The fact is, we do not have any idea where 3d printing will take us. The idea that we'll all have 3d printers in our home is possibly a bit silly.
That said, I also have a huge optimism for the future of 3d printing. But these use cases thrown around by people often just sound silly to me.
Of course everybody wants technology to get exponentially better in the future but like you mentioned, through different social, legal and political factors, it will be extremely hard.
Also a lot of people barely know how to work with wood. I'd expect even fewer to understand the basics of material science to work with polymers and other compounds.
If anything we're at the ImageWriter phase of 3D printing. You could print from home but to have anything worthwhile you'll probably want to take it to a shop who'll have better materials and someone knowledgable. That expert will tell you why you shouldn't use your creation to serve food on or that it dissolves when exposed to solvents.
/house/office and they predicted the future of Japan pretty darn well!
3d printing in our home via cubify.com runs a customer $1300, but no doubt in time that cost will decrease. I say in the next couple of years prices for home 3d printers will be consumer friendly.
On a side note, I think 3D printing is going to hurt many industries and possibly be used nefariously (creating a weapon and or other illegal vices).
I can easily see myself owning a 3D printer to make all the various trinkets I would otherwise buy at IKEA or the dollar store. That is if the quality/price ratio increases.
I have a 3d printer at home, or at least a half-assembled one :) You can get one for yourself at http://reprappro.com/ . The smaller one is only around $669.
And yes, I DO want a 3-d printer in my home. The Form1 looks awesome. My neighbor has a Prusa reprap, and it is definitely too finicky for anyone but the most hardcore early adopter types, in my opinion.
So in about a decade, most of these predictions should start coming true... except with the acceleration of technology, it might take ~5 years instead of ~10.
I'm completely fine with that.
From owning a 3D printer and doing prints for friends in my engineering classes, I think people still greatly underestimate how high touch 3D printing is today.
For example, look at the makerbot google group: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/makerbot
Even looking at Shapeways (an online 3D printing company with really expensive machines), they still deal with quality control problems for the average model someone uploads.
They do a lot of tie-in based LEGO sets that I believe are protected by copyright. However, their basic blocks lost their patent last year so it's open season for those!
However, it will be a great boon to the LEGO community - as they will now have greater access to non-structural, unlicensed parts such as guns  and the ilk.
Who knows, LEGO's .01mm accuracy might become the mark by which 3D printing measures itself someday.
I can understand the printing of rockets and jet engines, but can someone give me a hint into understanding the printing of planets and suns?
Once we have some sort of solution to the materials problem, it sure would be fun to throw out a couple of linked, self-replicating devices into space and check up on them in, oh, a thousand years or so. Hell, bury our best AI somewhere in the core and maybe by the time it's discovered we'll have a created the next Big Thing. I wonder how long it will be before machines can 'meditate' (usefully of course, hibernate doesn't count)...
If you can do that, making a planet is easy. Doesn't even require a printer - just dump a ton of iron, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, etc into a tight area of space and let them collapse together gravitationally, or just throw it in concentrated orbit around a star so they coalesce.
I almost want to recind my original statement, because the real end game is manipulation of the most discrete components of matter, space, or reality. Right now its fundamental particles but who knows what else we may find. In usability terms though, crafting molecules seems like it would have the most benefit.
Yep, agreed. Besides, you don't need to invoke DNA origami (nor the actual techniques you would use to achieve that, like typical genome manipulation) to get trees to grow into chairs.
The main issues with selective laser sintered titanium as a manufacturing process are speed and surface finish. Speed is increasing, and people are making progress with surface finish. CNC milling (which is an incredibly wasteful process) is just a small development from traditional manufacturing processes. 3D printing is the disruptive technology in the room.
For very high scale components stamping and injection moulding will almost certainly remain the most cost effective manufacturing process. For lower scale stuff (especially weight concious things like aircraft parts) SLS 3D printing will almost certainly start to dominate the market in the next few decades.
3D Printing @ home
3D Printing @ labs
3D Printing @ Star Trek
( Furthermore I think a symbol for 3D printing should be invented. The @ is slightly too 90s.)