This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has seen several small firms competing to demonstrate how they use printer supplies to create 3D objects.

The BBC noted one of the companies showcasing its latest developments was New York-based start-up Makerbot Industries, whose new Replicator product can create objects as large as a loaf of bread.

It is one of a range of items that are aimed at consumers and promise to offer the technology at a far more affordable price than in the past.

Chief executive of Makerbot Bre Pettos told the BBC: "We want to get this into the hands of the next generation because kids these days are going to have to learn digital design so they can solve the problems of tomorrow."

Also at CES was 3D Systems, whose Cube device was shown producing a variety of self-made toys from plastic cartridges.

The firm added it expects to bring the price of the machine down to below $500 (£326) as adoption among consumers becomes more widespread.

Recently, managing director of Brian Withers stated falling costs for the technology and the availability of computer-aided design software will make 3D printing much more accessible.