Print 40 comment(s) - last by Just Tom.. on Aug 5 at 4:45 PM

3D printers are now more affordable and easy to use

Three-dimensional printers were once considered too expensive to be part of the typical home's collection of gadgets, but a new study says that idea is changing. 

Michigan Technological University researchers -- led by associate professor Joshua Pearce -- have found that it could be cheaper for households to buy a 3D printer and create their own products than to buy them from stores. 

Three-dimensional printers take materials, such as plastic, and create products by printing layer upon layer from the bottom up, following a specific design. 

Pearce and his team came to this conclusion by identifying 20 common products found in the typical American home. They used the website Thingiverse, which offers free designs of these products for 3D printers.

After choosing the 20 designs, they looked at Google Shopping to see what the highest and lowest prices were for these items if they were to be purchased online (minus shipping charges). 

They then looked at the costs of purchasing the material for the 3D printer to use for product creation, and compared this data with the Google Shopping prices.

The result was that the average American household would spend anywhere between $312 and $1,944 for the 20 chosen products online as opposed to just $18 if they made them with the 3D printer. 

The 3D printers themselves cost anywhere from $350 to $2,000. Pearce said the 3D printer would pay for itself anywhere from a few months to a few years time. 

"For the average American consumer, 3D printing is ready for showtime," said Pearce. "Say you are in the camping supply business and you don't want to keep glow-in-the-dark tent stakes in stock. Just keep glow-in-the-dark plastic on hand, and if somebody needs those tent stakes, you can print them."

"It would be a different kind of capitalism, where you don't need a lot of money to create wealth for yourself or even start a business."

Pearce said the fact that prices are starting to come down for 3D printers, and the fact that it no longer requires an engineer to figure out how to use one, will make 3D printers more ubiquitous in the home in the coming years. 

Source: Science Daily

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RE: But, Does Anyone Actually Need Those Parts?
By dgingerich on 7/30/2013 3:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
I can see a major series of items: gears. Printing replacement gears for vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, computer mice, computer printers, (Wow, the number of HP repairs I could have saved with one of these...) and other plastic mechanical devices would be a tremendous help.

I even have ideas for certain limited use devices that I could build with something like this, such as a mechanism to turn a crank and have it sweep food cans and boxes from the back of the pantry forward, or a small extension arm with a little grabby hand to get those spice containers out from between the stove and the counter.

Sure, they couldn't take a ton of stress with current technology, but they could be printed in the right orientation to withstand as much as the part they're replacing.

your imagination is just too limited. you're probably a product of public education, huh?

RE: But, Does Anyone Actually Need Those Parts?
By Camikazi on 7/30/2013 3:52:21 PM , Rating: 1
I've met more than enough "highly educated" people who couldn't think their way out of a paper bag, don't try to pin lack of imagination on public education since it all depends on the person and not the schools.

RE: But, Does Anyone Actually Need Those Parts?
By dgingerich on 7/30/13, Rating: 0
By ClownPuncher on 7/30/2013 6:49:05 PM , Rating: 3
No, you are failing English because you aren't very good at it.

RE: But, Does Anyone Actually Need Those Parts?
By dgingerich on 7/31/2013 11:31:13 AM , Rating: 2
OK, and do you have two short stories published? I did back in 1993 in Omni Magazine. Do you have political articles published? I did a run of 9 editorial articles in the Denver Post back in 1994. I decided I didn't want to do it for a living. (Honestly, it was more fun to work retail than write all the time, but in 1997 I got into computer support, which was even more fun.) My English grammar, spelling, and punctuation were just fine back then.

By ClownPuncher on 7/31/2013 11:43:18 AM , Rating: 2
I was just judging by your previous post, which was full of errors. Calm that ego.

By Just Tom on 8/5/2013 4:45:24 PM , Rating: 2
I will not comment on any of your other claims but you are lying about your publications in Omni. Omni published very little fiction and the only fiction writer published twice was Joyce Carol Oates. And I doubt you are Joyce Carol Oates.

Here is the list of fiction stories with the authors and issues published.

Fiction: Sacred Cow (pg 56)
by Bruce Sterling

Fiction: The Battle of Long Island (pg 62)
by Nancy Kress

Fiction: Like My Dress (pg 58)
by Kit Reed

Fiction: The Diane Arbus Suicide Portfolio (pg 58)
by Marc Laidlaw

Fiction: Grand Prix (pg 58)
by Simon Ings

Fiction: England Underway (pg 58)
by Terry Bisson

Fiction: Mrs. Jones (pg 58)
by Carol Emshwiller

Fiction: Art Appreciation (pg 62)
by Barry N. Maltzberg and Jack Dann

No fiction
Fiction: Thanksgiving (pg 78)
by Joyce Carol Oates

Fiction: The Relativity of Chaos (pg 70)
by Michaela Roessner, Connie Willis, and John Kesselby Joyce Carol Oates

By inighthawki on 7/30/2013 7:13:38 PM , Rating: 3
My papers are near perfect

lol. Of course they are. And all your English profs are out to get you.

By 91TTZ on 7/30/2013 4:40:49 PM , Rating: 3
How often do you really find yourself replacing gears in vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, or printers? I've never had to do it and the replacements only cost about $10 anyway.

If you look on Amazon you can find replacement gears for printers for really cheap. It's very unlikely that you'll be able to save money 3D printing gears when factories injection-mold these things by the thousands.

RE: But, Does Anyone Actually Need Those Parts?
By augiem on 7/31/2013 2:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
The thing to consider is how long will it take you to model all these replacement parts? You have to have very precise measurements, which isn't going to be easy for most people. When the day comes where manufacturers give you access to replacement part 3D files, then it will be a lot easier. Or, of course, when entire products can be printed with plans. But alas, now we have assembly to worry about. So ultimately, is your time worth the massive time investment? Still, I think one would be a fun thing to have to play around with.

By krutou on 7/31/2013 12:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
"When the day comes where manufacturers give you access to replacement part 3D files, then it will be a lot easier."

No doubt manufacturers will charge you to use their plans.

Maintaining adequate stock and distribution of spare parts for an acceptable price is a challenge for manufacturers. If they could just charge you to let you do all the work yourself? They'd be all over that.

What this article and most proponents of 3D printing neglect is the cost of developing intellectual property. Anything that is more cost effective to print is generally protected by intellectual property laws because thats whats being sold. 3D printing isn't big enough where big companies have the incentive to sue websites like Thingiverse for copyright infringement.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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