As costs continue to fall, 3-D printing is becoming more accessible to small businesses. This nascent trend in turn is sparking creativity and innovation among entrepreneurs who couldn't afford the once very expensive technology.
Some in the fast-evolving industry are even calling it a game changer for manufacturers and beyond.
3-D printing allows users to download designs from the Internet and transform the printouts—layer by layer—into three-dimensional physical objects. The applications are seemingly endless. Small firms are creating custom objects and spare parts for everything from toys to artificial limbs—all at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing.