TechRepublic posted a nice summary of the key issues keeping 3D printing from being more widely adopted. Just because 3D printing isn’t quite ready for the average consumer doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in the art world. However, many of the same issues that negatively impact consumers are also of concern for artists.
For us stereotypical starving artists the cost of the printers and the material is certainly a key issue.
PLA and ABS plastic are not very sturdy; making them a poor choice for many types of art projects.
There is hope that with the expiring if the patient for selective laser sintering (SLS) printers that their cost will come down. The importance of SLS printers to artists is that they have the ability to print with more durable materials (glass, metal and ceramic).
The lower cost printers don’t replicate CAD designs very accurately.
Like many artistic processes, 3D printers have safety issues to keep in mind: FDM printers can reach very high temperatures; Powder-based printers are messy and potentially explosive and the emissions from SLS printer are a cause for concern.