今年以来，随着像史泰博（Staples）这样的公司开始推出普通消费者也买得起的3D打印机，3D打印热潮开始受到各界的热烈追捧。本月初，3D系统公司（3D Systems）制造的3D打印机The Cube在Staples.com上以每台1300美元的定价开始销售；七月就能在实体店买到。但和所有第一代科技产品一样，这些打印机也没法随心所欲打出人们想要的任何东西。号称能打出全球第一把3D手枪的说法也只是个博人眼球的小插曲而已。
The 3-D printing buzz has been a bit overblown this year as companies like Staples (SPLS) begin making them available directly to consumers -- earlier this month The Cube, which is manufactured by 3D Systems (DDD), went on sale for $1,300 through Staples.com; it will likely be available in stores starting as early as July. But just as with any first-generation tech products, these printers won't be capable of doing all that much. The fanfare over the world's first 3-D-printed gun is also a distracting sideshow.
The real potential for 3-D printing will be felt in enterprise -- as companies like Airbus explore using 3-D printing to make, say, airplane parts. That's the bet that fuels Weijmarshausen's ambitions. As big business takes an increasing interest in 3-D manufacturing, the costs of materials will come down. and the machine technology will improve. Customers will be able to order more types of objects in more materials. Today, perhaps it's the iPhone case. Tomorrow, potentially, the phone itself.