3D printers are ahead of their time.
Where I see them coming of age is when 3D printing technology marries
nano technology so that 3D printers of the future might be used to print
out a 8 1/2 X 11 inch sheet of carbon atoms. (A "Bucky-sheet", if you
And, that will change everything. Monotomic layers of carbon atoms
(called "graphene") conduct electricity with very much less resistance
than metals, including silicon. Consequently, that makes it possible to
produce very much smaller circuits that work much faster on much less
electricity without producing nearly as much heat. Even now, the
fastest computers need to have cooling fans cooling them all of the time
because of the heat the current through their circuits produces. Being
able to print graphene lines just like we can optically print traces on
silicone wafers will provide the technology for the next generation of
electronics. Whatever comes after "integrated circuits" or "chips".
But, I expect it's the lowly 3D printer that will pioneer the technology
to print a Bucky-sheet.