Among the next generation of 3D printing patents that will soon expire are key patents for metal-based printing processes.  The patents’ expiration will almost certainly result in significant price reductions for 3D printers in the metal-based field.  For example, a key patent for selective laser melting held by the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology will expire in December 2016.  As a result, 3D printer manufacturers in 2017 and beyond will produce SLM printers at substantially reduced prices (SLM is a great technology for metal 3D printing).  The bottom line is that we expect dramatic growth for printing processes that can produce functional parts in metal.