Bloggers, techies, and industrial innovators in the know seem to have settled on one theme for this year: additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3-D printing. Many have called 2012 "the year of 3-D printing" and expect this 30-year-old technology to break into the mainstream market soon with new industrial viability.

This may have begun at a November 2011 TED Talk where Lisa Harouni, CEO of Digital Forming, gave a now viral speech touting recent advances to the 3-D printing landscape.

She concluded with a bold prediction: "Without a doubt in my mind, I believe that this technology is going to cause a manufacturing revolution and will change the landscape of manufacturing as we know it."

Whether this "revolution" has started is uncertain. What is clear, however, is that developments to the technology have allowed 3-D printers to begin actively saving companies time and money while shortening product-to-market timetables and increasing customization capabilities.