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Wed., Jan. 8, 2014, 2:56 p.m.

Ready for ‘prosumer’ 3-D printing? CES says it’s coming soon to stores

These detailed replicas of machine parts and tools are examples of 3-D items “printed” at Proto Technologies in Liberty Lake.
These detailed replicas of machine parts and tools are examples of 3-D items “printed” at Proto Technologies in Liberty Lake.

Since the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show is still going on, we're keeping track of a couple key tech areas there.

One is 3-D printing. Our recent story on Spokesman.com featured efforts by one company here, Proto Technologies, to provide 3-D prototyping; and another firm, Zak Designs, to move into the area of using 3-D printing to cut operating costs.

This summary, from Time online, summarized some of the notable 3-D developments in Las Vegas this week:

While 3-D has not caught on in TVs, there’s real interest in 3-D when it comes to printers. We will see 3-D printers as low as $499 at CES, and many in the $999-$1,299 range for what you might call a “prosumer” who’s interested in 3-D printing. Although these will really still be used for consumer experimentation, I see them as important tools for flattening out the learning curve within the prosumer and professional markets. I kind of liken the introduction of low-cost 3-D printers to the early days of desktop publishing when it came on the scene in the mid-’80s. Just as desktop publishing revolutionized the publishing world, 3-D printing could create new forms of printing, like becoming an important tool for prototype visualization and small-scale manufacturing projects. If you’re at CES, be sure to check out these lower-cost 3-D printers to see what they can do.

Read more: The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show: 8 Trends to Watch | TIME.com http://techland.time.com/2013/12/30/the-2014-consumer-electronics-show-8-trends-to-watch/#ixzz2pqnEjffF



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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.