A fall in the costs of hardware and design programs could lead to more people than ever looking for printer supplies for 3D machines.

Managing director of 3dcreationlab.co.uk Brian Withers noted that as well as the machines themselves, greater accessibility to computer-aided design (CAD) programs are making it easier for people to develop their own creations.

He observed that in the 80s, professional software for developing 3D models could set an organisation back £25,000, but now the figure is £2,000 for an equivalent application.

"CAD has become so much more accessible to everybody that you can even have free CAD now in the form of SketchUp by Google," Mr Withers continued.

He added that developments by manufacturers such as HP to cut the manufacturing costs of hardware will see the price come down to a point where people can have a machine on their desks for a reasonable outlay.

Last week, the Financial Times suggested the growth of this technology will lead to a new era of personalised production, which could offer consumers items tailored to their exact desires.