3D printing or additive manufacturing has created quite a stir in the global market and the device has been reported to be almost unbelievable in its functions. This printer can print on nylon, plastic, metal and innumerable other materials and it can also print on products, engine components for aircraft, and manufacturing prototypes.
How Do 3D Printers Work?
3D printers use additive manufacturing techniques such as SLS and FDM to create three dimensional elements by building multiple layers on top of one another till completion. Each layer is sliced thinly into a horizontal section of the final element. Materials are added to objects without any wastage.
Are 3D Printers Relevant For Home Users?
3D printers can play a vital role in households due to their sheer diversity of functions. Suppose you have a broken washing machine part. In usual cases, you would order this component from your local distributor. He/she would have it shipped from the original manufacturing location for mass production. Not only will this take time, it will also cost you a good amount of money.
With 3D printing, you can directly print out this missing component after downloading the relevant CAD file. 3D printers cater to household owners who like to do things themselves and take care of personal needs. 3D printers are now available at prices between INR 6,200 to INR 125,000. This is quite cheap as far as a onetime investment is concerned.
The Groundbreaking Reprap Project
The open source RepRap project played a huge role in popularizing 3D printers in the household market. Home owners could purchase the project kit for about INR 62, 500 and build their own 3D printer. This also meant increasing scope for customization. Moreover, these printers could print on most materials required for home usage.
The widespread popularity of RepRap led to the manufacturing of various 3D printers which were made available at significantly lower prices. These were totally assembled and also came in do it yourself kits.
People are now realizing the hassle free nature of 3D printing. This does not require complex domain knowledge of 3D modeling or engineering. There are various free programs that facilitate easier learning of 3D printing. Knowledge of AutoCAD is an added plus. Some popular free programs include Binder and the Google SketchUp.
The RepRap project also led to the establishment of various bureaus specializing in 3D printing that printed out objects from uploaded digital files at lower costs.
What Can You Print Out With 3D Printing?
Households can use 3D printers to print out a variety of objects. These include:
- Plastic objects
- Missing component parts
- Replacement appliance parts
- Electrical components
- Original inventions
- Metal objects
- Glass items
- Silver pieces
- Gold pieces
- Art pieces
- Curtain rings for showers
- Cell phone cases
- Common household items
Are 3D Printers Viable For Home Users?
According to Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) study, an average home user can recover 3D printer costs in less than a year. Almost two thousand dollars can be saved by home users every year by producing only twenty daily items or products.
3D printing empowers home users with regard to creating almost anything they desire. They can take on the organized retail market with substantially lower production costs and prices. Home users can also personalize their created objects. This is only possible with 3D printing.
The MTU study also revealed that 3D printers can recoup their own production costs. This is because these printers can be used to print out their own parts for replacement and reinstallation. Home users can even sell such parts on online shopping sites and make a tidy sum.
Return on investment would range between 40% and 200% for a period of four months to two years. This would require at least twenty five printing hours for each product throughout the year. According to associate professor at MUT, Joshua Pearce, 3D printer prices are slated to decrease even further. He also predicts greater home applications for 3D printers due to the ease of usage.
Business Advantages For Home Users Of 3D Printers
There are several prominent advantages that home users of 3D printers can enjoy. These include:
- Faster and regular prototyping for new products: This helps beat product lifecycles with constant supply. There are no roadblocks as to the decision making process and also allows for greater experimentation.
- 3D printing saves time by manufacturing prototypes in only a few hours. Printing over weekends and holidays can save further time allowing for faster market delivery of products.
- Lowers mistakes in manufacturing: 3D printing saves money with a lower threshold for manufacturing mistakes. Users can properly fine tune all their designs before printing out the final product.
The Final Verdict
3D printers were regarded as expensive for home usage in the past. All that has changed now as 3D printers will also allow home users to start up their own business without a lot of capital and all the associated paraphernalia. Home users will definitely benefit more than commercial establishments with 3D printing. Moreover, 3D printers will allow individuals to explore a whole new world of creating, personalizing, and replacing virtually any household product easily and cost effective. You may consider buying one of these Top 5 3D printers for your home.