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3D printers become more popular as prices fall.

Dubai: Demand for 3D printers is growing in the UAE as prices drop.

"Demand is strong because what we've seen is the price point going down," said Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer at consumer electronics retailer, Jacky's.

Speaking at Gitex Shopper 2015, a popular consumer electronics event which opened in Dubai on Wednesday, Panjabi pointed out that the cheapest 3D printer at Jacky's last year was the Dh36,000 Stratasys Mojo, while the cheapest this year is the MakerBot Replicator Mini, which costs Dh6,299.

3D printers create three-dimensional objects layer by layer from a digital model, and are capable of printing just about anything -- smartphone cases and car parts, to name a few -- in materials like plastic and metal.

3D printers have seen rising global popularity over the last couple of years. Global shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow from 108,151 units in 2014 to 217,350 units this year, according to a report by Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm. It forecast that shipments of 3D printers will more than double every year between 2015 and 2018, with worldwide shipments reaching more than 2.3 million.

Panjabi said the MakerBot printers are popular with schools and architecture firms. His company has sold 150 MakerBot printers since June last year, he said.

Demand for the MakerBot 3D printers are driven not only by lower prices, but also by higher awareness of 3D printing, he said.

Given the popularity of MakerBot printers, Jacky's started selling Mcor paper-based 3D printers last month. Panjabi expects good demand for the products this year, accounting for between "15-20 per cent" of sales of the company's printer business.

Jacky's is offering promotions on its 3D printers. Customers that buy a MakerBot printer can get 2 kilograms of filament.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Apr 2, 2015
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