The RepRap project has really brought the price of these printers down with (largely) self-printing. Kit prices go for as low as $500. I look forward to the metal version being presently developed called the MetalicaRap printer. They have a design goal of reducing the current cost of a 3d EBM printer by a factor of 100. Arcam's EBM printer presently costs about $500,000. See here, http://reprap.org/wiki/MetalicaRap
thats pretty cool, on a quick glance.
its a shame their thermal modeling software choice "code-aster" is so inefficient that it takes many cores to and time to perform its tasks
http://www.code-aster.org/V2/spip.php?article643 or you could use a bunch of these in a small cluster :)
Exynos 4412 ODROID-U2
perhaps they will have another Code_Aster hackathon and re-factor it for AVX/NEON SIMD sometime
actually thinking about a little more they may get even better total throughput if they take the http://julialang.org/
"Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic programming language for technical computing, with syntax that is familiar to users of other technical computing environments. It provides a sophisticated compiler, distributed parallel execution, "
the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atAdpt5SZe8 "XMOS XMP-64 Development Board" for unlimited IO and control expansion and read up on these http://phys.org/news/2012-12-team-fractal-geometry-lighter.html algorithm papers then integrate it all in a small Open Hardware space
I remember some of the first desktop laser printers being pretty expensive. There was one guy in our class that had one. The rest of us were printing near letter quality on dot-matrix.
So how long will it take for the 3D printer to make it down to the $50 level?
actually if their using the Paper-Based 3D Printer Now Adds a Splash of Colour then heres some video you can compare samples, looks fine for producing a first draft "SylvieBarak" :)
but a FORM 1 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/formlabs/form-1-an-affordable-professional-3d-printer
would probably be better