3-D printing, creating three-dimensional solid objects from digital models, is gathering momentum. Printers that once cost $30,000 now are priced at about $3,000 and have the potential to rewrite the rules of global manufacturing.
"This is a huge technology, it's definitely going to be very big," James Ross, senior portfolio manager at Alliance Bernstein, told CNBC. "It will disrupt traditional manufacturing big time. You don't need nearly as many factories in China—or Africa, if that's next."
The market for 3-D printing was estimated at about $1.7 billion in 2011 and could hit $6.5 billion by 2019, according to research firm Wohlers Associates.