There have been several, often related efforts to develop 3D printers suitable for desktop use, and to make this technology available at price points affordable to many individual end-users. Much of this work was driven by and targeted on DIY/enthusiast/early adopter communities, with links to both the academic and hacker communities.
RepRap is a project that aims to produce a FLOSS 3D printer, whose full specifications are released under the GNU General Public License, and which can print a copy of itself. As of November 2010, the RepRap can only print plastic parts. Research is under way to let the device print circuit boards too, as well as metal parts.