SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— As the technology improves and costs come down, 3D printers are getting closer to becoming mainstream. Consumers can expect more user-friendly models to be introduced for homes, the workplace and in classrooms.

Terry Wohlers, a 3D printing industry consultant said that while 3D printers may continue to be used somewhat sparingly at home, their use in schools from elementary to college is on the upswing.

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“It’s very important to introduce the technology to young people to help shape and create this new generation of designers and makers,” he said.

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He sees the world of 3D printing as creating not just objects and items we can use, but also as a source of countless job opportunities. He cited comments recently made by a General Electric executive.

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“We won’t see thousands of new businesses, but tens of thousands of new companies that will come about. Young people— people really of all ages that will start companies and develop new types of products and services as a result of this technology,” he said.