The average consumer who has tried out 3D printing has experienced it as a laborious, expensive way to print rough-edged plastic trinkets. That, in turn, has tended to scare the average business away from the nascent industry. This response has acted as a camouflage of the massive progress being made in producing objects on demand. A company with a deep legacy of printing on paper, HP, is betting that 3D printing will be a major revenue category in the next decade. This week, at its sprawling Innovation Lab outside Barcelona, Spain, it revealed the vast range of commercial and industrial products it is making possible to be printed on demand. From a BMW intake manifold to dental moulds, to prosthetic limbs to printers that print themselves, it has moved dramatically beyond plastic toys. Nick Lazaridis, president of HP for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Business Times that HP's initial foray into 3D printing was a bit like Ford saying you could have any colour as long as it...

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