manufacturing products and services jumped by 26.4% in 2010, with the growth spurt not only attributed to economic recovery, but also better equipment affordability. Gone apparently are the days where multi-million dollar investment was required to secure a rapid prototyping capability.
While high-end machines may still range in price up to $500,000, "standard" equipment can typically be procured for anywhere between $30,000 and $150,000, while entry level $4,000 3D printing units are also now available. For those with an engineering inclination, there are even open source solutions freely available that can be constructed for around $1,000, according to Lukasz Pienkowski of service provider 4T Technologies (Singapore). Another growth driver is a wider selection of system suppliers, numbering at least 25 including 11-plus 3D printer manufacturers....