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3D Printing: Investing Idea, Consumer Good, Or Work Of Art?

James Dennin, Kapitall: 3D printing is moving into art and design, but will it ever find a way into the typical household?

There's been a lot of talk of 3D printers. We cover it all the time ourselves, considering the sector's ups and downs here, here, and here.

Read more from Kapitall: 3D Printing Stocks: Taking Disruption Lessons from Apple

And yet, despite our best efforts to keep up, speculation continues to swirl. 3D printing technology, in our opinion, has the most disruption potential since the PC or, depending on how you look at it, Amazon (AMZN)

Maybe it's because thinking about the future of 3D printing captures the imagination more than discussing other sectors – most of which produce products that aren't necessarily as pretty. There's even a new movement among aficionados of 3D printing who see the technology potentially democratizing great works of art.

And new technology from the most established 3D printing firm – Autodesk (ADSK) - allows you to create scans for printers using photographs. 

That could go a long way toward making the product more accessible. Not every consumer is going to develop the kind of design skills or computer literacy needed to input schematics into the software that corresponds with 3D printers.

An important part of the development of 3D printing is turning it into a consumer good, as opposed to something used by professional designers and inventors for specialized parts.

Early adopters also see the potential for scanners in the realms of design and art. Scanners could let you space out and print decorations for an entire room almost at once. There are even some who believe there's a market for 3D printed, near-perfect replicas of great works of art – although it can take as many as a few hundred photographs to capture every nuance. 

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