While everyone is just waiting for prices to come down, 3D printers keep on churning out new groundbreaking things.  While you wait for said Printers to become affordable, some researchers have figured out that they can pay for themselves within a single year.

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The study, from Michigan Technological University took a look at 20 regular household items – from Smartphone cases, to shower heads to kitchen wears.  They went shopping for them on Google Shopping to determine a maximum and minimum cost, not including shipping, of buying said items.  They compared the final price against the price of a household printer.

The results are staggering:  it can cost anywhere from $312 to $1,944 to buy the household items but would only cost $18 to manufacture via a 3D printer.

The Form 1 Desktop printer

3D Printers are still very expensive, but using those figures, the researchers suggested they would pay for themselves within a few months or a few years.

“With the exponential growth of free designs and expansion of 3D printing, we are creating enormous potential wealth for everyone… [Y]ou don’t need to be an engineer or a professional technician to set up a 3D printer. Some can be set up in under half an hour, and even the RepRap can be built in a weekend by a reasonably handy do-it-yourselfer.”

– Joshua Pearce, Lead researcher

The study doesn’t include such things as the time it takes to find, download and print the objects, or that you might not have as much selection of items – yet.  Get excited, 3D printers are a few years away from being in every household.

Lets not mince words: This will change things.  3D printers will change how we shop and buy, of course.  It will also change the idea of retail stores, and those retail jobs.  It will change manufacturing, and jobs, and even logistics of shipping and moving everything from clothes to toys to cars to, well, everything.  Will malls exist in 25 years?

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