We believe it's huge and growing, but it's always good to evidence of this, which we noticed in a comment thread on io9, where they had asked the intriguing question, "what do you want to 3D print?"
While the answers from the io9 audience ranged from sports to gaming to medical to toys to spouses to jewelry to clothes to electrical circuits and of course robots, it was clear the range was pretty much infinite.
One commenter, "raptavio", claimed to be an "employee of a 3d printing company" and "I see many interesting, useful, and amazing things pass through our production floor." Of that we have no doubt, having visited many 3D printing operations it is always startling what you see decorating cubicles. raptavio discussed his nested Tardis design, but also said:
Oh, it's amazing. The things we do here are so cool. Plus — our customers. We've done prototypes and molds for costume parts for major motion pictures. We're printing parts that will be going into outer space in the next 1-2 years (the actual stuff we're printing is going, not a finished part based on our prototype). And we get foreign officials and corporate bigwigs visiting all the time. I'm getting used to showing up at work and finding the Secret Service is here.
Really? The Secret Service? What might they be 3D printing? Or researching?
In any case, raptavio concluded:
It is a fantastic time to be part of the additive manufacturing industry.
Image Credit: Wikimedia