Home users may never see cheap 3D printers in their homes as development costs may prevent manufacturers from making sub-$500 printers according to tctmagazine.com.
Although the sub-$1000 printer market segment will still be profitable Todd Grimm expects the prosumer market, with an expected price point of around $5000, to flourish. The low-end 3D printer market is over-crowded at the moment with new Kickstarter projects seemingly every week. Most of these manufacturers will not survive as they will not be able to fund the development of new more advanced models.
The article goes on to explain that the prosumer machines that are made by 3D Systems and the latest MakerBot Replicator printers are priced around $3000. Compared to the sub-$1000 machines, these printers offer professional level cabinets that are more expensive to develop and manufacture coupled with more advanced features and easier to use software.
It will be interesting to see if this price point becomes a reality and it is expected that consumer-class machines will have to continue to go upmarket to chase customers. As the article states, consumers will buy just one entry-level 3D printer and use a small amount of material per year, whereas for businesses there will be multiple 3D printers using many more times the material.
At some point all manufacturers will have to target the prosumer market in some way, and if they offer a low-cost printer it will not have the features, finish or flair of the prosumer models.