HP gearing up to enter 3D printing market by 2014: report

HP gearing up to enter 3D printing market by 2014: report

Summary: The computer giant is stepping up its printing efforts by embracing the three-dimensional market, because the existing technology is "like watching ice melt."

TOPICS: Emerging Tech
(Image: CNET TV)

HP is gearing up to enter the 3D printing market by mid-2014, according to the company's chief executive.

Exactly what's on deck remains unclear, however, as executives have yet to detail what the company has in store.

First reported by The Register, Meg Whitman said at the Canalys Channels Platform in Bangkok, Thailand, that she was "excited" about 3D printers and wanted HP to "lead" in the market space. She confirmed the company's labs were looking into the product, and pegged the calendar second-quarter for a public unveiling.

"To print a bottle can take eight to ten hours," she said, according to the London-based publication. "That's all very interesting, but it is like watching ice melt."

HP may be onto something if speed is anything to go by. The company's respective PC and printing units take up about one-quarter of its global annual revenue each year. 

HP unveiled its first-ever 3D printer in 2010, which enabled customers to "print" three-dimensional objects away from the traditional ink-to-paper model.

But while 3D printing may have excited many, few companies have taken to the next-generation concept like a duck to water. There are still very few companies that have commercial 3D printers on the market designed for home or small business use.

Whitman expects 3D printing to take off in the next three years or so, as they "get a little traction... then hit the knee of the curve."

Topic: Emerging Tech

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  • about time

    ..wondered if HP just decided to get off the printer bandwagon and go completely under.
  • "few companies that have commercial 3D printers"?

    Are you crazy? There's at least a dozen companies making commercial 3D printers, and several, like Solidoodle, Bucanneer, and Cube that are aimed at the low end. HP has a real point about speed, but by the time they enter the market that may be a non-issue. Things are evolving VERY quickly.
    • I think she's referring to major companies.

      Most of the ones making 3D printers are small startups who can't generate economies of scale or long term support. A company like HP, with serious production capacity and large market channels could make 3D printers as commonplace and inexpensive as ink jet printers.
      • Ink jet printers are inexpensive; it's the ink that gets you.

        So, likewise, will the 3D printers end up being "cheap", while the building materials end up beyond the consumers' affordability?
        • Already There

          The building materials are already proprietary and expensive by a factor of about 1000 over similar bulk materials (ABS, PLA, etc.)
  • Faster build can be achieved with multiple coordinated nozzles

    and up the speed, it will be very interesting to see what HP brings to the table.
    Reality Bites
  • Its about time...

    that the 600 pound gorilla got into the 3D printing business. Gartner has already told us that 3D printing is a big game changer. I would like to see 3D printing costs go down. HP might be able to do with 3D printing what they have done with 2D printing. For an insightful piece on 3D printing check: http://tinyurl.com/lm3h6kv
  • Waiting for a way to print structural forms..

    Current 3d printed objects are obviously extremely brittle. and best used to make prototypes and models. ( we use one in our Architectural studio..) I guess simple decorative crafts are possible as well. But I am excited for the ability to print out things like bicycle parts, automotive kits and durable architectural elements. Maybe there is a way to weave a spun thread filament into the printed resin and make something akin to fiberglass. Or even carbon fiber which can then be baked in an autoclave etc. It would be interesting to see this tech in 50 years.
  • I don't mind HP getting involved.

    Hopefully having a big company, that deals in conventional printers, will bring the economies of scale necessary, to reduce the price of 3D printers to an affordable amount for the masses.
    Mi Pen