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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Professor Studies At-Home 3D Printing Usage

    Open source 3D printing advocate and Michigan Technological professor Dr. Joshua Pearce wanted to figure out how cost-effective and practical it was for the average consumer to invest in a desktop 3D printer and use it at home. In a study, titled "Emergence Of Home Manufacturing in the Developed World: Return on Investment for Open-Source 3-D Printers," that was recently published in MDPI's international open access Technologies, he was able to determine that when consumers buy a low-cost, open source 3D printer and use it at home to create household items, over a five-year period, they can actually earn an almost 1,000% return on their investment. To help him compile research data, Dr. Pearce tapped an undergraduate student, majoring in both engineering and materials science but inexperienced in 3D printing, to use a low-cost 3D printer right out of the box, without receiving any instruction first. She 3D printed 26 items over a six-month period, and the results may shock you. Read more at

  2. #2
    I am curios how you're able to design the parts you want to produce and the effort behind that necessary action. Is there a CAD-like software available for these printers that's usable for people with only little technical or engineering knowledge?

  3. #3
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    lots and lots and lots of free cad programs.
    And lots and lots of threads round here about them :-)
    Here's the latest:

    But why buy a $1500 machine, when there are so many for under $600.
    That gives you return on your investment in around a year.

    Given that most of what I print is stuff I've designed myself because it's not possible to buy it - I'd say my return was much faster than that. Given the alternative would have been to pay someone else to design and print it. Very expensive.
    Also some of what I print means I don't have to buy a new thing because I've fixed the old thing, that saves even more money.

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