Skip to main content
Article
Emergence of home manufacturing in the developed world: return on investment for open-source 3-D printers.
Technologies
  • Emily E. Petersen, Michigan Technological University
  • Joshua M. Pearce, Michigan Technological University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
2-9-2017
Abstract
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.
Publisher's Statement

© 2017 by the authors. Publisher's version of record:https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/technologies5010007

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Citation Information
Emily E. Petersen and Joshua M. Pearce. "Emergence of home manufacturing in the developed world: return on investment for open-source 3-D printers." Technologies Vol. 5 Iss. 1 (2017)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jmpearce/111/