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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Emergence of Home Manufacturing in the Developed World: Return on Investment for Open-Source 3-D Printers

1
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
2
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Salvatore Brischetto, Paolo Maggiore and Carlo Giovanni Ferro
Technologies 2017, 5(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies5010007
Received: 13 January 2017 / Revised: 30 January 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Additive Manufacturing Technologies and Applications)
Through reduced 3-D printer cost, increased usability, and greater material selection, additive manufacturing has transitioned from business manufacturing to the average prosumer. This study serves as a representative model for the potential future of 3-D printing in the average American household by employing a printer operator who was relatively unfamiliar with 3-D printing and the 3-D design files of common items normally purchased by the average consumer. Twenty-six items were printed in thermoplastic and a cost analysis was performed through comparison to comparable, commercially available products at a low and high price range. When compared to the low-cost items, investment in a 3-D printer represented a return of investment of over 100% in five years. The simple payback time for the high-cost comparison was less than 6 months, and produced a 986% return. Thus, fully-assembled commercial open source 3-D printers can be highly profitable investments for American consumers. Finally, as a preliminary gauge of the effect that widespread prosumer use of 3-D printing might have on the economy, savings were calculated based on the items’ download rates from open repositories. Results indicate that printing these selected items have already saved prosumers over $4 million by substituting for purchases. View Full-Text
Keywords: distributed manufacturing; additive manufacturing; 3-D printing; consumer; economics; open-source distributed manufacturing; additive manufacturing; 3-D printing; consumer; economics; open-source
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MDPI and ACS Style

Petersen, E.E.; Pearce, J. Emergence of Home Manufacturing in the Developed World: Return on Investment for Open-Source 3-D Printers. Technologies 2017, 5, 7. https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies5010007

AMA Style

Petersen EE, Pearce J. Emergence of Home Manufacturing in the Developed World: Return on Investment for Open-Source 3-D Printers. Technologies. 2017; 5(1):7. https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies5010007

Chicago/Turabian Style

Petersen, Emily E.; Pearce, Joshua. 2017. "Emergence of Home Manufacturing in the Developed World: Return on Investment for Open-Source 3-D Printers" Technologies 5, no. 1: 7. https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies5010007

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