HP set to make major 3D printer revelation in June

HP is planning a big 3D printer announcement for June, and the company claims to have cracked two of the major stumbling blocks when it comes to three dimensional printing.

This came from the CEO of HP, Meg Whitman, who was speaking at the firm's shareholder meeting, and generally trying to fan the flames under HP's stock.

So what are the two big issues 3D printers are held back by? Whitman said that it basically boiled down to performance and quality. 3D printers are too slow – she waxed glacial and noted 3D printing was like "watching ice melt" in terms of speed – and also the end product isn't always as satisfactory as it should be.

According to PC World, Whitman noted that in terms of quality: "The surface of the substrate is not perfect."

"We believe we have solved both these problems and we'll be making a big technology announcement in June around how we are going to approach this," she said.

HP is, of course, a big name in traditional printing, so it certainly makes sense that the company should be pushing down this avenue (in fact, perhaps the only surprise is that it hasn't done so sooner).

Don't get too excited about what you're going to see this summer, though, as all HP is making is an announcement about exactly what this tech is – we probably won't see any revolutionary new products unleashed.

HP intends to tackle the higher-end territory of the enterprise market to begin with, rather than consumer-focused 3D printers. While 3D printing began as an expensive hobby for the amateur, there are now more affordable machines out there.

At CES in January, one of the big 3D printer players, MakerBot, revealed a trio of new fifth-gen models, one of them the Replicator Mini which the company is pitching as a more wallet-friendly introduction for novices.

As for the consumer side – we can take it or leave it, but the business applications for many firms are obvious in terms of producing their own prototypes and so forth.