Thought I’d share with the #3dprinting community my daughter’s 7th grade science fair project.
We came up with the idea of doing a cost comparison study on the impact of 3D printers to the retail eco-system.
She selected various items to print and we then accounted for the cost of filament, Kwh, and depreciated cost of the printer. She then compared the printed costs of the objects to similarly styled items she found online. As you’d imagine, branded items showed the biggest differences such as when printing an iPhone/iPod case. Cost of power and filament alone would be pennies and even when adding in a value to account for a printer cost, you’d still be comparing something like $.50 to a store bought item of $15. The ability to customize added another benefit to printing your own.
It was a good learning experience for her as she gained an excellent understanding of how a #3dprinter works, using the software, and the potential impact of a new technology.
In the end, the analysis also showed we’re a long way off from being able to replace a big box retailer, but they no doubt should be looking over their shoulders. Kind of like Blockbuster vs. Netflix. I can see in the future where we’ll just buy an .stl file from Amazon versus purchasing a product and having it shipped.