A 3D printer geared to the consumer. Starting with kits such as the MakerBot in 2009, fully assembled 3D printers later became available at prices below $2,000. By 2014, there were dozens of personal 3D printers on the market, with many under $1,000.
Sometimes Not So Personal
Personal 3D printers are also employed by product designers to create quick, inexpensive prototypes before switching to industrial 3D printers that create precision models using more costly materials. See 3D printer
and 3D printing
In 2013, this Staples store display for the 3D Systems Cube printer is evidence that 3D printing has landed on the consumer's doorstep.
Print Alan Freedman
The author of this encyclopedia was printed in 3D by Fred Kahl, creator of The Great Fredini Coney Island Scan-A-Rama (www.thegreatfredini.com). Standing very still on Fred's custom-built rotating stand, Alan was captured using ReconstructMe software. Netfabb Basic (green image) was used to "clean" the file and create a watertight solid volume for 3D printing. MakerWare software sliced the model into layers for the MakerBot Replicator personal 3D printer.
Although the 3D model (bottom) is quite recognizable as Alan, his facial features are not entirely precise, primarily because of the size reduction (six feet to six inches). A high-end, industrial-class 3D printer might produce greater detail but not a huge amount more.