“Some key patents” are set to expire in 2014, meaning there will be room for competitors to try their hand at making cheaper, better-quality 3D printers.
“The patents in question are for a technology called “laser sintering,” the lowest-cost 3D printing technique. Laser sintering produces items in very high resolution, which means they can be sold as finished products, and they’re much higher quality than that flimsy novelty stuff you can make on current 3D printers on the market.”
When the patents expire, prices will likely drop drastically (just like with prescription drugs, various appliances, etc.). 2014 could kindle the 3D printing fire for many who can’t yet afford to incorporate it into their business in a relevant and cost-effective way.