The 3D printers can be available in every home in the near future! Maybe, it sounds incredible, but it is really not so. Earlier we did not believe that computers could be a household item and now they are! A team of researchers of the Michigan Technological University has predicted this in an article “Life-Cycle Economic Analysis of Distributed Manufacturing with Open-Source 3D Printers”.
As the name suggests, the 3D printers can make many things from toys to everyday household gadgets by depositing multiple layers of plastic and other materials, if you have the design that can be obtained from free websites like Thingiverse and open-source 3D printers can be made by downloading from RepRap.
The researches selected 20 common household inexpensive items like cellphone accessories, a garlic press, a shower head, a spoon holder etc that are listed on Thingiverse. They also found out the maximum and minimum prices of those items, without the shipping charges, from Google shopping and also calculated their manufacturing costs using 3D printers. The results are very surprising. While a consumer will require from $312 to $1,944 for purchasing these items, the 3D producing cost is $18 only!
As the cost of an open-source 3D printers ranges from about $350 to $2,000, if a family makes 20 items in a year, the 3D printers will pay off easily. In case high-end items such as customizes orthotics and photographic equipments are made, the return will be higher.
The greatest advantage of 3D printing is that no one needs to be a technical expert for setting up a 3D printer. This can be built easily, and even the RepRap can be set up by anyone without much effort. With tremendous growth of 3D printing, this is expected to bring in a radical change in manufacturing concept in the years to come.