HP is catching the 3D printing wave with plans to launch its own product by the middle of next year. However, the technology in general, no matter how sophisticated, is unlikely to replace conventional manufacturing anytime soon, although it will have its place, experts say. "Many industries are starting to understand that 'Will this replace mass production' is not the right question; 'What new business models are enabled by this technology' is the right question," said Cornell engineering professor Hod Lipson.

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