My 2013 Open Source 3D Printer Predictions
• Print quality and speed will improve dramatically. Most of this will come from software developments, including improvements in slicing software, host-control software, and the firmware driving the printers themselves.
• MakerBot will further distance themselves from their Open Source roots and former community. Many will consider this a natural part of their evolution.
• One or two (but no more) companies will become very popular, challenging MakerBot with high quality and mass-market capable open source 3D printers, and further push 3DP into the mainstream consciousness. Many companies and individuals will try to be one of these, but will fail. Most will fail due to lack of understanding of the technology, the market, and mass manufacturing.
• There will be the first legal maneuvering between two or more companies about their fused filament devices, and it will set the tone and pace of the market for years to come. The I.P.-based companies (3DS, Dimension, etc) will not directly be a part of these legal actions.
• New uses (“killer apps”) for in-home or small business 3DP will be what truly makes it a success, but we will only see seeds of those this year.