3D printers can save you thousands of dollars

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

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A stylish 3D printer.

When I was growing up, a regular ol’ desktop printer was only good for English essays. Occasionally, I would print out a picture of my family to put in an album, but other than that, the machine just sat on a desk collecting dust. New 3D desktop printers, however, can be used for so much more than school assignments, and they only cost around $2000! Er… only? That’s quite a bit of cash, but a study from Michigan Technological University claims the new printers practically pay for themselves!

You see, they can make a wide range of 3D objects including duck feet, plastic body parts, and toys! That’s really interesting and all, but I want to find out how this thing pays for itself. Does it print out money or something?

You know, it probably could, but that’s not quite it. Since the printer can make so many different objects, the researchers say you’ll be better off making your products instead of going to the store to buy different materials. For example, a typical iPhone case can cost anywhere from $10 to $20. When the team used the 3D printer to make their own, it barely cost them $0.27! They also decided to make their own custom shoe insert – those things you put in a shoe to make it more comfortable – instead of buying one for a whopping $800. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it only cost $2 to make.

The university team already saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars, just with these two things. Imagine all the stuff you could print and the money you could save with one of these babies in your house! You’d practically never have to buy anything else ever again.

Featured image courtesy of Creative Tools on Flickr.