Feeds

Study finds open-source home 3D printer could save $2,000 a year

'Enormous potential wealth for everyone,' boffin claims

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A study by Michigan Technological University claims that the average US household could save itself up to $2,000 by printing their own products and parts instead of buying them from the store.

"With the exponential growth of free designs and expansion of 3D printing, we are creating enormous potential wealth for everyone," said professor Joshua Pearce, coauthor of the paper "Life-cycle economic analysis of distributed manufacturing with open-source 3-D printers", published in Mechatronics.

The study took 20 household objects, including cellphone accessories, a garlic press, and a showerhead, and calculated it would take between $312 to $1,944 to buy them on Google Shopping and have them delivered.

They compared this to the cost of buying a RepRap 3D printer, and calculated the same products could be made using $18 of printer supplies, 25 hours of production time, and a smidgeon of power. Under those circumstances the printer pays for itself in between four months and two years, depending on which 20 products are created every year.

"The unavoidable conclusion from this study is that the RepRap is an economically attractive investment for the average US household already," says the paper. "It appears clear that as RepRaps improve in reliability, continue to decline in cost and both the number and assumed utility of open-source designs continues growing exponentially, open-source 3-D printers will become a mass-market mechatronic device.

But there's a lot of wiggle-room in a study like this. This hack doubts US households buy that many spoon holders a year, although to be fair they are easy to make, thus their inclusion, one supposes. Also, $18 for supplies seems very low, considering the cost of such supplies on the market today.

But there's more to making an object than copying its outside appearance. A good garlic press, for example, needs a heavy cutting edge, a strong central hinge and handles that can take a lot of pressure if making a good ragu isn't to become an exercise in frustration. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.