Saving Money With 3-D Printing-Michigan Tech University Research

Does your school have a 3-d printer? If not, why not?

Not only does the 3-d printer have many great educational uses, new research from Michigan Tech University professor Joshua Pearce reveals they can save money too.

According to the research,most households, by making simple household products once per week can make their money back within 6 months and have a 1,000% return on their investment within 5 years.

But aren’t they hard to use and require lots of training and set-up costs?

Not so much. One of the best aspects of the research was that the products were all created by a novice. The subject, engineering student Emily Petersen had never used a personal 3-d printer before. Within a mere sixty minutes of activating the printer, she was off and running, well printing.

She ultimately printed 26 household objects to exemplify how using the printer could have tremendous utility for any personal household, being able to print anything from shower heads, drinking cups, cabinet pulls, to toys for the kids. I definitely want to check one out to see if it as easy to use as they say, because to be honest, technology and I do not always see eye to eye! (Thank goodness I have wonderful teenageers at home to help me!)

What amazing creations would your students come up with? As you know, one of the primary mindsets we are encouraging with our blog, Wide Open Research, is to encourage students to be actively engaged learners-learning both the academic foundation, but also creating, making, doing, experimenting. In short, making the learning come alive. This article provides great “data” for a teacher to advocate to their principal or administrative folks to seek ways to get a 3-D printer and other technology available for their students. 

Definitely check out MTU writer Stefanie Sidortsova’s piece  on professor Pearce’s research as it features a brief video of the 3-D printer in action. I definitely want the little green octopus!

Questions for Discussion

  1. What would you make?
  2. How does it work?
  3. What are the potential societal implications of this? What happens if the new knob you printed ruins your washing machine- is the warranty void? Who is liable if a product you print hurts someone?
  4. How could this impact the economy?
  5. What are some more benefits besides, the economic ones?
  6. What will be the next step, after 3-d printing?

What else does this inspire you to “learn, dream, do?”

To read more from Wide Open Research about 3-d Printing, please click here.

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