Besides drones, 3D printing is the latest technology fad to have hit the consumer space, and Gartner predicts that by 2018, over 2.3 million 3D printers will be shipped, and most of them will be consumer desktop 3D printers.
Yet it's still quite difficult to make the case for why consumers need a 3D printer, while currently people are using them mainly to print out plastic toys. The printers are also very expensive, with prices ranging from $459 (£299) up to $2,500.
The 3D printing industry envisions a world where there will be a 3D printer in every home, but at the moment, numerous 3D printers are being released and they all contain their own proprietary software, which can be very complicated for users to get to grips with.
If the user encounters problems with their 3D printer and requires support, according to Aaron Roy, head of operations for free open source software platform 3DPrinterOS, it currently takes up to four days for 3D printer manufacturer support teams to respond to email support tickets.
XYZprinting, a Taiwanese printer that is currently offering the cheapest 3D printer commercially outside of crowdfunding initiatives, is hoping to overcome the obstacles facing consumer 3D printing by bringing prices down through manufacturing large volumes of printers, opening telephone call centres around the world, and simplifying its software.
Software firms such as Autodesk and 3DPrinterOS are also working to simplify software and enable many different 3D printers to connect, in order to improve user experience.