Industrial 3D printers have existed since the early 1980s and have been used extensively for rapid prototyping and research purposes. These are generally larger machines that use proprietary powdered metals, casting media (e.g. sand), plastics, paper or cartridges, and are used for rapid prototyping by universities and commercial companies. Industrial 3D printers are made by companies including Mcor Technologies Ltd, 3D Systems, Objet Geometries, and Stratasys.
Source: WikipediaCompanies have created services where consumers can customize objects using simplified web based customization software, and order the resulting items as 3D printed unique objects. This now allows consumers to create custom cases for their mobile phones. Nokia has released the 3D designs for its case so that owners can customize their own case and have it 3D printed.
As early as 2010, work began on applications of 3D printing in zero or low gravity environments. The primary concept involves creating basic items such as hand tools or other more complicated devices "on demand" versus using valuable resources such as fuel or cargo space to carry the items into space.
Additionally, NASA is conducting tests to assess the potential of 3D printing to make space exploration cheaper and more efficient. Rocket parts built using this technology have passed NASA firing tests. In July of 2013, two rocket engine injectors performed as well as traditionally constructed parts during hot-fire tests which exposed them to temperatures approaching 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,316 degrees Celsius) and extreme pressures.