For now it is rather useless to the general populous in terms of cost vs usability but the same could be said about the personal computer thirty years ago or the the first automobile in a time when horses were the norm.
I guess this would fall into the entusiast category but I can see it being used to make replacement parts which are no longer available because the product has been discontinued. And I could see some of those parts being quite large if one can come up with a way to make it in sections and then snap them together. For that to take off, however, there needs to be good 3D scanning devices and cheap and easy 3D software for adding the snaps to the scanned pieces of the part.
xroe: back when I was diddling around with my first Radio Shack Model I my girl friend's mother, who was a teacher, asked me, "But what can you _DO_ with it?" And the truth was, not much, back then. But it dawned on me when I got my first color IBM XT that the answer was just about anything you can do with a canvas and paint or pencil and paper. That pretty much includes everything that went before in the field of arts and literature. I have the distinct impression that 3D printing is in that same stage right now, maybe like Gutenberg printing press.
i am 100% sure that the naysayers of 3d printing will also be on the long list of the blind who didn't see tablet computers or smart phones taking off, more than 1mb needed in a computer and so on. History is littered with failed gimmicks but also actual life changing products we often take for granted today that in the past were labelled as a fad or no one needs them.
I'm an owner of the very model machine pictured. The author nailed it 100%. My printer took a lot of modifications to get it to make great quality prints. That took more skill than the average consumer can provide. Also most people don't 'get it' when it comes to what you can print. The term 'anything within the printers build volume' just doesn't trigger anything creative in their minds. The few that do get it don't know how to create it and get into a format the machine can understand. Every printer is a little different and few files work with all printers. 3D printers(ing) for the masses is not going to happen until the IQ of the general populous jumps to another level. I don't see critical thinking going that direction anytime soon. What would you like to print that you can't buy effortlessly? I'm an inventor and a prototyper so this machine is my toolbox.